Now, time for today's issue:
It's not often that the head of a major profit-seeking organization says something that thoroughly impresses me. That's because I've built up some firmly-held biases against the corporate ethos that dominates our world.
Why? I spent years working for huge companies whose leaders made no bones about their pursuit of shareholder happiness to the exclusion of all else. The employees who made it happen didn't figure into their thinking, nor did doing the right thing for the right reason. As long as the bottom line was served, their thinking was, quite simply, "To hell with everything - and everyone - else."
This trickled down into a corporate culture that encouraged unfettered nastiness, immoral behavior and day-to-day flouting of the basic rules of kindergarten (do unto others, etc.) by those occupying the requisite countless layers of management. Cruelties were - and presumably still are - justified by quoting the applicable bureaucratic truth to which the drones subscribed.
I still get e-mail from former colleagues, virtually all of whom share their thoughts on what a miserable environment this kind of thinking has created. If I only had a nickel for every time someone told me, "You're lucky you got out when you did."
Which is why this quote came as such a pleasant surprise:
“Honda’s vision is to be a company that society wants to exist.”Honda Motor Company Ltd. president and CEO Takeo Fukui said this recently while discussing his organization's pursuit of new propulsion technologies. Honda has been a leader in gas-electric hybrid development, and continues to lead the industry in building efficient, powerful and clean-burning powerplants. If a car company can ever be called green, Honda is likely as close as any such company can be.
Mr. Fukui's quote runs counter to the scorched earth ethics that seem to guide so many large organizations today. Will his words be heard in other executive suites? Will they be understood and appreciated?
I don't have the answer to that, but as consumers, perhaps we can begin to exert our influence by choosing to deal with companies that make it clear their priorities are symbiotic to the environment - social, economic, geographic, etc. - within which they exist.
Do you believe your voice can be heard? How will you make that happen?