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Thursday, May 31, 2018
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Profit and purpose are converging. Over 80% of millennials report that making a positive difference in the world is more important to them than professional recognition. They no longer believe the primary purpose of business should be to make profit, but rather to create social value. On the investor side, more and more shareholders demand tracking and reporting of both positive and negative externalities, compelling some of the largest corporations on earth into action. Customers overwhelmingly prefer products tied to a social cause. A significant majority of citizens want changes to how society governs itself—and therefore how problems get solved—and also changes to the corporate status quo. Not surprisingly, more and more businesses are becoming certified for their social responsibility practices.
Capital markets, as a whole, are also moving in this direction. In 2016, socially responsible investing made up more than one out of every four invested dollars under professional management. And recently, the head of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, called on all companies to explain how their businesses make “a positive contribution to society” beyond just financial performance. “To prosper over time,” he argued, “companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”
When we talk with corporate executives around the country, they almost always ask the same question: Can managers and CEOs really accomplish their business goals while also advancing society’s goals? We believe the answer is yes. In fact, this sort of thinking is something of a return to the norm. In his Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith argues that duty and sympathy are part of our very nature, and that because of our innate morality, we can live collaboratively in a just and harmonious society. We hear similar ideas in Peter Drucker’s bestseller, The Age of Discontinuity, where he argues that all sectors of society are “affected with the public interest” but must operate in symbiosis, like an orchestra—each playing its own part in collaboration with other institutions. More recently, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz argued that we have the capacity, if we choose to collaborate across and among the sectors of our society, to grow the economy and move toward equality, “creating a shared prosperity.”
In light of this, we think the pressing question isn’t whether managers and CEOs should care about advancing society’s goals, but how they do so most effectively. To us, the message is clear: For businesses to survive and succeed in today’s globalized, hyper-connected world, business leaders must be willing to embrace collaboration as a guiding principle, more so than competition.
Truly, business interests and societal interests can be one and the same. We see this in our research at Columbia University and have identified many examples where CEOs benefit their businesses by partnering across sectors with public officials, nonprofit managers, and community members. When such partnerships are done well, they lead to more equitable and inclusive solutions where leaders can consider, and calculate, the impact of their decisions for society over the long run. But these successes are not by mistake—they are the result of decades of collaboration between business, government, philanthropy, and community.
This is apparent in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is using a collaborative approach to build a national digital highway, partnering with the country’s world-class technology companies in the process. This initiative will soon connect all 1.3 billion of India’s citizens to voting, banking, government assistance, healthcare, recordkeeping, and more. In turn, this will foster better social outcomes and create new markets and consumer segments. Developed alongside business magnate Nandan Nilekani, “the biggest social project on the planet” relies on community-operated Common Service Centers (CSCs) and local entrepreneurs to deliver programs and share in the profits. To improve the delivery of healthcare, the government is working with private sector group Apollo Hospitals on telemedicine services to reach low-income and remote rural communities. Business partners provide lower cost services with lower margins, but still meet their bottom lines, aligning their brand with a social good, and expanding their customer base (Apollo Hospitals makes this case explicitly). Modi’s Digital India initiative is a massive cross-sector partnership that aligns business and social goals so that many groups share in the successes—and risks—of the program.
When organizations from different sectors, with different missions and priorities, endeavor to collaborate, how should business leaders approach partnership building? Our research finds that successful collaborations begin with a common process, one that applies no matter whether you are a CEO, nonprofit manager, philanthropist, or public servant. In researching and testing these commonalities, we developed a new management framework for effective cross-sector partnerships, and a clear method for measuring success.
We call the framework Social Value Investing because it is inspired by Berkshire Hathaway and modeled after the company’s application of value investing—one of history’s most successful investment paradigms. Like value investing, Social Value Investing employs a long-term investment strategy that unlocks hidden or intrinsic value. The approach is detailed in our recently published research, which outlines five aspects of effective partnership management that every leader should know: process, people, place, portfolio, and performance. Let’s take a closer look at each:
1. Plan a coordinated and comprehensive process for cross-sector partnerships. Successful cross-sector partnerships contain diverse but complementary organizations that collectively contribute to the creation of long-term value. Through a well-structured operating process, partners expand and align their efforts and draw on comparative strengths.
We see this with Digital India and the telemedicine program. The government invested in training and long-term infrastructure and established high-level goals for the country to guide activity. Apollo Hospitals focuses on medical service delivery through a geographically diverse network of CSCs. And the CSCs are staffed by local entrepreneurs who provide services that are affordable for low-income residents in their community. This mutually collaborative partnering process, based on strategic planning and distributed operations, enabled the program to expand to more than 60,000 community-level CSCs fairly quickly, and eventually led to more than 160 new, major eUrban Primary Health Centers.
