Thursday, June 16, 2011
If the American economy produces more CEOs and business leaders like Whole Foods' John Mackey and Starbucks' Howard Schultz, then there is reason to be hopeful about the future of the American economy. If not, we are in serious trouble.
In his recent book Onward, as well as a series of speeches and public appearances, about his decision to return to the helm as CEO in 2008, Howard Schultz preaches the importance of corporate responsibility to the people they serve. Rather than being only focused on stock prices and growth, Schultz knows business leaders need to be "stewards of their community." For, if the people in the community do not earn a living wage with reasonable benefits and generate disposable income, they will not be able to afford to purchase products from, and even invest in, American companies.
Certainly, companies can search the world for capital, forever chasing new sources of wealth. However, the country would benefit from businesses investing in people, rather than seeking short-term gains. American corporate leaders could learn from German businesses who made controlling unemployment a priority in the recent recession. In response, Germany weathered the downturn and returned to productivity and growth far more quickly and effectively than the rest of world, especially America.
Let's hope American leaders learn.