Rob Campbell is someone I admire. He is well-informed and sees the world in a big picture view - bigger than most people do. A comment he recently posted on LinkedIn has a great deal of relevance when one considers stakeholders and their importance to the bottom line of companies.
What was his comment?
It implies that one should consider broader stakeholder issues in order for a business to deliver the best possible value for shareholders. His comment: “I do think from my experience that the wider issues that matter to people and their positive impact on performance are important. Maybe not in a week, but subject to the economics of the business being valid they will be a value differentiator.”
Plastics sector arrogance
The global plastics industry paid PR firms for years to present the view that it was consumers who were responsible for the rapid growth in global plastic pollution, rather than themselves. Now, a tsunami of anti-plastic sentiment is building globally and that will likely have a negative impact upon their bottom line
Microsoft is annoying individual and business customers who rely on the Windows 10 operating system. There have been so many issues with online automatic updates creating problems for users. Microsoft has told some users that it could be months before they can fix update issues and that users will have to “put up and shut up” in the interim. In my small business, the cost to fix Windows 10 updates problems amounts to several thousand dollars – plus a lot of stress. The level of arrogance at Microsoft is unbelievable. It must be opening up huge opportunities for competitors who can offer a reliable alternative operating system and not have to pay to fix up supplier-caused issues and lose thousands in down time.
The arrogance of Facebook, when it comes to the way personal data has been used and abused, just to make money for the corporation’s shareholders, is giving rise to a wave of concern and dissension that can only be ‘bad for business’. There is growing evidence that the trust of Facebook users has been damaged and that increasing numbers are looking for alternatives. Other social media networks are also facing a growing backlash.
Angela Merkel is unpopular in Germany because she failed to recognise local concerns regarding her open arms policy towards refugees and migrants. As a result, even more arrogant politicians, such as those in the AFD, are gaining power. Boris Johnson is another arrogant politician who essentially writes off the concerns of the nearly 50% of voters who did not want to leave the EU. He and a small group of supporters want a total break, which could have serous ramifications for the UK if they end up with a ‘hard Brexit’. No compromise. Time will tell how much gain (or pain) there will be for the broader group of “stakeholders” (i.e. all UK citizens). Examples of arrogant leadership.
The future costs of arrogance?
As Rob Campbell commented, businesses and organisations that consider “the wider issues that concern people” are likely to enjoy better long-term financial performance than those which ignore such issues. At the end of the day, every director and leader has to understand one simple fundamental fact of life - that without happy customers, clients or voters, their longer-term future will be in jeopardy because people will simply look elsewhere for better personal outcomes. And that always impacts the bottom line!