But she wasnt satisfied with this scripted answershe

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if he had revealed a simple truth. But she wasn’t satisfied with this scripted answer—she was looking for some real acknowledgment of the problem, some introspection. The woman followed up: “But what specifically is management doing to fix this problem that is on so many people’s minds?” Another pause. Then Woody took the ball. He waxed philosophical. “Look,” he said. “At Goldman Sachs we’re all family people; we all have families, we’re all good people. We just have to remember that, and we have to go about our business by making good, ethical decisions, just as we would in our daily lives.” There was a smattering of halfhearted applause, and the meeting was called to a close. Everyone walked out with a deflated feeling. It was time for me to leave. ——— I knew in my heart there was something deeply wrong in the way people were behaving, in the way they didn’t care about the repercussions, in the way they saw their clients as their adversaries. My human reaction was that it was bad for the future of the firm, a place that I had put a lot of heart and soul into. I knew it was time for me to go—the young people’s disaffection had told me, the clients’ distrust had told me. But the firm’s not really caring about what was going on told me the most. So I began to write. Writing was my way to distill into simple terms exactly what I felt was wrong. I remembered how, more than a decade earlier, Carly Fiorina had advised the new Stanford graduates to keep trying to distill things down until we got them to their true essence, what we truly believed. On airplanes, in airport lounges, in hotel rooms, and in my flat late at night, I tried to set down in writing many of the things that were poisoning the institution I loved. At first the thoughts were lengthy and convoluted. I went over and over them, tried to boil them down to their core meaning. For the first two or three months, the goal of the writing was just to help me understand exactly what I was feeling. Then gradually I started thinking about an idea: I could leave quietly, say nothing, and let the system fester. Or I could try to change the system—since I could clearly see that the partners I spoke with weren’t going to do anything about it. If the firm’s culture couldn’t be changed from within , I thought, maybe it could be changed from without. I decided to try to craft an op-ed or editorial, a piece of writing that might alert people to what was going on in the financial world, that might change some minds. The sentences came… I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. My essay, or whatever it was, quickly ballooned to three thousand words, then five thousand. I knew I had to get to the essence of what I was trying to say—which was what? That Goldman Sachs and Wall Street had lost sight of their mission: servicing clients. That the culture was rotting, which presented a dire threat to the firm and the industry. When the client no longer trusts the bank, calamity
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