I am seeing more CEOs vocalizing publicly the decision that their company and employees (and therefore their money) will not be involved with what is going on in the world, especially as it relates to social issues or politics. To be clear the intent is not new, however, this approach has been mostly implied. It appears these guys seems quite comfortable saying the quiet parts out load.

Part of the justification appears to be this idea that “trying to please everybody” is too difficult, or too much work, or possibly the wrong work for the employees. This has led to a general prohibition against all employees discussing, organizing and accommodating any one. Even for those employees for whom social issues and politics is a life and death proposition.

I imagine that once you enjoy an obscene level of wealth you have the ability, privilege and audacity to eschew a whole class of problems that impact society and, more specifically, your employees. To make this work in a practical sense though my firm belief is that these CEOs will have to create work environments steeped in homogeny, essentially you will create a group of guys where nothing they care about would rise to jeopardize access to capital. Somehow we have got to the point where we remain entitled to all the benefits of society while rejecting the responsibility to it.

How, for example, do you meet the challenge of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion if you cannot even talk about it? The truth is that their plan is to simply not meet the challenge, in fact with this overarching strategy the problem will, somehow, magically disappear.

If you are a leader I would urge you to analyze this moment, if nothing else you should be ensuring you do not make some of these obvious mistakes. Here are a few things to consider:

  • As the leader you will bear the greatest burden, get comfortable with being uncomfortable (hopefully your purpose and reward makes that worth it).
  • You do not need to solve every problem, in fact empowering others will always be a better option.
  • The only thing worse than thinking you can solve all the problems is preventing others, with the will and desire, from even trying.
  • You probably hired the people positioned to help you, it’s time to trust them in creating spaces and solutions.

For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Sharp left turn written in white on a walking path


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