Kenny Moore of Keyspan has the title of Corporate Ombudsman. He gave a talk at LIMBA this morning that was as instructive as it was entertaining. People who come to LIMBA don’t necessarily expect to be entertained, but when we are, it makes the message that much better. Throughout, his remarks were peppered with humorous asides, and self deprecating humor.
He began by playing a piece that was first seen on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” show and the segment showed how the company has paid a lot of attention to concepts that include “emotional intelligence.” The idea being that the nuts and bolts of business are important but the business model that recognizes that there are real people working in the company, and they have emotional needs that must be recognized.
People in the company who have been ignored or otherwise treated as having little value tend to shut down. Even while most people will continue to perform at an acceptable level, they may never again give you their creativity and innovation. I asked Kenny what is the demonstrable effect of encompassing the needs of the whole person. He looked at me for a long pause and said, “You’re asking the wrong question.” In essence his reply was that all of this may not measurable, but still very important.
During Q&A Kenny was asked, “What about companies that are more representative of people in this room, meaning 5-50 employees. Do the same rules apply? He seemed to like that question because he gave it a lot of time. Implementation of his concepts in a small company, in his opinion, would be different, but only in the details.
Kenny remarked that the image of corporate America is distorted. There are many companies that have a deep sense of service and conscience. The Enrons are not the predominate model. He also said that the concepts that Keyspan has embraced are becoming more and more the norm. Ending on that high note we adjourned the meeting.