The intersection of business and values has been the site of several collisions lately—some accidental, some accidents waiting to happen.
While the subjects in question have varied from CEO activism and governance to issues of ethics and data privacy, the end point is the same: In business 2018, values matter, more than ever. No company looking to its future viability can afford to avoid making choices—and statements—about what it stands for while avoiding pitfalls and misguided actions.
Taking the “right” positions in business can be as difficult as foreseeing future growth and profitability at a time of maximum political uncertainty and market disruption. The hard work of getting it right is illuminated by some recent examples of major companies getting it wrong in areas of major concern.
Mistakes are inevitable. As Korschun puts it, “Clearly, our often-divided political environment poses some danger for companies.” But he claims that there is no choice: “Executives who wish to respond fully to the needs of their stakeholders will need to embrace the new reality if they hope to succeed.” Transparency, consistency, materiality, leadership— a commitment to these qualities will determine the success of any purpose-driven company that stakes out clear positions on the issues of the day, from taking a stand on socio-political issues to internal practices, such as diversity and inclusion and employment engagement programs. Korschun elaborates on these ideas in an e-Book, Stand or Sit: Changing Roles of Companies & CR Directors in Politically Divisive Times, published by 3BL Media.
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John Howell, Chief of Thought Leadership and Editorial Director, is a co-founder of 3BL Media, the parent company of Triple Pundit, begun in 2009. Howell oversees original editorial content procurement and creation. He is also the author of the weekly Brands Taking Stands Newsletter. He has written and edited for Elle, Artforum, High Times, the New York Times Magazine, and the LA Times. Howell is based in Wonalancet, NH.