When the CEO asked a cultural question.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit:

“When you look at the last five, 10 years, there were two engines of growth. There was the U.S. consumer and credit creation. None of those are likely to be the engines of growth going forward…I’m optimistic that we might start seeing stability in the financial markets, but that’s stage one. Stage two is about what kind of world we want to have going forward, what’s the new business model? And that’s what we’re really focused on at Citi.”

“What kind of world we want to have going forward” requires a cultural calculation, whatever else it requires.  We can’t know the business model til we know the culture model. 

Pandit is asking about values.  And who better to map these values than the cultural sophisticated.  But it’s also about a deep understanding of who we are and how we define ourselves.  These are the ideas that shape us.  Some of them are values.  Many of them are not.  Here too a knowledge of culture is called for.

Now, if only there were someone in the Citigroup C-suite…


Sellers, Patricia and Jessica Shambora.  2009.  Power Point: Find a new business Model.  Postcards from the pinnacles of power.  Fortune on line.  here.

post script:

I am in Omaha tomorrow (Thursday) morning.  Anyone around for coffee?

2 thoughts on “When the CEO asked a cultural question.

  1. Jim

    I was in a meeting last week where someone stated that 60% of the jobs are children will have are not yet invented. It’s good Citi is looking ahead, but do they have a model to capture the many potential directions our economy and values may go?

    Postscript: is anyone in Omaha

  2. Alan Brewer

    Grant, I often wonder what role idealism plays in the flow of culture. Look here at The Acumen Fund blog and you read, “Our generation will change the way the world fights poverty.”


    That is a big, culturally significant statement, as defining for this generation as John Kennedy’s and Sarge Shriver’s Peace Corps was 50 years ago!

    Is social entrepreneurship a new phenomenon or the peace corps dressed up in pin stripes?

    Thanks as always for pointing out sights in the cultural landscape.

    P.S. I have no connection to the Acumen Fund, by the way.

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