An email circulating around Goldman Sachs right now describes a senior employee’s dissatisfaction with the culture of his organisation.
“There is a cruel wind blowing through our business. We all feel it, and if we don’t, perhaps we’ve forgotten how to feel. But here is the truth. We are less ourselves than we were when we started this organisation,” the email proclaims.
The message wasn’t written by a Goldman employee. It isn’t even about Goldman Sachs [GS].
It’s the Mission Statement memo entitled, “Things We Think and Do Not Say,” which the fictional Jerry Maguire wrote to his colleagues, after experiencing a crisis of conscience about the sports talent agency business.
“We are pushing numbers around, doing our best, but is there any real satisfaction in success without pride? Is there any real satisfaction in a success that exists only when we push the messiness of real human contact from our lives and minds? When we learn not to care enough about the very guy we promised the world to, just to get him to sign?” Maguire writes.
The text of the memo never actually appeared in the film “Jerry Maguire,” but apparently director Cameron Crowe wrote out the entire thing. It is now widely available on the Internet.
And the memo’s spirit is resonating with some at Goldman, following the Op-Ed by Greg Smith, the former London-based derivatives head who recently resigned from Goldman.
“I have now written far too much on the subject of our future, the future of this business. But the beauty of this proposal, I think, is that it is only a slight adjustment, an adjustment in our minds. An adjustment in attitude. An adjustment to a point where we can discuss the things that really matter to us, and our many clients. This coming holiday season, that time when we all know we must work harder to let our clients know what we’re doing for them, that difficult time when big decisions are made and agents are often fired, let us really reach out. Let us celebrate the clients that have meant more to us because of this small adjustment,” the Jerry Maguire memo says.
One Goldman employee, who forwarded the email to a few colleagues, pointed out “Only Renee Zellweger left with Jerry. Are we as weak as the people in that film?”
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