Last night was one of the most important nights in American history. Not just because it was another Presidential election night, but because an African American President with the most global multicultural background in one of the toughest economic climate won the second term. Because now we have record number of women Senators elected. Because among them were the first disabled woman, first openly gay woman and first Asian woman.
I was tweeting during election coverage last night about how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future. Not just because this is the subhead title of my book, but because literally, these 3 major macro trends brought President Obama the re-election victory. Folks, it is The New World Marketplace and there are rapid cultural shifts redefining our mainstream culture. Let’s peek at a few key demographics:
- Romney found strong support among seniors, whites and men–no surprises
- Obama built an 11 ppt advantage among women with 55% support (down from 56 four years ago)
- Obama won 93% of African Americans (down from 95)
- Obama won 73% of Hispanics (up from 69)– with 44 ppt advantage over Romney (who secured 27%, down from 31%)
- Obama won only 39% of whites, down from 43% (this is the lowest white support for Democrats since 1992)
Surprises anyone? Not for me. The GOP’s gain of The New World Marketplace is shamefully low. Although national polling suggests that Romney is trailing Obama by mid-to-high single digits among women—a margin that would rank among the smallest gender gaps in modern presidential history—the GOP has failed to recognize where this nation is going, demographically and culturally.
We all know that the #1 issue in this election was economy, so you might be scratching your head wondering what happened. The pundits vary in opinions, ranging from effective negative campaigning, 47% video, even hurricane Sandy. A few may be mentioning the need to redefine conservatism and reinvention of the Republican party. But I don’t think anyone is clearly defining that these social and cultural issues are economic issues as well.
Let’s face it—the global economy is changing at a lightening speed. The revolutions we have been seeing around the world are not just about economic issues, but also cultural shifts specially in leadership. President Obama’s re-election was clearly not about economic issues, but about social and cultural issues. But it is time to face that these social and cultural shifts drive consumer motivation and behavior, and therefore, business performance. It is time to realize that embracing cultural shifts and TNWMP is an economic imperative.
Facing the fiscal cliff, business leaders must learn about the GOP mistakes and embrace the 3 major macro trends in TNWMP. Businesses must re-invent themselves. Focus on raising revenue and topline instead of tactical cost cutting with short term benefits and long terms risks. The more you cut expenses, the more you jeopardize your top line. Being frustrated doesn’t do it. Study your macro economics, your industry landscape and your own business models. With only 34 more working days left this year, you must start re-evaluating your core target and your strategic plans and priorities for 2013.
You can rise above the fiscal cliff, succeed and prosper in the coming years–or stay frustrated and behind. Your choice. Change is mandatory. Make it meaningful.
The gender gap continues as the hottest topic as both business leaders and women’s movement continue their focus on underrepresentation of women in high government positions, C-suites and corridors of power. You don’t have to like politics or follow partisan conventions to know that the gender gap is at the forefront of political campaigns as well. The empowerment initiatives are overtly celebrated, but little to no honest discussions are taking place in regards to the real social, cultural and business barriers women face.
This is the Republican National Convention week. Judging by the line-up of speakers, it is easy to see how the GOP is going out of their way to show that this is not just the party for the older white men. Last night, Condoleezza Rice and Susana Martinez gave brilliant speeches. Paul Ryan referred to his mom as his role model. Ann Romney saluted moms, specially working moms who have to work a little harder. All clearly designed to bridge the gender gap for the Romney campaign. Again, empowering but no mentions of the real issues and barriers, nor any solutions on how to overcome them.
Ann-Marie Slaughter wrote an amazing, honest article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. I personally wouldn’t use that title, because asking whether women can have it all is a rhetorical question. We never seem to ask if men can have it all, and the question itself is airbrushing reality for both men and women. It’s the same ironic label as “working women” when women represent over 50% of the work force. We don’t seem to ever say “working men.”
Slaughter stepped down from her high power government position so she can spend more time with her sons. She notes reasons such as, inflexible schedules, unrelenting travel and constant pressure to be in the office, conflicts between school schedules and work schedules, and the insistence that work be done in the office. This is not unique to Slaughter. These are the barrier most women face with our current social and business policies, particularly in positions of power. What is more unique is her financial independence and the ability to choose family over career. A choice most working mothers, with the same maternal instincts, do not have….they struggle to simply keep what they already have. This may explain why we have over 50% women representation in low-to-mid-management positions but a very small token in top positions.
Do we want social/business policies and political platforms that keep women at home or a better gender balance in leadership that has proven over and over again to grow the businesses and economy? This brings us up to the honest dialogue about the gender gap.
When given a choice, women seem to make compromises that men are less likely to make. Of course, fathers do not love their children any less than mothers do, but men seem more likely to choose their job at a cost to their family, while women seem more likely to choose their family at a cost to their career. Whether this “choice” is culturally driven or maternal instincts (I think it is both), the reality remains that positions of power provide that choice, while lower positions are occupied by those without one.
