What Matters Most

I am honored to be the guest host for FC Now this week. I am looking forward to engaging the FC community in a dialogue on corporate responsibility, the challenges companies face as they move down this path and the risks business faces for not recognizing this strategic imperative. Before discussing some of the research I did for the book, I wanted to get a sense of what you think about corporate America. I have three questions I would like to get comments on:

  • Do you feel you can trust corporate America? If not, why not?
  • Do you think that McDonalds can ever be a socially responsible company? Shell? Microsoft? Chiquita?
  • Do you think we are at the beginning of a fundamental cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future?

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5 Comments

  • Donald E. L. Johnson

    Do you feel you can trust corporate America? If not, why not?

    The correct question is: Do you think that anyone can trust the people who work in corporate America, Europe, Asia or where ever? Blind trust, no. Educated trust, mostly. Experienced trust, most of the time. Skeptical trust: If I can't trust the NEA, NCAA or academia, all of whom are role models for modern America, who can I trust? Clinton and his academic me tooers?

    Do you think that McDonalds can ever be a socially responsible company? Shell? Microsoft? Chiquita?

    Do I think Harvard, MIT, Stanford or the University of Colorado can ever be socially responsible educators. I trust them a little less than McDonald's, Shell, Microsoft, etc.
    Do you think we are at the beginning of a fundamental cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future?

    Do you think we are at the beginning of a fundamental cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future?

    Yes, we're in the midst of a huge cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future. It's called open borders, disrespect for the law by politicians begging for hispainic votes and corrupting themselves and the people who hire illegal immigrants in the process. A huge corrupting cultural change, denied by the most open-minded academics and journalists, of course.

    Talk about social responsibility: Look to the institutions that are importing corruption to America by employing illegals and by winking at such practices. Heck, you could write a book about that cultural change, don't you think?

  • David Parmet

    Do you feel you can trust corporate America? If not, why not?

    Trust is not the right word. My interests and the interests of the companies I deal with, my employer and his clients included, are fundamentally at odds. This is true on so many different levels I can't begin to describe it in this format.

    This isn't a bad thing - it's just a fact. I don't want Disney or Time Warner marketing to my kids. But that's what Disney does in order to survive and grow and keep its shareholders happy. That's just capitalism and if you come up with a better system, let me know.

    Do you think that McDonalds can ever be a socially responsible company? Shell? Microsoft? Chiquita?

    Define socially responsible? McDonalds does little 'stay in school cause it's cool' PSAs on Nickelodean... is because they truly believe in the message, or are they really just trying to reach the highly desirable 2 to 4 year old market?


    Do you think we are at the beginning of a fundamental cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future?

    I think at some level consumers are more empowered to take their ball and go elsewhere. The Internet has certainly changed a lot and enabled people to get information, find each other, take action, etc.

    On the other hand, it's getting harder and harder to determine what's genuine and what's hype and when are you just being sold a bill of goods to make yourself feel good while adding to some company's bottom line?

    Sorry for being so bleak. It's early and I'm just finishing my morning coffee.

  • Peter Rees

    Trust - as long as the corporate goals weren't too contrary to my own. I think a dose of healthy skepticism is always beneficial.

    Being a SR Co. - Sure ... the term is so flimsy.

    Cultural shift - Yes. I don't think the shift is as transparent in North America, although the impact of 'business thinking' on agriculture and media would be good places to start. The culture change initiated by 'business culture' can be seen in the Iraq, Somalia, Indonesia, China, and Russia ... just to provide a short list.

    The lure of a business culture is that shared prosperity brings stability. Can prosperity and stability create sustainability?

  • Janet Boulter

    Corporate America-- needs to re-evaluate itself with regards to trust, ethics, quality, and value-added services/products in order to win the trust of consumers and stockholders. They need to improve their business practices in order to increase profits.

    I think there are a lot of socially responsible companies in America today-- however they are over-shadowed by the bad press generated from the unethical behavior of a few high- profile companies in the press currently. As a society we need to define "social responsiblity" as we expect companies to perform.

    As for a cultural change- not yet. American's have not yet "awakened" to their true power as consumers and their ability to drive change in corporate america.

  • Chris ODonnell

    Do you feel you can trust corporate America? If not, why not?

    Yes, because markets generally work,and the companies that survive and thrive are the organizations that generally do right for their customers.

    Do you think that McDonalds can ever be a socially responsible company? Shell? Microsoft? Chiquita?
    I don't agree with the inferred premise that they are not socially responsible today. Socially responsible is a balancing act. The only way to have zero negative impact on the world is not exist at all.

    Do you think we are at the beginning of a fundamental cultural change that will affect the role business will play in the future?
    No. Business still exists to being goods and services to market more efficiently and to enable transactions. That hasn't changed in thousands of years.