writing for executives by 30zZ0nk

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This presentation also provides an opportunity for students to think about how they might be
influenced by this presentation in writing for a railroad executive involved in a current
controversy over coal trains. Concerns include everything from increased coal-train traffic and
coal dust to an upsurge in carbon dioxide and particulate emissions in energy-hungry
countries such as China. (See Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.)

For background, visit www.columbian.com , and search for the article, “Railroad man gives
views on coal,” (Aug. 24, 2012). If you were PR counsel for the chairman and chief executive
officer of BNSF Railway, whose boss is Warren Buffett, what advice, based on this
presentation, would you offer with regard to the CEO’s responses shown below:

On coal:
Coal is a big business for us, without a doubt. And quite frankly, it always has been.

On speculation that the Northwest coal-export proposal would mean 60 to 100 coal trains per day:
I promise you, that’s nowhere in the realm of seriousness. It’s not realistic.

On plans for Northwest coal-export terminals:
Five facilities I do not believe will ever be built. The market will sort that out.

[continued]
On cost of emergency services to local communities for train accidents:
The railroad would help the cities “work through that.”

On increases in coal dust:
The BNSF is “deeply committed” to spraying coal loads with what’s known as a surfactant to keep dust
tamped down. “It kind of binds it.”

On increased pollution from locomotives:
BNSF Railway plans to spend $1.1 billion on energy-efficient, low-emission trains that cut nitrogen oxide by
60 percent and particulate matter by 69 percent. It’s difficult to say whether any of those cleaner-burning
locomotives would end up in Southwest Washington. “We know that each state wants us” to put the leaner-
burning locomotives in their communities”

On concerns about the climate change impact of feeding more coal-fired power plants:
I don’t address climate change, because I’m not qualified to.

On demand for coal:
…the world-wide demand for coal will not go down—one ton. It’s important for the U.S. to serve the energy
demands of the developing world, including shipping coal.

On the environmental review process:
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s call for a “programmatic” environmental review of the coal-export proposals
is an example of an attempt to bog down the process. It would be a “killer” of the coal-export plans.
        Writing for Executives
                        Part II
Compliments of Tom Hagley, Senior Instructor of Public Relations Retired,
        School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
Henry Mintzberg
The Cleghorn Professor of
Management Studies at
McGill University
“The MBA trains the
wrong people in the
wrong ways with the
wrong consequences.”
International Executive Search Firm:
“Next to managing people and money,
the most sought after skill in an executive is public relations.”
How the crisis was formed
Opportunities it affords the PR writer
Henry Mintzbert,
Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies
McGill University

Robert Simons
Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration
and unit head of accounting and control
at Harvard Business School

Kunal Basu,
Fellow in Strategic Marketing
Templeton College
University of Oxford
The professors wrote:
"All of us who believe in business—from CEOs to business
school professors—must recognize that we have
contributed to this crisis… We are all captives of five half-
truths that shape the way we think about business and the
way we do business. As a result, we may be…destroying
the very thing we cherish.”

They continued:

"As business leaders and academics, we need to challenge
what we do and what we teach—assumptions about
business that are, at best, half-truths."
Scale of half-truths



         Serve          Serve
        one’s self     society
1   • We’re only in it for ourselves.

2


3


4


5
Pursue profit at         Pursue success
   any cost               with integrity



   What are some ways in which a CEO
   can convince the public that he or she
   is pursuing success with integrity?
1
    • We’re only in it for ourselves.

2
    • We exist to maximize shareholder value.

3


4


5
  Benefit                Benefit all
shareholders            stakeholders



   What are some ways in which a CEO
   can convince the public that he or she
   is committed to managing for the
   benefit of all stakeholders?
1
    • We’re only in it for ourselves.

2
    • We exist to maximize shareholder value.

3
    • The CEO is the company— a heroic leader.

4




5
                             Credit
Credit self for
                          everyone for
  success
                            success



  What are some ways in which a CEO
  can convince the public that he or she
  pursues success as a shared
  engagement with others?
    • We’re only in it for ourselves.
1

    • We exist to maximize shareholder value.
2

    • The CEO is the company— a heroic leader.
3

    • Companies must be lean and mean.
4


5
Use dishonest              Use honest
 rationales                rationales



  What are some ways that a CEO can
  convince the public that he or she is
  pursuing success with honest
  rationales for action.
    • We’re only in it for ourselves.
1

    • We exist to maximize shareholder value.
2

    • The CEO is the company— a heroic leader.
3

    • Companies must be lean and mean.
4

    • A rising tide lifts all boats.
5
What are some ways in which a CEO
can convince the public that he or she
is pursuing success under a new set of
truths?
Extraordinary Communication Required
Pursue Success in a Socially Responsible Manner

								
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