Re-Purposing American Corporations
As memories of the Great Recession remain fresh and concerns deepen about the threats posed by income inequality, technological disruption, and global climate change, the role played by corporations in America’s capitalist economy has come under growing scrutiny. According to a July 2019 survey conducted for Fortune, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents agree that public companies should be “mission driven” in addition to focusing on shareholders and customers. An equal percentage of respondents (64%) believe a company’s purpose should include “making the world better” as “making money for shareholders.”
Making a statement
Reflecting the societal shift, the Business Roundtable—an association of CEOs from nearly 200 of America’s most prominent companies—in August revised its “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” for the first time in more than two decades. While the previous document issued in 1997 emphasized the absolute primacy of shareholders and stated that “the interests of other stakeholders are relevant as a derivative of the duty to stockholders,” the newly revised statement broadens the definition of corporate stakeholders to include customers, employees, suppliers, and the surrounding community at large.
The revised statement—signed by 181 CEOs including those of AEC giants Bechtel, AECOM, Jacobs, Day & Zimmermann, Fluor Corporation, and Kiewit Corporation—emphasizes that responsible corporations must do more than just benefit shareholders. In addition to “generating long-term value for shareholders,” the statement commits corporations to “delivering value for customers,” “investing in our employees,” “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers,” and “supporting the communities in which we work.”
While only a handful of industry companies are publicly traded or approach the size of Business Roundtable members, AEC firms should take note of the philosophical shift and consider their missions, which could have a bottom-line impact. According to a 2018 report by employee engagement software provider TINYpulse, employees who believe their companies have higher purposes than mere profit-generation are 27% more likely to remain with their employers in the near future.
the next you
The Hidden Leadership Strengths of Introverts
Hiding in plain sight
Since they are outgoing, assertive, and comfortable with networking and public speaking, extroverts are often viewed as natural leaders. However, don’t overlook the leadership potential hidden inside your firm’s introverts. While introverts may not possess the loudest voices or most dominant personalities, that may be precisely why they can make effective leaders.
The case for introverts
Introverts may naturally shy away from leadership opportunities, so it may take some work to develop them. A 2018 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that introverts underestimate how much they would enjoy leading others. The study found that introverts fail to emerge as leaders as often as extroverts “because they engage in higher levels of forecasted negative affect” and “these forecasts impeded their emergent leadership potential.” Don’t try to remake introverts into extroverts but encourage them to step out of their natural comfort zones and ease them into leadership roles with project teams and clients.
A guide to help you better understand how AE firms are valued and – perhaps more importantly – what you can do to build value now.Read Newsletter