Stan Sewitch

Stan Sewitch has over 35 years in business as an entrepreneur, consultant and executive. His adventures include founding HRG Inc., Emlyn Systems, Chromagen and KI Investment Holdings. Stan serves as a director on several boards as well. Stan holds an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from California State University at Long Beach, and a B.A. in Physiological Psychology from San Diego State University. He serves as the Vice President of Global Organization Development for WD-40 Company. Stan can be reached at

Notes From The Corporate Underground

“That would be a career-limiting event,” Gerald said, taking another sip of his coffee.

Leaders who need to hire staff often compose a job profile with qualifying criteria that they themselves would have trouble meeting. The manager sings the time-worn objective: “I need somebody who can hit the ground running!”

Whoever is advising about marketing communications has just suggested that the group rename itself the “Islamic State,” indicating a more grandiose objective. Before today’s re-branding, the entity had some difficulty with market perceptions.

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and work in Asia. This week a colleague and I conducted leadership workshops in Kuala Lumpur for our business partners in the region, and for our local office Tribe. About 20 managers represented the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Okinawa, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and China.

A young woman was beaten to death at a McDonald’s May 28. A group of six people, including a father with three underage children, attacked her when she refused to give them her contact information.

At our Leadership Lab workshops this week, we discussed elements and principles of effective communication. To a person, younger and older, we all bemoaned the loss of conversational skills. People are not talking to each other on the phone anymore, let alone meeting regularly in person. It’s all being done by texting, email and social media blasts to the universe of “friends.”

How much is enough is a continual inquiry for all of us who earn a living by our own hand. If we were born into wealth, inherited it or won a lottery, it may have less relevance. Probably never zero, but less.

I’m not saying that we’re doomed, mind you. Just that there’s a reason why “we” (the residents of planet Earth) don’t voluntarily act to reduce the negative impact of our increasingly voluminous presence.

I was treated to a first-hand experience of what it means to be the irritating, slightly ugly, American. With the best of intentions and a self-satisfied sense of worldliness, even the most inclusive of attitudes, one can still demonstrate the self-centered perspective of a U.S. citizen.

Jack Stack wrote “The Great Game of Business” 22 years ago. Probably the most revolutionary concept of the book was the idea that if a company’s management shares the historically secret financial data with all employees, those employees would make better decisions and the organization would thrive far better.

Business leaders and academics often look for wisdom from the ancients. The Greeks, Romans, Spartans and even the marauding Huns have been cited as inspirations for various business strategies for competition. The latter group was lauded in a popular book called “Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun” (Roberts, 1985, Warner Books).

When you think about all the struggles and violence in the world today, it seems that we are consumed as a species with fighting. We fight over oil fields and parking spaces. We fight over fishing grounds and whose skin color is best. We fight over who can gain the most yardage on a football field, and we fight over who gets to be the ultimate cage fighter.

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