2. Manage people effectively through decentralized teams across organizations. Cross-sector partnerships thrive through a network of decentralized leaders and managers who operate independent programs or organizations. These leaders and their teams comprise a range of varied strengths but are aligned toward shared goals. By focusing on and empowering the people involved, partnering organizations can support their teams’ collective ability to lead and succeed.
Collaborative leadership was critical for the revitalization of Central Park in New York City. In 1979, Betsy Rogers became the first Central Park Administrator and set out to save park operations from a shrunken staff and dismal resources. She rallied her teams around a newly communicated vision, coordinated closely with the mayor’s office, and established coalitions of community, government, and private sector support. (In our case study on Central Park, we elaborate on ways she built and maintained her team’s momentum, and we discuss the Park’s current forty-nine team, decentralized zone management system.) Today, the Park creates incredible social value, but also provides billions in economic value through higher tax revenue, tourism, consumer spending, and real estate appreciation.
3. Integrate stakeholders from across organizations and communities in a given place. By employing a place-based strategy, cross-sector partnerships incorporate stakeholders as shareholders of a partnership’s investment, rather than just beneficiaries. This typically requires time and effort to build trust and requires intentionality around prioritizing stakeholders’ preferences and best interests. Working collaboratively with a sense of permanent community—what we call place-based co-ownership—reinforces important long-term relationships between partners.
This is evident in another of our research cases, based in western Afghanistan. There, a group of partners collaborated on a series of community investments to rebuild agricultural value chains and long-term infrastructure. Partners co-invested their time, energy, and resources alongside community members into a set of interconnected programs in and around a specific group of villages. Stakeholders in the area worked together with government agencies, foundations, NGOs, and others to design, plan, and carry out the overall partnership. Local entities, ranging from village councils and opinion leaders to the region’s public university, took ownership of the projects, determined program governance, and co-developed priorities and time lines with the other partners. The initiative’s funders and implementers entered the partnership with a specific mentality, treating stakeholders as permanent co-owners of the investments being made, resulting in some surprising successes.
4. Develop portfolios of financing to offset risk and achieve greater scale. Cross-sector partnerships can draw from and combine various financial tools and investments. This enables partners to diversify risk and expand the pool of capital available to carry out the partnership’s programs and deliver its outcomes. By blending financial capital from different sources, including philanthropic capital (which can take significant risks), programs benefit from a versatile and coordinated portfolio of funders.
Our research brings this portfolio-based approach to life through the story of Comunitas, a Brazilian nonprofit focused on improving the transparency and reliability of city services across the country. Comunitas relies on voluntary time and contributions from members and their board, which includes many of Brazil’s most successful private sector, corporate leaders. The organization works with committed local governments, and combines philanthropy and best business practices to offset costs and political and implementation risks of new programs. In turn, cities are modernizing public processes including financial management, building permitting, design and operations of public health systems, and strategic planning, resulting in an increase in efficiency, transparency, and civic engagement. This has led to new business development and growth in the participating cities, along with a return of ten dollars in program savings or increased revenues for every dollar invested through the organization.
5. Define success collaboratively, and measure social-impact performance. Partners must work together to identify and select collaborative programs with comparatively high intrinsic value—programs that are in line with partners’ principles and the partnership’s overall objectives. By predicting the relative performance of a given set of program options, partners can allocate capital based on specific priorities and goals.
For example, by defining and prioritizing new performance measures, the Police and Fire Departments of New York worked across city agencies to redefine success from responding to emergencies to preventing them. This led New York City to become one of the safest in the world—fire-related deaths in 2016, for example, were a historically low 48, despite responding to more than 26,000 structural fires across all five boroughs. Our published work outlines other scenarios where partners use performance management to collaboratively define and measure the social impact of their work.
Taken together, Social Value Investing is a blueprint for aligning the interests and goals of partnering organizations, and demonstrating how business efficiency and customer orientation can benefit the efforts of the public and philanthropic sectors. However, we also recognize that cross-sector partnerships are difficult work. Effective partnership development requires comprehensive planning across many organizations, which is complex, takes time, and can be impossible without dedicated funding or support. It also requires visionary leadership, stakeholder engagement, and operating transparency between partners. Furthermore, lack of common performance measures can make it difficult for any group of partners to know whether or not they are accomplishing their shared goals.
Our research demonstrates that partnerships are worth pursuing—though rarely easy or seamless—and we hope that our findings will serve as a resource to others. In these turbulent and conflicted times, this framework provides a starting point for leaders of all kinds to find commonality in purpose and direction. Partnerships can help society move past the individualistic rent-seeking and free-rider behavior that dominates traditional ideas of economic self-interest. Social Value Investing operationalizes a vision for society built on collaboration over competition, one that resonates and builds on the visions of Adam Smith, Peter Drucker, and Joseph Stiglitz. For companies to survive and thrive in the economy of tomorrow, business leaders must move toward more equitable and sustainable products and services. And to remain relevant in the eyes of consumers, they will have to find solutions where business interests and societal interests are truly one and the same.
