Jeff Sonnenfeld says that CEOs play an essential role in speaking out on political issues.
Last year, CEOs took on major issues regarding immigration, racial justice, election security and voting access. As Michael Dell commented, “If CEOs can’t speak out on voting access, what can they address?” The collective voice of CEOs provides them protection from political reprisals and adds force.Making A Difference
He has five key suggestions, all easier to say than to follow:
Act in the national interest,
Seek board guidance. Quoting VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow: “It is time for every board of directors to develop new policies on how corporate money and messaging decisions are made on political issues. Like almost every other answer on corporate strategy, these decisions rest on corporate identity, or branding…. Corporate reputation is of increasing importance, particularly to millennials and the generation that follows, a priority not just as consumers but as employees and investors. The fastest-growing category of investment is ESG, with every major financial institution and every significant institutional investor having one or more ESG options.”
Examine the company’s strategic needs.
Fortify brand and culture.
Model your values.