McKinsey gets social
The December 2006 issue of the The McKinsey Quarterly Chart Focus Newsletter provides a good look at the full circle approach required for companies to successfully improve in the area of social responsibility.
“Eighty-four percent of the executives from around the world who participated in a McKinsey survey agreed that their companies should pursue not only shareholder value but also broader contributions to the public good. Most acknowledged that their companies could handle sociopolitical issues more successfully, as well. To improve, a company should identify emerging trends and develop coherent organization-wide responses—an approach that requires it to integrate social issues into all dimensions of the business, not just the making of strategy…If companies don’t adopt that approach they run the risk of misalignment—a CEO saying one thing, the rest of the company failing to translate those good intentions into practical action. A company whose external-communications strategy emphasizes the search for more environmentally friendly products and processes, for example, will stumble if it simultaneously fights limits on carbon dioxide emissions.”
PR lesson: as is true in all industries, but especially when dealing with social and clean tech issues, a story doesn’t go too far if it’s only a story. “Spin” and chasing hype will get you to first base. A company that is aligned and has an executive team that believes in what they’re doing, socially and fiscally, will bring you home, or at least to third.
For more on how companies should manage sociopolitical issues—and can benefit if they do, “When social issues become strategic.” Or check out what executives think about the way companies handle social issues now, “The McKinsey Global Survey of Business Executives: Business and Society.”