Asian Americans are the forgotten minority in the glass ceiling conversation.
This was painfully obvious to us while reading the newly released diversity and inclusion report from a large Silicon Valley company: Its 19 pages never specifically address Asian Americans. Asian men are lumped into a “non-underrepresented” category with white men (we’ll say more about that below); Asian women are assigned to a category that includes women of all races. In contrast, the report addresses Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans as distinct categories. Ironically, the chief diversity and inclusion officer of the company remarked about its efforts, “If you do not intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude.”
But excluded from the report was the fact that Asian Americans are the least likely racial group to be promoted into Silicon Valley’s management and executive levels, even though they are the most likely to be hired into high-tech jobs. This was a key finding in a 2017 report we coauthored for the Ascend Foundation (“The Illusion of Asian Success”), analyzing EEOC data on Silicon Valley’s management pipeline.
Across the country, the results are the same. Our analysis of national EEOC workforce data found that Asian American white-collar professionals are the least likely group to be promoted from individual contributor roles into management — less likely than any other race, including blacks and Hispanics. And our analysis found that white professionals are about twice as likely to be promoted into management as their Asian American counterparts.
It is easy to understand why Asian American representation in the workforce may not seem to be an issue. In some key measures, Asian Americans are the most successful U.S. demographic — more highly educated, for example, and with higher median incomes than any other racial group. More significant, Asian Americans are 12% of the professional workforce while making up only 5.6% of the U.S. population. This fact underlies the potential blind spot for many companies: Because Asian Americans are not considered an underrepresented minority, they are given little priority or attention in diversity programs. We have found that in many companies throughout the country, Asian-related programs are geared toward cultural inclusion, not management diversity.
When we were tech executives in Silicon Valley, our corporate responsibility was to grow the business by building a highly skilled and motivated workforce through hiring, developing, and promoting the best talent. The large numbers of Asian Americans in the professional workforce confirm that businesses are finding qualified Asian Americans to hire; however, the disparity between the lower ranks and the executive levels suggests either that leadership potential is disproportionately lacking in Asian Americans or — much more likely — that companies have not done an adequate job of identifying and developing Asian American talent.
These issues aren’t confined to the tech industry. Similar concerns were raised about the legal profession in a 2017 study coauthored by Goodwin Liu, associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Published by the Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the report found that Asian Americans are well-represented in law — they’re more than 10% of the graduates of the top 30 law schools — yet “have the highest attrition rates and lowest ratio of partners to associates among all [racial] groups.”
A similar finding with New York banks was reported in Bloomberg Businessweek last year. As one example, Goldman Sachs reported that 27% of its U.S. professional workforce was Asian American, but only 11% of its U.S. executives and senior managers, and none of its executive officers, were.
The list of industries goes on. The Ascend Foundation, a pan-Asian organization that published our 2017 paper, was established by a group of pan-Asian accounting partners. They had found that while over 20% of the associates in many of the larger accounting firms were Asian American, very few were being promoted to the partner level.
And this is not just a problem in private industry: While Asian Americans were 9.8% of the federal professional workforce in 2016, they are only 4.4% of the workforce at the highest federal level.
Fortunately, some companies have found ways to close the gap.
Several years ago, one global energy company commissioned an internal task force to review the status of women and minorities in its leadership pipeline. Reporting to the executive staff, the task force found insufficient gender and racial diversity in the pipeline, including Asian diversity, and recommended specific actions. With strong CEO and executive support, the company quickly moved to identify potential leaders and significantly increase its spending for leadership training for women and minorities. For its Asian workforce, it partnered with a major business school to integrate culturally specific training into its leadership development program for Asian American managers.
This example provides the key steps that corporations can take to address the Asian glass ceiling.
First, it is necessary to be data-driven and to carefully review the retention and promotion rates of Asian Americans in an analysis of race and gender. Our research suggests that men and women of different races encounter progression barriers at different levels of the management ladder. Our anecdotal experience leads us to believe that it also varies across different parts of the organization (for example, engineering versus marketing versus sales), though we would need specific data to explore that idea.
Second, it is essential to have open, visible, and proactive support from the CEO and the executive team. Without open support, it is difficult to get organizations to shift priorities and budgets to fund and organize new programs. Just as important, without proactive support, institutional inertia can create procedural potholes that can derail new initiatives.
