March/April 2008

March/April 2008

March/April 2008

Ethics redux. The plethora of ethics consultants in corporate America is: a) merely a response to Sarbox, b) a
fad or c) the chance for permanent restoration of companies’ souls. We hope c. The initial values and visions
of founders – whether strong-minded individuals, like-minded partners or close family members – disappeared
as classic companies evolved into modern corporations. Maybe the other essential elements of American
corporate life can return too: the trusted leader, the respected worker and the covenant between them that yields
success.

Neo-mold. More than 100,000 meth labs were busted in the past decade, leaving thousands of homes and
apartments contaminated with meth residue, which is seeping into walls and carpet and causing chronic
respiratory problems. Currently, 14 states have passed laws mandating sellers disclose if a dwelling was a meth
lab, and 13 states are contemplating such laws.

Puff goeth before a fall. Days before Bear Stearns’ collapse, the investment firm issued a release saying the
public had no reason to be concerned about its financial stability. Then the firm announced it was being
purchased for $2 a share (versus $111 about nine months before). Did their “full and fair disclosure” happen to
include something called the truth?

Your number’s up, pal. Virgin Mobile Canada makes the misfortune of Client 9 the focus of its latest ad
campaign. The spot features former New York governor Eliot Spitzer with a thought bubble that states, “I’m
tired of being treated like a number.”

‘Social media’ in a small town. “The only ugly thing we saw in two days (in Mentone, Alabama) was a
wooden sign nailed to a telephone pole that said, ‘Tom Donald is a Liar.’ It must have been the consensus
because it looked as if it had hung there for a while.”–Davene Strawser

WFB, Jr. A liberal professor exclaimed to Peggy Noonan with some grief that he could not imagine living in a
world without Bill Buckley. Certainly it will be a world somewhat harder to understand. Buckley was
monumentally insightful – and generous: that long-hidden virtue emerged time and again in the tellings after his
death – by aspiring writers, causal inquirers and even critics. A small example from four decades ago with a
large outcome for one of us: Buckley’s dispensation of customary columnist fees for the scrappy but strapped
little newspaper of Spring Hill College in 1967 helped fund what Columbia University two years later called
“the best small college newspaper in America.” He died, at his desk, of too much class.

Thanks for reading.

One interpretation of our firm by a former client and good friend: “The Ledlie Group is an executive support firm capable of helping you and your executives make better, more informed decisions by providing information, analysis and solutions to issues, events, industry changes and strategic moves affecting your organization.”—Tom Slocum, onetime corp. comm. SVP of Delta Air Lines, Tenneco, Caterpillar and Monsanto

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