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High Performance with High Integrity (Memo to the CEO) [Kindle Edition]

Ben W. Heineman Jr.
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Our free-market capitalist system is the world's greatest driver of prosperity, but it has a dark side. Under intense pressure to make the numbers, executives and employees face temptation to cut corners, fudge accounts, or worse. And in today's unforgiving environment, such lapses can be catastrophic. Fines and settlements have amounted to billions of dollars. Careers and companies have imploded.

In High Performance with High Integrity, Ben Heineman argues that there is only one way for companies to avoid such failures: CEOs must create a culture of integrity through exemplary leadership, transparency, incentives, and processes, not just rules and penalties. Heineman, GE's chief legal officer and a member of both Jack Welch's and Jeff Immelt's senior management teams for nearly twenty years, reveals crucial "performance with integrity" principles and practices that you can begin applying immediately, and shows how you can drive performance by integrating integrity systems and processes deep into company operations. Such principles and practices also create affirmative benefits: inside the corporation, in the marketplace and in society.

Concise and insightful, this book provides a much-needed corporate blueprint for doing well while doing good in the high-pressure global economy.

From our new Memo to the CEO series--solutions-focused advice from today's leading practitioners.

Editorial Reviews


Do good as you do well. That s the message of this wise book by the former general counsel of GE --Time Magazine, May 25, 2008

Executives who want to make sure that growth and ethics go hand in hand should consider "High Performance with High Integrity," by Ben Heineman Jr. --The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2008

Executives who want to make sure that growth and ethics go hand in hand should consider "High Performance with High Integrity," by Ben Heineman Jr. --The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2008

About the Author

Ben W. Heineman Jr., is Distinguished Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School's Program on the Legal Profession and a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He was GE's Senior Vice President-General Counsel from 1987 to 2003 and Senior Vice President for Law and Public Affairs from 2004 until his retirement at the end of 2005.

Product Details

  • File Size: 276 KB
  • Print Length: 213 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1422122956
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (June 3, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005D7V590
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,570 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Tips May 24, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would have given this book a 5 but a lot of it is full of corporate speak which may be the language of choice in mega corporations like GE but does litle to help the rest of us. When the book drills down to the mechanics of infusing performance with integrity it excels. Some of the excellent ideas: have employees report the more palatable(to them) "concerns", not illegal conduct and you will get more information on what may be going wrong in the corporation; ID employees at risk of corruption of ethics violations(such as those in overseas assignments or in purchasing etc) and focus customized training on them; explain to employees not only what to do but give them "red flag" examples of dangerous situations so they know if they are cruising off course; use case studies because a story teaches more than a lecture. One other insight: when a company confronts a crisis, one thing needs to be said asap to the corporate crisis team: we will be judged by what we do from this moment on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading June 9, 2008
"I am certain this will become a classic. It is central message is important, new, crystal clear, compelling and I think inspiring. It is a mature and forceful book. The key points are driven home by understandable examples (which are sometimes themselves a wake up call e.g. the reference to "side letters" as "red flags" in financial deals). The recommendations are practical and actionable. Somehow it manages to be a theoretical treatise on the need for change and a practical, and reasonably short, handbook for how to change. I can not recall a recent book which was able to accomplish so much in such a compelling way in such a short space. No one can read this book and not come away with a list of "to do's" that will improve their lives. That said the capability of GE as revealed in the text can, or will soon be, matched by only a few. The issue is enormously complex and there are very few Ben Heineman's around who can grasp the issues and clearly understand how to approach them pragmatically.

The messages here are important not only for business but for governments (and universities, particularly the scientific and medical research departments) as well. The problems in some corners of the world can only be solved through the Heineman methods. I hope they see it, hear it and read it."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Integrity is not something that has to be sacrificed for success. "High Performance with High Integrity" is a guide for business owners who want to be successful, but don't want to be a cutthroat at the same time. Advice on structuring a business to meet this level of morality while maintaining success, and how to keep one's employees going with the same beliefs and values, makes "High Performance with High Integrity" a seminal guide to the honest businessman. A must for any community library business collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the proper role of business? May 14, 2008
This is one of the titles in the "Memo to the CEO" series published by Harvard Business Press, each less than 200 pages in length and superbly produced. In fact, none is a "memo" nor were any of them written solely for a CEO. In this volume, Ben W. Heineman Jr. affirms the need to combine high performance with high integrity for a number of reasons. For example, that will "protect the corporation and its stakeholders from catastrophic train wrecks." However, Heineman adds, such a combination "isn't just about avoiding evils. It also has strong, affirmative benefits for the company: internally, in the marketplace, and in the broader society. Ultimately, it creates the fundamental trust of shareholders, creditors, employees, recruits, customers, suppliers, regulators, communities, and the pubic at large." I am curious to know why Heineman did not also include competitors, especially now when so many former competitors are forging strategic alliance. Surely none would be consummated without trust as well as respect.

He urges C-level executives (including but not limited to CEOs) to "drive a robust performance-with-integrity culture deep into the company: through powerful leadership that voices the vision and the values and through effective management that builds the integrity principles and practices [at all levels and in all areas of] business operations." It is no coincidence that on Fortune's annual lists, year after year, many of those ranked among the most valuable are also ranked among the most highly admired.

Some of the most valuable material in this book is provided in Part II as Heineman examines a series of core principles and practices that must serve as the foundation of the culture he envisions.
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