Bonuses for A.I.G. executives could be the downfall of the US, or so you might think to watch how politicians, pundits, and the public reacted.
Never mind that the bonuses amounted to chump change in the grand scheme of things. We acted like villagers in the movie Frankenstein who wanted to kill the monster. Never mind that the A.I.G. scandal distracted us from paying closer attention to the worst financial crisis facing us in decades. We were after blood. And it is possible that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will have become the new populist hero for getting the evil villains to return some of the money.
Leaders in organizations should watch these events closely. When something that seems unfair catches the public sense of unfairness, the outrage builds and then builds on itself.
I wish I had great advice for what to do, but I don’t. Right now I am interested in watching us react to changing events. Watching the President’s poll numbers go down and up depending on the headlines.