Shared Value: from vicious circle to virtuous cycle

Economic Growth Isn't Working

Image by tonyhall via Flickr

Apart from the kudos of being a Harvard Professor, Michael E Porter is much sought after by some of the biggest Corporates on the planet. He “knows” and, in this article, he spells it out.


But is anyone in UK actually listening!?

…diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.

A big part of the problem lies with companies themselves, which remain trapped in an outdated approach to value creation that has emerged over the past few decades. They continue to view value creation narrowly, optimizing short-term financial performance in a bubble while missing the most important customer needs and ignoring the broader influences that determine their longer-term success. How else could companies overlook the well-being of their customers, the depletion of natural resources vital to their businesses, the viability of key suppliers, or the economic distress of the communities in which they produce and sell? How else could companies think that simply shifting activities to locations with ever lower wages was a sustainable “solution” to competitive challenges? Government and civil society have often exacerbated the problem by attempting to address social weaknesses at the expense of business. The presumed trade-offs between economic efficiency and social progress have been institutionalized in decades of policy choices.

Companies must take the lead in bringing business and society back together. The recognition is there among sophisticated business and thought leaders, and promising elements of a new model are emerging. Yet we still lack an overall framework for guiding these efforts, and most companies remain stuck in a “social responsibility” mind-set in which societal issues are at the periphery, not the core.

Creating Shared Value

Insurance broking: What do you do when you’re in a hole?


Easy isn’t it?

Why then does an industry, I care dearly about (sad I know), refuse to do so?

Too many leaders are so immersed in the prevailing culture that they will readily recruit, at great expense, “Development Executives” to go out in a desperate effort to attract the volumes of new business that their budget forecasts dictate. Then get twitchy and irritable even when a “successful” conversion rate (in the current market 2 – 3:10) fails to deliver the results they hoped for.

That’s the way the market is…deal with it! Because you sure as hell can’t change it by sticking to what may have served you well in the past and is pretty similar to what everyone else is doing.

How much would a company pay to recruit an Executive who would add 10% to company earnings? Would you believe them? Read more of this post

It’s Not About You: wisdom for the new [old] culture

It’s not a new message but a timely reminder for those embarking upon a journey in business-life. The “joy” of working and achieving interdependently is still an anachronism to those trapped by the prevailing culture but THEY are the one’s out of step with the natural way of things…and who have brought us to this point of socio-economic collapse!

Extract from an article I did in 2009: INSTITUTION + INDEPENDENCE = RELIANCE (DEPENDENCE)

It is “they” that need to change and by demonstrating what can be achieved by understanding that every system, particularly the most complex varieties, performs better when they work INTERDEPENDENTLY and will deliver benefits far beyond the mere “task in hand”.

Read more of this post

Getting a handle on chaos and complexity

This article, whilst written from a technology perspective, makes some very good points. But the reader needs to apply the simple logic of the factual statements and apply them to the environment in which they operate to actually understand the point. I know that sounds pretty obvious but I just want to make sure that the message isn’t dismissed because you don’t have a direct involvement or responsibility for IT, power plants or aircraft!

Rather than run the risk of insulting anyone’s intelligence any further I will merely point out that a business (system), department, team, division, etc. is part of a “networked environment”. so, “GO FIGURE”!

…in a networked environment, a minor difference in configuration could trigger a downstream failure that’s unpredictable and thus, unpreventable. These types of problems arise in virtually any complex environment (including nuclear power plants and airplanes in flight).

Interestingly, chaotic behavior often arises from very simple relationships. In other words, a complex system that is constructed of simple, deterministic building blocks can nonetheless display chaotic behavior. (Surprisingly, this mathematical conception of chaos was accurately captured in 1945 by the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who described it as, “Something simple yet not understood.”)

via Getting a handle on chaos and complexity.

Savvy Buyers won’t be bullied or buy the BS!

In 2009, when I wrote this piece, the Financial Services industry (as I know it) was still intent upon ignoring or, more accurately, failing to embrace the necessary lessons. Not much has changed!

This WILL prove to be a very costly mistake for some.

To execute a successful change of direction, from PUSH to PULL, is not as simple as it sounds. The environment in which “pull” can be created is very different to that of “push” and it is built by deed and action WITH customers NOT constructed like a “corporate facade”!

For FS, it requires change…

of focus: from REVENUE to CUSTOMER

of culture: from SALES to SERVICE


Savvy customers expect (perhaps demand) TRANSPARENCY! “Social business” requires a brand to live its marketing, be accessible and engage in two-way communication: to build TRUST. Read more of this post