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RARITAN, N.J.- Be careful what traits you look for in an executive cautions a recent paper entitled Enron, Worldcom and The Rest: Case Studies In Dysfunctional Strengths. Written by Adrian Savage, president of PNA, a corporate solutions provider, the paper asserts that values are the most important and consistent influences on behaviors and decisions and many of the leadership traits most companies want in an executive if not tempered can actually lead to serious problems for the company. PNA surveyed 200 executives and found that they adhere to these principles: Achievement- While achievement motivation is a clear strength, it becomes dysfunctional unless it’s balanced by other values that control the tendency to assume that ends justify means. Stimulation- According to Savage, this fuelled the craze for disastrous takeovers and buyouts. Enormous professional and personal rewards led many executives into a cycle of constant stimulation matched by sometimes-false proofs of achievement. Justice and Fairness- Savage says these principles could have prevented the Worldcom, Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals. Most top executives haven’t displayed the excesses of colleagues at these companies because their sense of justice balances the desire for achievement and stimulation. “Too many executives have wrought economic chaos because they were allowed to put personal values before the needs of employees, stockholders and the economy. Preventing future corporate scandals requires paying attention to what motivates corporate leaders, not looking at values in isolation and seeking balance in the executive suite,” said Savage.

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