Interview of Chunka Mui by Michael Santoli of Barron’s

Chunka Mui gave the closing keynote at the recent annual meeting of NIRI, the National Investor Relations Institute. Following that address, he engaged in a wide-ranging interview conducted by Michael Santoli, a senior editor of Barron’s. Santoli writes the “Streetwise” column, offering a forward-looking take on the financial markets, illuminating market trends and themes and identifying investment opportunities. Below is the video of that interview, divided into five parts.

Part one of the interview addresses a number of questions, including the role of the investor relations officer in his/her organization’s strategic deliberations, the challenge of addressing investor and financial analyst sentiment without becoming hostage to them, the limits of intuition, the importance (and limits) of outside perspectives, and the role of discipline in the planning process.

Part two address the institutionalizing of dissent, the corporate evolution of successful companies, why companies keep making big acquisitions in the face of overwhelming evidence that they tend to fail, the danger of trying to buy oneself out of a tough strategic situation, the red flags associated with big synergy plays, and what to do before a big deal is on the table.

Part three addresses executive compensation, corporate culture, how to be effective when dissent is not tolerated, and the importance of assessing alternative future scenarios in the course of evaluating strategy.

Part four explores how to avoid analysis paralysis, why dissent is valuable for CEOs, how to improve the dialog between management and the board of directors while still respecting the bright line between management and governance, the danger of consensus building, the personality of CEOs, and why “the only thing harder than starting a new initiative is killing one.”

Part five closes the interview with an exploration of the difference between noble and ignoble failures and the legacy of George Eastman, founder of Kodak.

Thanks to NIRI and Michael Santoli for permission to post this video.