It isn't new to hear the political or social beliefs of a company leader these days. Many leaders are using their position to speak their minds and share their thoughts on issues that may or may not align with the companies values.
Many times these leaders are shaping the views of the customer base and general population by making a stand for some purpose or cause. Are the statements personal or that of the corporate, and are they said considering the consequences from the present or future customers? It seems all too often we hear of ground swells from those who have differing opinions, where they vow to boycott companies due to their beliefs.
Should companies have views on political or social issues, or should we look past the comments made by employees of a company?
Historically business leaders have kept silent on political and social issues, put their head down and built a business trying to overcome the head winds of social issues or benefitting from the winds behind activism. Some thoughts about whether a leader should speak publicly include;
- Customers viewpoint- Today's customers are demanding to know more about who they are buying from. What beliefs and passions drive the company to do what their work?
- Employees viewpoint- As the workforce is comprised of more and more "Millenials" we hear that employees want to have a purpose and know that their efforts will leave the world in a better position based on their efforts
- Strong Leadership- 30% of a group of CEO's surveyed believe that speaking publicly about their company's values or their personal views shows strong leadership
- Spot Light- By speaking up publicly, leaders gain the opportunity to bring attention not only to the issue at hand but their company. This can either gain tremendous support or extreme backlash
As companies consider their roles in the communities that they work in, ask questions about sustainability, they use a human-centered lens for all business operations because it helps them see around corners and delivers a competitive edge. After all, all businesses need to keep the human element in mind.