CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017

I wanted to share this piece I wrote for Harvard Business Review on what we have learned about CEO and corporate activism so far. We’ve been consistently monitoring the dynamic of CEOs speaking out on some of the hot button issues of the day. In addition to the market research we have done, we analyzed corporate and CEO responses to each of the contentious issues in 2017, whether it was the travel ban, climate change withdrawal, Charlottesville, etc. It is important for companies to understand the patterns in how companies are responding in order to determine if they want to walk that tightrope or not. Here it is. Enjoy. The post CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017 appeared first on ReputationXchange.

CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017

I wanted to share this piece I wrote for Harvard Business Review on what we have learned about CEO and corporate activism so far. We’ve been consistently monitoring the dynamic of CEOs speaking out on some of the hot button issues of the day. In addition to the market research we have done, we analyzed corporate and CEO responses to each of the contentious issues in 2017, whether it was the travel ban, climate change withdrawal, Charlottesville, etc. It is important for companies to understand the patterns in how companies are responding in order to determine if they want to walk that tightrope or not. Here it is. Enjoy. The post CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017 appeared first on ReputationXchange.

CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017

I wanted to share this piece I wrote for Harvard Business Review on what we have learned about CEO and corporate activism so far. We’ve been consistently monitoring the dynamic of CEOs speaking out on some of the hot button issues of the day. In addition to the market research we have done, we analyzed corporate and CEO responses to each of the contentious issues in 2017, whether it was the travel ban, climate change withdrawal, Charlottesville, etc. It is important for companies to understand the patterns in how companies are responding in order to determine if they want to walk that tightrope or not. Here it is. Enjoy. The post CEO Activism: What We Have Learned So Far in 2017 appeared first on ReputationXchange.

CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes

As you know if you follow me, I am particularly intrigued by this newest strain of CEO visibility and engagement which has emerged and is rapidly evolving – CEO activism. We at Weber Shandwick along with KRC Research have been examining this phenomenon for some time now and producing original research on the topic. We just released our second survey among 1,021 Americans on their opinions on CEO activism which are especially interesting since they provide new insights on the Millennial generation. The newest survey demonstrates that overall sentiment about CEO activism has not changed much since we did our earlier survey one year ago. BUT Millennials, the most coveted demographic segment by employers and companies looking to sell more products/services are the generation that are most in favor of CEOs being proactive on hot-button societal issues. In size, Millennials have now surpassed Boomers so I’d say that their opinions Continue reading "CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes"

CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes

As you know if you follow me, I am particularly intrigued by this newest strain of CEO visibility and engagement which has emerged and is rapidly evolving – CEO activism. We at Weber Shandwick along with KRC Research have been examining this phenomenon for some time now and producing original research on the topic. We just released our second survey among 1,021 Americans on their opinions on CEO activism which are especially interesting since they provide new insights on the Millennial generation. The newest survey demonstrates that overall sentiment about CEO activism has not changed much since we did our earlier survey one year ago. BUT Millennials, the most coveted demographic segment by employers and companies looking to sell more products/services are the generation that are most in favor of CEOs being proactive on hot-button societal issues. In size, Millennials have now surpassed Boomers so I’d say that their opinions Continue reading "CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes"

CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes

As you know if you follow me, I am particularly intrigued by this newest strain of CEO visibility and engagement which has emerged and is rapidly evolving – CEO activism. We at Weber Shandwick along with KRC Research have been examining this phenomenon for some time now and producing original research on the topic. We just released our second survey among 1,021 Americans on their opinions on CEO activism which are especially interesting since they provide new insights on the Millennial generation. The newest survey demonstrates that overall sentiment about CEO activism has not changed much since we did our earlier survey one year ago. BUT Millennials, the most coveted demographic segment by employers and companies looking to sell more products/services are the generation that are most in favor of CEOs being proactive on hot-button societal issues. In size, Millennials have now surpassed Boomers so I’d say that their opinions Continue reading "CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes"

CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes

As you know if you follow me, I am particularly intrigued by this newest strain of CEO visibility and engagement which has emerged and is rapidly evolving – CEO activism. We at Weber Shandwick along with KRC Research have been examining this phenomenon for some time now and producing original research on the topic. We just released our second survey among 1,021 Americans on their opinions on CEO activism which are especially interesting since they provide new insights on the Millennial generation. The newest survey demonstrates that overall sentiment about CEO activism has not changed much since we did our earlier survey one year ago. BUT Millennials, the most coveted demographic segment by employers and companies looking to sell more products/services are the generation that are most in favor of CEOs being proactive on hot-button societal issues. In size, Millennials have now surpassed Boomers so I’d say that their opinions Continue reading "CEO Activism in Millennials’ Eyes"

Nameless faceless CEOs

The headline was America’s Invisible Bosses and naturally I was curious. The research by APPrise Mobile found that nearly one quarter (23%) of Americans who work in companies with over 500 employees (midsized) were not sure whether they could name their CEO. This was more common among employees under 24 years old (not a surprise). I guess what did surprise me was this was not what I would call a case for “invisible bosses.” As I see this, the research says that nearly 3 in 4 employed Americans (77%) know their CEO’s name. That’s actually a pretty high number and certainly tips more on the “visible” side of the scale for me. CEOs are not as nameless as one might suspect. APPrise included a great question in the survey. They asked whether employees could identify their CEO from a lineup. That made me laugh. Just imagine a line up Continue reading "Nameless faceless CEOs"

What makes a high-performing CEO?

You ought to read this article on what makes some CEOs successful and others not. There are lots of interesting things to learn from their 10 year old research study called the CEO Genome Project.  The researchers were able to identify what makes a high performing CEO relative to a less successful one from a wide swath of business leaders.  They examined 17,000 C-suite leaders including 2,000 CEOs in all major industry sectors and sizes. The authors are at ghSmart and partnered with economists at the University of Chicago and Copenhagen Business School along with analysts at SAS Inc. Here are some of the findings that stood out for me:
  • Boards like to hire extrovert CEOs but introvert CEOs tend to be better performers.
  • Almost every CEO made material mistakes in their careers and 45% had at least one major career blowup. Learning from failure is important to Continue reading "What makes a high-performing CEO?"

Reputation Tidbits

Gosh, it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been a nonstop quarter and I feel like I can breathe this weekend. So I thought I’d mention a few things that have been on my radar reputation-wise. First, Harris Poll RQ released their 2017 corporate reputation study that included some interesting metrics. First, they find that crisis in one company does not necessarily infect other companies in the same industry. Thus, a company that has lost reputational standing in the financial services industry does not necessarily transfer its problems to other industry peers. That’s good news. The Harris Poll analysts also revealed that some companies are more liked (have higher RQs) by Republicans than Democrats. The polarization that exists today carries itself into reputational favorability among the public. This is notable because more CEOs are making their positions known on hot-button societal issues. So it makes sense for CEOs to
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Continue reading "Reputation Tidbits"

CEOs Showing Up

CEOs are taking their jobs as chief recruitment officers seriously. An article in this week’s WSJ described how CEOs are spending more time on campus grounds. The lead example was from Cargill’s CEO who literally calls candidates to seal the deal. The CEO, David MacLennan, feels that he needs to play a role in attracting the best talent to his agriculture and food company because he is competing with high tech companies that have greater awareness. As the CEO says, he has to put a human face on the company and that job is exclusively his. The article mentions how MacLennan shows up on recruiting weekends and talks freely about the company’s values and ethics, a key factor to many candidates looking for the right place to work when they graduate college or graduate school.
This example reminds me of one of the pieces of advice we give to CEOs Continue reading "CEOs Showing Up"

Reputation Trends for 2017

Here we are at a most pivotal point in America’s history. Donald Trump, perhaps one of the most surprising people to have ever been elected President of the United States, will soon be inaugurated. For better or worse, the reputation of this nation hangs in the balance. Will America’s reputation be burnished or burned? Hard to say just yet. But one thing is abundantly clear. President Trump is likely to be a sharply different type of President than we are used to. His words and deeds will undoubtedly impact us not just during the next few years, but for years to come. As a businessman, and as someone who has appointed numerous other business people to hold significant posts in his administration, his words and deeds will also impact the reputation of American business and business leaders. I must confess that as I pull together my reputation prognostications for 2017, Continue reading "Reputation Trends for 2017"