Finally, it is critical to institutionalize Asian American leadership as one of the goals and sustained priorities of the company’s leadership development process, not just as a one-time special diversity project.
These steps would make for a diversity and inclusion report we would love to read.
Acclaimed director Stanley Nelson’s short film, “The Story of Access,” was shown to hundreds of thousands of employees on Tuesday. He talked to Fast Company about his goals and motivations.
Two days after Starbucks experienced a publicity nightmare when a video went viral that showed two black men being arrested in a Philadelphia store when a manager called the police, the company announced that it would shut down its stores on May 29 for racial-bias training. A few weeks later, Starbucks hired filmmaker Stanley Nelson, the founder of Firelight Media and the director of acclaimed documentaries Freedom Riders and The Black Panthers: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, to make a film for its training session.
Three Fortune 500 companies have donated at least $1.6 million to America First Policies, which has been criticized for discriminatory views by staffers.
Three Fortune 500 companies have donated at least $1.6 million to a controversial pro-Trump “dark money” organization that’s been criticized for the racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by some staffers.
The future of retail is looking bright.
So bright that Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects the industry to top $5.5 trillion by 2020!
While in-store and desktop purchases are certainly helping the retail industry boom, the biggest factor for this incredible growth is in your pocket.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
See Also:M&A activity is on the upswing at retail banks2018 could be a record year for store closingsPayPal and Google are deepening their partnership
I started using Philip's Wi-Fi and Alexa-enabled air purifier in my apartment and it's made a huge difference for my allergies
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
PhilipsThe Philips Series 5000i Connected is a professional-grade air purifier for your home. It uses two pre-filters, two true HEPA filters, and two active carbon filters to effectively remove odors, allergens, and gases from the air. By connecting it to the Air Matters app, you can remotely control your device from anywhere. Priced at $665, the Series 5000i Connected isn't cheap, but it makes a world of difference for people with allergies or households with pets — it even greatly reduced my seasonal allergies.
Being outdoors is one of the most enjoyable parts of the spring and summer seasons — if you don't have allergies. Those who do suffer from seasonal allergies at times probably find themselves huddled indoors in an attempt to avoid all the horrible symptoms that come along with it. While that can help, there are plenty of allergens inside your home that can also trigger discomfort or reactions.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
See Also:I no longer have to worry about my Wi-Fi speeds now that I have this blazing-fast $160 routerThis portable air conditioner is surprisingly versatile and very quiet — and I love that it's compatible with Amazon Alexa21 unique and interesting handmade Father’s Day gifts from Etsy
Is your office killing your productivity? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Pete Bacevice, a workplace researcher at the global design firm HLW and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They talk through how to survive in an open office, deploy teams across multiple buildings, and ask for a better workspace.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:
HBR: How to Make Sure People Won’t Hate Your New Open Office Plan by Brandi Pearce and Pamela Hinds — “Despite optimistic assertions about the benefits of open office space, outcomes are mixed. In some cases, open-plan office designs are reported to increase collaboration, employee satisfaction, and communication, but in others these new spaces are criticized for creating distractions, reducing privacy and autonomy, and undermining employee motivation and satisfaction.”
The New Yorker: The Open-Office Trap by Maria Konnikova — “An open environment may even have a negative impact on our health. In a recent study of more than twenty-four hundred employees in Denmark, Jan Pejtersen and his colleagues found that as the number of people working in a single room went up, the number of employees who took sick leave increased apace. Workers in two-person offices took an average of fifty per cent more sick leave than those in single offices, while those who worked in fully open offices were out an average of sixty-two per cent more.”
HBR: 7 Factors of Great Office Design by Peter Bacevice, Liz Burow, and Mat Triebner — “The design and outfitting of workspace is a major capital investment for any organization that can affect a number of business outcomes, including productivity, employee satisfaction, engagement, talent recruitment, and brand impact. Given the myriad ways to design and plan a space, leaders should approach workplace design in a strategic way. Imitating the latest fads start-ups are adopting won’t necessarily get you the results your company desires; asking the right questions — and, above all, listening to employees’ answers — will.”
HBR: Why You Should Rotate Office Seating Assignments — “Interestingly, the change to employees’ physical space seemed to boost performance even more than did another switch the company made (which Lee also studied), from individual incentives to fixed wages. In addition, the effect generated by the relocation was quick—the rise in cross-category deals occurred within a month—and it increased throughout the 80 days postmove.”
A new survey suggests shoppers are ready to move to 100% online for retail purchases.
The majority of shoppers are ready to shop exclusively online, according to the results of digital marketing agency Adtaxi’s 2018 Online Shopping and Technology Trends Survey. The survey took a look at the shopping habits, preferences, and behaviors of American shoppers and found that 67% of respondents said they were ready to shop exclusively online.