Peggy Noonan’s Simple Proposal

Peggy Noonan hits a home run with her most recent column in the Wall Street Journal. It’s worth taking a minute to read the whole piece, please follow the link to read it.

“…Wall Street’s leaders gave themselves over to one thing, and that was looking out, always, for No. 1. And they knew how to define No. 1. It wasn’t the country, and it wasn’t even the company. They’d crater companies, parachute out, and brag about it later.

If there was one damning and utterly illustrative quote that captured Wall Street in the past 10 years it was that of Charles Prince, CEO of Citigroup, in July 2007. Worrying investment trends were beginning to emerge, but why slow down? He told The New York Times, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.” This from a banker, a leader, a citizen, a man responsible for a community.” (via Peggy Noonan: Look Ahead Stoicism—and Optimism –

One of the best things about her column is she makes a simple proposal, that we ask, “how could we do better?” (She proposes that we have “national hearings” to discuss this. Good luck with that. But, I kind of like the optimism that generates such an idealistic proposal.) What are your answers to her questions?

“If you work in a great institution: Do you remember the mission? Do you remember why you went to work there, what you meant to do, what the institution meant to you when you viewed it from the outside, years ago, and hoped to become part of it?”

Keep in mind, we all belong to some “great institution,” or at the least one that aspires to be great. (And if we don’t, maybe this is a good time to join–or star–one?)


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