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It's been a rule of business for generations that most companies assume they are in a struggle.<br />They assume their interests are different from the rest of their environment's:<br />Employees have an interest in higher salaries and more benefits<br />Customers have an interest in lower prices and better service<br />Governments have an interest in higher taxes and greater regulatory restrictions<br />Shareholders have an interest in receiving greater profits from investments<br />
The Internet gives an opportunity to escapethe “struggle”<br />It encourages and enables people to gather in common interest rather than opposition.<br />"CEOs need to engage critics - it's even possible there is a justifiable gripe that the CEO needs to be made aware of. I can't promise I'll win a critic round but I'll never stop trying and I'll become better informed in the process.“<br />- Don Elgie, CEO Creston<br />
Authority is dispersing. We’re moving from a shareholder to stakeholder society<br />Trust in traditional authority figures is falling:<br />In some countries, trust in the CEO has fallen below 20%.<br />The credibility of corporate advertising (13%) and corporate websites (24%) has dropped <br />Meanwhile, people trust the credibility of Internet searches (35%) as much as newspapers (34%) to find new information<br />So it’s not surprising people need to hear something between 3-5 times on average before they believe it’s true<br />Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2009<br />
Shareholder value is only part of the equation<br />Business can behave responsibly, accountably and openly and by engaging stakeholders still benefit the bottom line.<br />…In other words, to sell the proposition make sure what you say and what you do match.<br />
“What you’re doing speaks so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.”<br />- Ralph Waldo Emerson<br />