“ What we need is a team of heroic chief executives willing to
step up and move outside of the comfort zone and take personal risks.
.....We are trying to creat tipping points....The premise is that
chief executives need to drive change in the absence of politicians
doing it right now.....Business that do not embrace issues of
diversity , sustainability and equal rights will struggle to attract
talented young workers..”
Was this a key not speech at the resent LGA annual conference ,
a passionate plea from a newly elected regional mayor or the editorial
in one of the local government magazines? No. The next quote gives the
game away. “ Millennials want to work for companies that stand for
more than making money.” This is the former boss of Unilever saying
capitalism has failed to adapt and needs to be made to worked for
everyone. He believes that unless we address inequality and climate
change a lot more people are going to be dissatisfied, feel not
included or left behind leading to the increase in popularism and
growing schisms in society.
Paul Polman is working with leading industrialist and politicians
to push sustainable development goals, he is also aiming to recruit
500 chief executives from multi national companies who will commit to
getting disability rights on their boards agenda in the next 12
months. Polman is a global player but at a regional level this is
traditional local government territory. This is what we do and could
do more of given the resources and will.
By implication Polman is saying too much of the private sector is
to focused on the short term and obsessed with the bottom line. A
similar charge could be made against local government since few
authorities seem to be able to look beyond balancing the next budget.
How many chief executives would say that embracing diversity was in
there top five priorities or even in their top ten? It would have been
ten years ago pre austerity. I hear council leaders say Climate Change
is the most important issue but then spend most of their time and
energy on other priorities.
So at a local level we to could do with a team of heroic chief
executives willing to take personal risks to embrace diversity,
promote equality and champion climate change initiatives. Perhaps the
Local Government Association could invite Paul Polman to speak at
their next annual conference.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk