Enron Mail

Subject:"Humility" Value
Date:Mon, 22 Oct 2001 09:08:26 -0700 (PDT)


This idea might be more appropriate for the Management Conference rather than tomorrow, but I suggest a fifth value or at least implicit emphasis of a value within our values--humility.

There are different dictionary definitions of the term, but the one that fits Enron best is "not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive." We want to be proud but not haughty, arrogant, or assertive, so there is a fine line with the term.

"Humility" is really a necessary characteristic of any firm participating in the "creative destruction" of open markets. It reflects the fact that 1) the market and exogenous events are orders of magnitude greater than any one company, individual, or institution, and 2) a company's performance, no matter how positive, is just a temporary, even fleeting, evaluation of consumers, investors, employees, and the general public. After all, everyone has choices.

The humility value has been one of the most important for Charles Koch of Koch Industries. Koch has certainly had their share of problems and has a very different business model from Enron. But what is important is that Charles is a very serious student of market-based ideas and sees this value coming straight from Joseph Schumpeter, F. A. Hayek, and others in the free market vanguard. I wholly agree.

- Rob