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Choosing a Values-Based Leader

It seems like every week we are hearing about another scandal involving corporations, churches, universities, health-care organizations, political parties, NGO's, and other organizations. Leaders are constantly pressured to cope with rapid change while balancing the demands of customers, regulators, investors, and other stakeholders. The need for leaders who can sustain survival and still embody positive values within the organization has never been greater. The key task for leadership is to align the personal and professional values and ethics of individual employees with the organization's culture and values.

This module's discussion involves a two-part exercise where you will be asked to choose a new CEO from six possible candidates on the basis of the fit between the candidate and the organization's values and culture. You will be assigned to one of three groups, each representing a different company. Your assignment will be based on the last number of your Social Security Number. During the first week you will select your preferred candidate. The second week we will discuss these selections and implications for the organization as a large group. (This exercise is adapted from Reilly, A.H. and Ehlinger, S. (2007) Choosing a values-based leader: An experiential exercise. Journal of Management Education 31(2)245-262.)

Week 1: Individually, find your assigned group and read the description of your company in which is the (Blue Company). Identify 2 or 3 key values you think would be desirable in a new CEO for that company. Then review the profiles of the six candidates and

As a group, discuss the candidates' strengths and weaknesses and vote on the candidate you would select to interview.

Post one interview question per group member that would further elucidate the candidate's values and allow you to evaluate how well he or she would fit the organization.

Blue Company

Part One: Company Profile

You are a Board member of the following company. After much study, the Board has decided to name a new CEO to lead your organization. Given the environment of ongoing change, however, you do not want to make this decision hastily. Before reviewing candidate portfolios, you decide to list ideal CEO characteristics to ensure that your chosen candidate can deal with the changes facing your firm as well as adhere to your organizational values. Your task is to find the best fit in terms of your firm's values and CEO candidate attributes.

Company Values

Great work environment, diversity, standards of excellence, customer satisfaction, community involvement, environmental responsibility, and profitability

Company Mission Statement

Establish Blue Company as premier in our industry in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow. This firm has grown rapidly in recent years through innovative product development and through national and international expansion. Although dominant in the industry, the external environment of this firm has undergone several major changes.
Stakeholders within and outside this company question if Blue can withstand these changes and adapt accordingly, especially given the rapid pace of the industry changes coupled with ever-higher demands of customer service. Blue employees and managers pride themselves on their effective communication processes.

Use the Blue Company Forum to discuss the following:

What specific attributes and values will our new CEO require to lead our firm in this period of change?

Now, review the profiles of the six candidates, and

- As a group, discuss the candidates' strengths and weaknesses and vote on the candidate you would select to interview.

- Post one interview question per group member that would further elucidate the candidate's values and allow you to evaluate how well he or she would fit the organization.

Solution Preview

What specific attributes and values will our new CEO require to lead our firm in this period of change?

Values that a CEO should possess include integrity, honesty, visionary foresight, and the ability to inspire others to become the best that they can be. These ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the specific attributes and values a new CEO would require to lead a firm during a period of change.

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