Tim Cook on being CEO

Fall is here, or at least the end of summer. I have to get back into posting on my blog. So here I am on a sunny Sunday before I dive into some work before Monday morning arrives. I wanted to post about this fantastic interview I came across in the Washington Post in August. It is an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and it is very in-depth. There were so many good quotes in it that I am reeling after reading it for the second time. The occasion of the interview was Apple selling its billionth iPhone. Billionth! And the timing coincided with the five year anniversary of Tim Cook taking over the reins from Steve Jobs. Several themes that I have been watching over the years surface in this interview and I was excited to hear his point of view – the media scrutiny, the role of Continue reading "Tim Cook on being CEO"

Finding the Words — CEO Activism

Our research on CEO activism came out a few weeks ago. It was covered in this article in the Washington Post by Jena McGregor. Then came this week’s horrific news of shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas which upended our lives and sense of security. In response, a few CEOs spoke out (Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Marc Benioff) and McGregor penned another article that is worth reading if you are interested in the phenomenon of CEO activism –“Gun brutality emboldens CEOs to speak out about race.” McGregor spoke with Tom Andrews of SYPartners who responded to McGregor’s question about why fewer CEOs have spoken up in response to the escalating racial tensions brought on by this week’s events compared to the events surrounding anti-LGBT laws in several states over the past 18 months or so. Andrews said: “We have a language for the LGBT community — there’s been such a movement around creating that language you can trace right Continue reading "Finding the Words — CEO Activism"

The CEO Three Year Itch

In my last post, I wrote about a recent McKinsey Quarterly report on new CEOs which had valuable information. The one thing I left out and saved for a follow up post was this finding which showed up in the last few sentences. The authors reported that “On average, an inflection point arrives during year three of a CEO’s tenure. At that point, a CEO whose company is underperforming is roughly twice as likely to depart as the CEO of an outperforming one—by far the highest level at any time in a chief executive’s tenure.” I guess you might call it the 3 Year Itch. This finding matches with some research I had done years ago on CEO tenures. By 18 to 24 months, you either have the board and employees’ support or not. It then takes a year or so for any action to happen on that level of success Continue reading "The CEO Three Year Itch"

Summer Reading from Gates

How much fun is this! An animated summer reading list from Bill Gates. A smart way to communicate without the formality and pomposity that goes with most chief executives. A newer way of storytelling from the top. Clearly, Gates is just sharing with us his favorite books for the summer and does not need to further building his reputation.  He has enough good will already. But it makes him and all the initiatives at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation appear even more grounded and ahead of the curve because of his focus on deep thought and learning. Short, snappy and makes you want to read each book. Clearly, no romance novels. It is entertaining (love the robot), accessible and it feels like he is sitting right next to you having a conversation. And what could be more important than reading a book, an activity we have little time for these days. Continue reading "Summer Reading from Gates"

CEO Bad Behavior

I have been derelict with my blog so the guilt is driving me to spend some time today to post about a fascinating research analysis of when CEOs engage in questionable behavior and how the board responds to these reputation-damaging missteps. In an article by professors David Larcker and Brian Tayan at Stanford Graduate School of Business, entitled “Scoundrels in the C-Suite,” a nice provocative title, they question what happens to CEO who misbehave. And for a very good reason which is that misbehavior at the top influences behavior below and spreads exponentially. Time and time again, we hear about CEOs creating a tone at the top that impacts how the organization and allowed misconduct to be condoned. Since the authors realize that you can only measure what you can see, they looked at media reports of CEO misbehavior to determine how the board reacted and what type of retribution was doled out to the offender. Thus, Larcker Continue reading "CEO Bad Behavior"

What we want from Social CEOs

A new study was just released about what Americans want from CEOs who are using social media. The survey from G&S Business Communications and Harris Interactive found that the average person wants CEOs to talk about business and not about their personal lives. They found that Americans want business leaders on social media to talk about their company’s vision (36%), their company’s products and services (35%), their company’s customer service issues and experiences (32%) and their employee culture (25%). In comparison, less than 20% want to hear from social CEOs when it comes to career advice or personal stories. This meshes with our finding back in 2010 when we first dived into social CEOs and found that Fortune 500 CEOs mostly shared information about their companies and industry, discussed company partnerships and shared the company’s mission and history when they were online. At the time, they were less apt to discuss personal news or Continue reading "What we want from Social CEOs"