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Executive Intelligence

post # 403 — July 13, 2007 — a Managing post

Time for another book by someone associated with an executive recruiting firm. This time, it’s EXECUTIVE INTELLIGENCE by Justin Menkes from Spencer Stuart.

Here’s Menkes’ key findings (or assertions, according to taste):

Managerial work can be broken down into three subjects: accomplishing tasks, working with other people, and self-evaluation. Within each of these categories there are identifiable cognitive skills that determine how well an executive performs, such as:

  • TASKS — the abilities to properly define a problem, identify the highest-priority issues, and assess both what is known and what needs to be known in order to render a sound decision.
  • OTHERS — the abilities to recognize underlying agendas, understand multiple perspectives, and anticipate likely emotional reactions.
  • SELF — the abilities to identify one’s own mistakes, encourage and seek out constructive criticism, and adjust one’s own behavior.

Though these cognitive skills play a profound role in determining a manager’s success, they are not what most employers focus on when recruiting or promoting executives. Instead, nearly everyone fixates on personality type, style, or other irrelevant characteristics.

The book is filled with quotes from famous, successful people, and is not shy about stating firm conclusions. For example: “Not one study has shown emotional intelligence to be a meaningful predictor of job performance beyond what has long been explained by other measures.”

Menkes and his other consulting firm (MenkesStark) claim to have a proprietary approach to measuring what they call Executive Intelligence. I don’t buy everything he has to say, but it’s probably worth your $14.95 and the plane-ride time it will take to examine it.


Leading Change said:

Higher Education Condones Unethical Conduct

Dear David,

Finally, a forum that goes beyond skin-deep analyses. Our challenge as a society is that we ignore, condone, tolerate, and feel helpless about inappropriate conduct and just plain wrong behavior. We lead busy lives and in many cases we have become immune when we see or hear about unethical conduct. You would think that universities and colleges would lead the way in ethical conduct. Read below for a case study of how higher ed often lacks the courage to do the right thing.

DISTINGUISHED Professor? Really? How so?

Recently James Grillo, ex-Vice President for Administrative Affairs at Alfred State College, one of the 64 campuses of the State University of New York, was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizing extraordinary teaching and exceptional professional conduct. He received a pay raise and a letter commending him on his extraordinary accomplishment from the Acting Chancellor of the State University of New York, John Clarke.

Distinguished? Mr. Grillo was investigated in 2006 for unethical conduct by an independent legal firm which determined that he had violated SUNY Board of Trustees policies, Department of Labor laws, and that he had possibly violated federal tax law. The law firm wrote, “It is our recommendation that due to the serious nature of Mr. Grillo’s actions and inaction, as well the lack of judgment he demonstrated in connection with the compensation matter, he should not be considered for any administrative position within the College in the future.”

Mr. Grillo is also well-known for owing a local bar in Alfred, just a few yards away from the college campus, ironically known as “Gentleman Jim’s.” This bar is notorious for repeatedly placing Alfred State College students at risk. A letter from Alfred State Vice President for Student Affairs, dated December 27, 2005, addressed to Mr. D Andrew Edwards, Jr. who was then General Counsel of the State University of New York notes “…concerns that Mr. Grillo operates a bar adjacent to the campus property where there have been a number of unsafe and high risk incidents with our students” A series of reports submitted to SUNY with this letter document cases of “highly intoxicated students returning from the bar, drunken driving incidents on campus, women at risk and the consumption of alcohol by minors on the premises of this property” (ibid).

Mr. Grillo does not have a distinguished academic record by any definition of the term. He has never published a paper and only recently returned to full-time teaching as a “demotion” for engaging in unethical conduct when he was Vice President for Administrative Affairs.

The SUNY Board of Trustees and the Acting Chancellor, John Clarke, actually knew that Mr. Grillo had engaged in unethical conduct when Grillo was granted this award. In fact, John Clarke was the interim President at Alfred State College before he became the Acting Chancellor and was close friends with Mr. Grillo. In spite of his unethical conduct and for putting our students at risk at a local bar that he owned (a clear conflict of interest), the State University of New York rewarded Mr.Grillo with a Distinguished Teaching Professorship and gave him a pay raise using tax payers’ money.

When questioned as to why Mr. Grillo was given the Distinguished Teaching Professorship given his undistinguished record, SUNY responded that Mr. Grillo had behaved unethically as an administrator, not as a faculty member!! Want the full scoop?

Contact John Clarke at john.clarke@suny.edu

Contact President of Alfred State College at rosatirr@alfredstate.edu

Contact the SUNY Board of Trustees at trustees@suny.edu

posted on November 28, 2007

Charles Lowe said:

Concerning the story regarding Mr. Grillo, the interesting part is that after the investigation of Mr. Grillo, he was elected by the faculty of SUNY at Alfred to be President of the Faculty Senate. What must be noted is that the faculty was generally well aware of Mr. Grillo’s association with the tavern, the investigations into his ethics, etc., yet chose to disregard all these conflicts of interest in order to elect him a representative of the faculty. It indicates amongst other things his tremendous power at the institution and a faculty that is generally not all that concerned with the apparent conflict of interest. This remains the most troubling issue pertaining not only to the award but to the functioning of an entire educational institution.

posted on January 25, 2010