- More and more CEOs are gaining visibility for their stances on various social issues, says Monica P. Hawkins, CEO of PPDG.
- Many CEOs believe these outward stances are good for business, she adds. When CEOs “create a narrative” for their companies about values, it connects with consumers who want to buy products that reflect their values.
- This behavior could lead to a shift in how leaders are developed and trained.
Socially active CEOs and their companies have garnered national attention as of late, with many companies pulling the sale of the confederate flag last month.
“Leaders believe they and their employees can use their positions and influence to shed light on issues that are important to their customers,” Hawkins wrote. When customers and clients feel their values align, that could help business.
Naturally, such social engagement can be risky. Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign had good intentions, but faced criticism since their own upper management lacked diversity. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz noted after the campaign was cancelled that, despite concerns, it was a part of Starbucks’ mission to “always aim high in our efforts to make a difference on the issues that matter most.”
Internally, such stances may please a growing millennial workforce. Such “compassion skills,” says Hawkins, may soon be a required trait for up-and-comers at various companies—but the long-term effect of engaged CEOs on leadership training has yet to be seen.