A Brunswick Insight survey points to a focus on customers as the primary key to exceptional business. Robert Moran and Noah Kristula-Green report.
When a company sets its strategy, who comes first? Most contemporary discussion suggests executives should either 1) put shareholders first or 2) balance the needs of all stakeholders. The Business Roundtable, a group of leaders of major US corporations, recently shifted toward full-spectrum stakeholder value, a move that has added significant heat to this discussion.
Shareholders rightly expect that the managers of their company will increase the firm’s value and deliver a competitive return. But short-term focus on shareholder value and quarterly results can undermine the long-term sustainability of the business and its license to operate. With that in mind, a strong case can be made for stakeholder balance, including a focus on social issues that are aligned with business goals.