Clear Is Good
And I quote: “Forgetting the business logic and the price, there will be options down the road there, I would answer your question about capable and that we weren’t really quite capable yet because our army was doing all the other stuff we had to do, particularly the systems conversions. The army will be capable to do other stuff sometime next year, which is reasonable. Doesn’t mean we will.”
Now, I know who you think said the above, but you’re wrong.
As reported by The New York Times, it was actually James Dimon, the designate chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, during an investor conference call in October when he was being quizzed about plans for a potential merger.
Maybe Dimon was just having a bad day at the microphone. He was, after all, a financial services wunderkind and well-known as a former prot?g? of Sandy Weill. And he’s now due to take over as the head of one of the biggest banking companies in the business, but one that is not an especially high-level performer.
But bad microphone days have their consequences. To wit: As a result of Dimon’s rambling incoherence, JPMorgan Chase’s stock price tanked for a while, according to the Times.
It all goes to show how important good, clear communication is, particularly in the realm of finance. If anything, the accuracy of what executives say and what companies report should be more important to them than ever because the consequences of not doing so can hit home really hard on a personal level. (Think Sarbanes-Oxley penalties, among others.)
Of course, there are times when people are incoherent or unclear because to be otherwise would divulge what they were really thinking but didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to say. Public life abounds with examples of this sort of purposeful incoherence. Indeed, some figures who continually reside in the limelight have raised incoherence to an art form (or at least a marketing tool).