By Mark Feldman
America has spoken. And post-election, we are all contemplating how a new administration will impact our lives and work.
As someone who has spent over 25 years helping companies create and communicate their corporate citizenship activities, I believe something game-changing is happening. These times compel business leaders at all levels to reimagine how we will step up around the social issues important to our businesses and stakeholders. More than ever before, American companies will choose their path between apathy and action. It will be an era of increased complexity and opportunity.
As the transition in Washington drives new legislation, fresh funding priorities and fewer government regulations, executives must analyze immediate and long-term business impacts. While navigating choices and opportunities brought on by the shifting environment, we will look toward shared anchors, values or a “True North” to guide our decisions. As social issues and challenges are thrust to the forefront, we will decide whether to watch from the sidelines, get more engaged or take a leadership role.
Employees, consumers and neighbors will become increasingly powerful influencers on decision-making. During uncertain and potentially polarizing times, these groups will look for comfort and alignment with their beliefs. Their voices around the social issues that are important to them will rise even louder as they get more inspired and passionate, especially if they are scared. We need to be prepared to answer what our companies and brands stand for.
In the face of the many complex challenges that lie ahead, it might be easier to passively observe and wait for the pendulum to shift back, but ultimately that means being left behind. The role of corporate America around social issues is too important - and the opportunity too great -- for us not to take carefully considered, strategic action.
Having worked with executives who act boldly and make a difference, here is what I optimistically expect to see more of from companies in the future:
Image Credit: Flickr/Doug Geisler