Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Warren Buffett cautions loss of corporate reputation

Warren Buffett recently warned employees at his company Berkshire Hathaway that corporate reputation can be quickly damaged, but take many years to regain. "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently."

In a speech to managers on 27th September 2006, he said, ""Somebody is doing something today at Berkshire that you and I would be unhappy about if we knew of it. That's inevitable: we now employ well over 200,000 people and the chances of that number getting through the day without any bad behaviour occurring is nil. But we can have a huge effect in minimising such activities by jumping on anything immediately when there is the slightest odour of impropriety. Your attitude on such matters, expressed by behaviour as well as words, will be the most important factor in how the culture of your business develops. And culture, more than rule books, determines how an organisation behaves."