Cracking the Corporate Code: The Revealing Success Stories of 32 African-American Executives

Overview

Over the last few decades, advances by African-Americans in the business world have been both impressive and well-documented. But even a cursory glance at the statistics -- not to mention a look around most corporations -- reveals that, despite much progress, minority executives are still relatively few and far between.

Whether in the form of insensitivity, change-averse corporate cultures, socio-economic factors, or outright racism, African-Americans still face very real ...

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Overview

Over the last few decades, advances by African-Americans in the business world have been both impressive and well-documented. But even a cursory glance at the statistics -- not to mention a look around most corporations -- reveals that, despite much progress, minority executives are still relatively few and far between.

Whether in the form of insensitivity, change-averse corporate cultures, socio-economic factors, or outright racism, African-Americans still face very real obstacles along the path to professional success. To many, these obstacles have seemed insurmountable, and their careers have foundered. But to thousands of others, these challenges have been an invitation to excel, and their accomplishments have been worthy of both praise and emulation.

Cracking the Corporate Code delves deeply into the lives and careers of 32 such notable professionals. These are not the men and women usually cited: the high-profile government officials, the legendary civil rights pioneers, or the megastar athletes who have leveraged their on-field success into positions of leadership. The authors have chosen instead to profile individuals who have risen through the ranks of America's most noteworthy businesses, to the highest echelons of corporate power and influence.

In exclusive, eye-opening interviews, these men and women recount their impressive and widely differing career trajectories, revealing what motivated and discouraged them, their sources of support and conflict, and the strategies they developed to excel in organizations like PepsiCo, GE, Merrill Lynch, Kraft, Prudential, Chrysler, and dozens more.

Rather than offer these inspiring stories as individual biographies, the authors have identified their common threads, analyzing what they reveal to the reader about:

* Reconciling the ambiguities inherent for black professionals in corporate culture
* Trusting your own abilities and potential while managing the ever-present issue of race
* Overcoming isolation to establish not only your place in the organization but also a voice that will be heard and respected
* Reading the unwritten rules and developing the ""sixth sense"" necessary to play the game
*Cultivating and managing the relationships that will be crucial to securing more meaningful and influential positions
* Understanding what true power is, how to compete for and acquire it, and how to translate it into substantial leadership

Opportunities for success abound for African-Americans. For the last 40 years, the best of the best have been stepping up to seize -- and often create -- those opportunities. The next generation of black professionals will travel the paths blazed by the pioneers profiled in this landmark book, and will be poised to achieve even greater results-while continuing the legacy of diversity for the generations yet to come.

Price M. Cobbs, M.D., is co-author of Black Rage and The Jesus Bag, considered classics in the literature of African-American experience. Dr. Cobbs is also an internationally recognized expert on executive leadership, management development, and corporate diversity. He lives in San Francisco.

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Editorial Reviews

NV magazine
Cracking the Corporate Code instills positive insight for the young and often challenged executive, presenting stories of hope, change and the ability to succeed despite obstacles?.these 32 thought-provoking and motivational life lessons are must-haves for the determined urban professionals.
Booklist
these stories are an inspiration for anyone facing self-doubt and isolation in the competitive world of corporate America.
Foreward Magazine
Makes for compelling reading as well as an excellent education in how to rise within an organization.
The Beverly Hills Courier
Let me say you don't have to be African-American to learn a great deal from this perceptive book about power in the corporate world.
Connie Martinson Talks Books
Joyce Lain Kennedy
is a work that both inspires and instructs.
syndicated columnist
Foreword
For young African-Americans climbing the corporate ladder, provides excellent advise [...] an excellent education in how to rise within an organization.
Legal Management
Offers valuable business lessons for women and people of color striving for career success...Uplifting book.
Vernon Hills, IL June 2003
Library Journal
The authors do a great job of making the topic relevant to all corporate outsiders-those they define as lacking a feeling of entitlement and sense of belonging--regardless of race or gender. Recommended for all business collections.
May 1, 2003
Publishers Weekly
At a time when the debate over affirmative action and quotas rages unabated, psychiatrist and management consultant Cobbs and attorney Turnock have surveyed more than 30 influential African-American executives to discuss their strategies for dealing with racial, cultural and organizational challenges. Combining strong narrative and stirring quotes from the executives, the authors tackle a number of issues, including race and gender bias in the workplace, isolation, the rules of the workplace, achievement, leadership, understanding and sharing power, competition and diversity. David Hinds, a former Deutsche Bank director, speaks of neutralizing racial prejudice at his job; Margaret Jordan, a former Kaiser v-p, addresses what she sees as the cold treatment of women employees; and veteran Salomon Brothers exec Milt Irvin explains how successful results can overcome adversity. Some contributors stress the importance of mentors, and knowing how to compete, when to focus, how to keep one's ego in check and forming an effective strategy in attaining goals. For others, the supreme achievement is acquiring enough capitalist savvy to open their own business so they can earn their fortune without the grind of corporate jockeying and gamesmanship. Happily, there are few repetitions in the opinions offered, and a lack of finger-pointing and blaming. This is a smart, memorable collection of business wisdom that should provide inspirational guidance for young African-Americans considering a career in the corporate world. (May 27) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
How do you take a seat in the corporate boardroom when you feel that the door is shut in your face? Psychiatrist Cobbs (Black Rage) and Turnock, an executive coach and attorney, present the insights of 32 African American executives on their paths to leadership positions in prestigious companies. The authors take us for an excursion beyond the water cooler to see how these men and women figured out the game and played it successfully. The book is arranged by broad topics, such as learning to fit in, reading the "unwritten" rules of corporate culture, managing relationships, acquiring power, and leadership. As the authors note, these executives are not well known outside their immediate circles, but they have made tremendous contributions to their organizations and have blazed trails-much to the benefit of newcomers. At times, the piecemeal accounts of the executives and their careers give the book a disjointed feel. However, the authors do a great job of making the topic relevant to all corporate outsiders-those they define as lacking a feeling of entitlement and sense of belonging-regardless of race or gender. Recommended for all business collections.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814431139
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 4/21/2003
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 817,304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Price M. Cobbs (San Francisco, CA) is a psychiatrist and management consultant, and the author of Black Rage and The Jesus Bag . Judith L. Turnock (New York, NY) is an attorney, executive coach, and lifelong civil rights advocate.

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Table of Contents

"Foreword by Steve Teinemund, CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.

Introduction: Settin the Record Straight

1. Ambiguity

2. Managing Your Demons

3. Fitting In

4. "Reading" Unwritten Rules

5. Making Your Mark

6. Managing Relationships

7. Understanding Power

8. Acquiring Power

9. Using Power for Leadership

10. From Big Business to My Business

11. Diversity Legacy I: Inside the Corporation

12. Diversity Legacy II: In the Community

Biographies of the Executives Interviewed

Snapshot: Executive Leadership Council"

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