The Coach's Corner

The Business Roundtable Joins Owner-Operated Businesses

October 21st, 2019 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

The August 20, 2019, Wall Street Journal reported that the Business Roundtable, consisting of 188 of the largest corporations in the U.S. including GM and Ford, and led by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, has changed its statement of purpose. For decades, the Business Roundtable adopted the position Milton Friedman took in his 1970 article entitled “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” — or, simply stated, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Yield Higher Profits for Shareholders.

Of the Business Roundtable’s 188 members — Mary Barra and Jim Hackett are part of the group — 181 CEOs endorsed the new proposal, which includes the following statements concerning the responsibilities of businesses:

  1. To deliver value to customers.
  2. To invest in our employees.
  3. To deal fairly and ethically with our suppliers.
  4. To support the communities in which we work.
  5. To generate long-term value for shareholders.

I believe these 181 large global corporations are catching up to the owner-operated companies I’ve worked with for the past five decades. I could provide so many examples of where they’ve already embraced these principles for years; here are just a few:

  1. I had a $10 million auto supplier client who solved a critical air bag problem for a Ford Motor Co. vehicle, avoiding an expensive delayed launch.
  2. There are many stories where owners have helped team members and their families. Recently, I experienced an owner who went above and beyond to console an associate whose young wife died in a tragic auto accident.
  3. Many owner-operated businesses are really good with their suppliers. Some pay them very timely — and, as a result, they  often receive priority treatment.
  4. With regard to community involvement, I retrieved excerpts from comments I made at a 2001 Plante Moran Manufacturing Practice presentation to our team:

“Who are our clients? They are men and women who risk their wealth every day to make stuff. Most of them work quietly behind the scenes, providing jobs and career opportunities for millions. They serve on not-for-profit and school boards, and on city councils. They seem to be the ones driving many charitable fundraisers in our communities.”

So, what’s my point? Simply stated, owner-operated companies have been holistic in their approach to business forever. I’m delighted that Jamie Dimon and the Business Roundtable have joined them.

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The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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