Work-life balance is not a women’s issue—it is a social and business issue for all of us. Slaughter offers good solutions for flexible working hours, investment intervals and family-comes-first management culture….shifting the false notion of when, where and how work will be done. I agree and implemented all these suggestions in my previous C-suite position, while generating great financial results. I’d add longer maternity leave, better affordable child-care, and women’s health issues to this list—particularly pertinent for those working mothers, without a choice, who are our future leaders.
Many men, just like women, would like this cultural change too, but we need to redefine what success looks like. Her article sites research proving that organizations with extensive work-family policies have better performance. So, what do you think is stopping politicians, specially female politicians who fight so hard for women’s votes, from addressing these issues? We keep hearing that children are our future, but are they paying any respect to our future when it comes to working mothers?
I don’t have any kids, so this is not personal for me. But I care and believe in policies that support women not to choose between family and career. I can afford my own insurance, so taking away women’s right to have health insurance pay for birth control is not personal for me. But I care and believe in women’s reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and the freedom to “choose.” Professional success with real commitment to family life–with or without kids–is important to everyone. Don’t you think it’s more about country’s social and business policies than women’s lack of ambition, as often repeated by the status quo?
Political campaigns are rightfully centered on job creation and keeping women and men employed. But they are missing a greater point on how to support families when they are employed. A big opportunity in closing the gender gap in leadership, as well as political votes. You see, it’s time to have an honest dialogue about the gender gap.
Last weekend, I saw the new batman movie, The Rise of the Dark Knight. I always liked the super-hero movies, not just to see the latest production magic, but also because the good guys always win and save the world. The recent Aurora massacre and tragedy at this movie made me think through a bifocal lens. Somehow, The Dark Knight Rises survives the darkest night in US movie history. I can’t say that I believe in limiting the filmmaker’s artistic vision of a super-hero story, because one psychopath picked this movie to commit a mass murder. I can’t completely fault good marketers who achieved the second highest midnight opening in history and are trying to change upcoming plans in response to current events. The videogame industry is larger than the movie box office, and movies in general are not as violent as videogames. This speaks to a greater culture of violence, which is a reflection of our society’s mind in general.
But I asked myself why would Warner Brothers, among others, promote “midnight opening” of a PG-13 movie and allow ignorant parents to bring their very small children to a midnight showing of such an adult movie? I questioned why we have more restrictions, screening and licenses for owning a car than owning a gun? I question why companies, such as Apple, can choose whether to sell products to Iranian-American citizens due to economic sanction, but gun control interferes with American freedom.
2012 truly marks the year where marketers can expect which programs will help establish new branding norms, while others protect the status quo, and at the very best, serve as lessons learned.
In a revolutionary world where consumers are increasingly inspired to stand up against Corporations with brand backlashes, aligning with popular entertainment or simply getting behind a charity sponsorship is not enough. The New World Marketplace demands an honest, authentic blend of social movement with social responsibility to lead the social and cultural change.
Consumers are hungry for stories and issues that have real meaning and substance. Brand building is like story telling, and marketers have resources and clout to explore and tell the stories that consumers hold dear and close to their hearts, and bring new ideas to life. Consumers are well aware of companies’ fiduciary responsibilities, but they will purchase from those who connect with higher purpose and shared values–they know the difference between an honest cause and just another way to make profit.
Can we look at unfortunate events and learn something different? Yes. But first, brands must evaluate their Value Proposition for their cause and movement. If it doesn’t create something better and more meaningful for the target market, there won’t be any motivation and engagement. Maybe movie marketers can go beyond editing trailers and re-evaluate their ratings, or at least minimum age for PG-13 attendance—demonstrate that they truly care about what’s right. Maybe Apple, among other companies, can stop racial profiling regardless of government initiatives.
Any good value proposition will have trade-offs as well as benefits. We are living in a bitterly divided political nation these days, and as easy as it is to judge the political candidates on their strategic trade-offs, it is nearly impossible to create a social movement and brand differentiation without them. The Dark Knight is not just a fantasy. We will always have dark and light forces all around us in life. Decide which side of this movement you want to walk on.
Generation Y has come of age with the Harry Potter franchise. While on the surface, it would appear to be just an epic fantasy, to the generation, it means so much more. The themes of standing up for your beliefs, distrust of those in power, equality for all races and genders, as well as overcoming all obstacles through the actions of a few people, are indicative of Gen Y’s mindset. Harry Potter himself is a symbol of this generation, embodying all the characteristics they aspire to.
In my book, The New World Marketplace, I get in to details of the new values and ideological power of the youth culture. With a population estimated at 72 million, making up roughly 26% of the population, Gen Y is the most educated, diverse, tech savvy, optimistic yet disappointed, and soon to be the largest American generation–more than 3 times the size of Gen X. They have greater influence on cultural evolution than previous generation, with unique needs to connect and relate on an individual basis versus trying to fit into a “social norm.”
I explained the concept of “delaying adulthood” in both my book, and also my blog, Do You Really Know 20-somethings? Different studies have shown a range of 5-7 years of delay in reaching the five milestones to adulthood–completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. I just read the most recent data by Pew Research survey that showed 24% of adults 18-34 moved back in with their parents in recent years because of economic conditions. I wondered why my previous research showed 40%–then, I realized that the vast majority of them never moved out in the first place. So here’s the latest numbers of young adults living with parents, according to the March 2012 survey by Pew Research:
- 39% of all young adults
- 53% of 18-24
- 41% of 25-29
- 17% of 30-34
This poses a big marketing twist for companies trying to reach this generation. How should branding messages to these multi-generational households look and feel like? The challenge is that these young adults who moved back in with parents because of economic necessities don’t all have a favorable outlook, although most do. But majority of them contribute to household expenses in one form or another. This changes the picture of parental financial support altogether.
What’s even more interesting is that this generation was raised in an era where the divorce rate was high, brief marriages were the norm and numerous partners was acceptable. While this has been raised as a major issue for many social experts as it relates to commitment, it has also resulted in this generation being very culturally liberal.
Ask yourself if your company is making certain assumptions and stereotypes when it comes to branding messages toward Gen Y. Do those messages contain personal growth, relationships, causes, beliefs, values and a sense of purpose? Gen Y is transforming business and branding norms. Connections, contacts, friends or fans, word of mouth, yelp reviews, and Facebook likes may end up mattering more than just a great Super Bowl Ad.
Have you heard this, or seen this on t-shirts and bumper stickers? It’s true. I’m turning 50 this summer, so I’m inspired to write a blog about what this really means. People flatter me all the time by saying I don’t look my age. But I’m not the only one. Turning 50, for many, have made it possible to live an active, healthy, productive lifestyle. This is a game changer for many businesses that have been stuck with their 18-49 target planning. And here’s why….
In my 2012 trend predictions blog, I noted that with baby boomers staying younger and more fit, expect to see a higher % of ad dollars for them. There is more. Boomers 50+ have unique life stage milestones that provide them with the means to splurge more on bigger-ticket items—changing jobs, starting a new business (yes, thank you very much), children going off to college or getting married, adopting a healthier lifestyle, changing homes, developing new hobbies, discovering new habits, taking more trips, joining the digital/mobile way of living, enrolling in weight loss programs, becoming care givers to parents or even a spouse. This is more than just going through a mid-life crisis of ditching the spouse and buying a motorcycle/sports car, or jumping out of an airplane.
Maybe it’s just about forgetting to get and feel older. For women, in particular, it’s about saying good bye to invisibility and getting traded in for the younger. I think 35 to 60 is where it all comes together for women with elegant maturity, spiritual wisdom and a balanced outlook on inner and outer beauty.
This mid-life transition, once a very exhausting and confusing life stage, is now a midpoint to another adult life that can easily last 30 to 40 years more, thanks to medical science coupled with holistic herbal approach, greener/healthier forms and diet, active lifestyle, and living a more meaningful life in pursue of happiness beyond a paycheck and financial planning. These are rapid cultural shifts with a completely different set of needs and values. Our pop culture, from actresses and TV personalities to business leaders and writers, is already redefining 50.
Companies who understand the dynamics of this new milestone and negate existing stereotypes will be able to intelligently develop products and services that allow this new 50+ target maximize the upside of their lives, and will win in the New World Marketplace.
So to all friends: let’s celebrate the new 50 and start redefining our culture.
PS—My pre-release party and book signing event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18th. Click here for the details.
We celebrated the International Woman’s Day last week. Lately, from revolutions in the Middle East, to polarizing political debates in the US, and online campaigns all over the globe, women are at the forefront of social and cultural change. Yes, women are blooming, and this is a good time to share a bit about our emerging leaders–the Gen Y women.
The Gen Y (aka milllenial) women have a different life path than you can imagine. Levi’s survey in 2010 reported:
- 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal
- 87% define success as being able to shape their own future
- Only 68% say becoming a mom is on their priority list
- 50% say getting married is a priority
- Just 43% ascribe much importance to getting rich
Put differently, half of young women do not see marriage as a priority and one third say the same about becoming a mom. And it is not so much about getting rich as it is about shaping own future.
We all know Gen Y is a wired, digitally connected generation. But did you know women are becoming more active users of digital media than men? According to Neilsen’s digital consumer report, women are:
- 51% of TV viewers
- 53% of online video users
- 54% of social network/blog visitors
- 50% of smartphone owners
These differences are not statistically significant, really. Plus, I neither believe it should be a man’s world nor a woman’s nation. But I am hoping that this type of data sharing will help negate stereotypes and dichotomies that are still out there in media and advertising–even politics. Did you know women control/influence 85% of all major buying decisions? We couldn’t tell by our media coverage and ad campaigns. I’ve always believed the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in this country. And I believe the Gen Y women will change all that…!!!
I’m starting to feel like Farnaz Global is also blooming like this beautiful Spring. Please take a moment to re-visit my web site and check out the new additions. I’ve also updated my Twitter and Facebook Fan Page. Please follow me….I’ll follow you back…!!!
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Spring Equinox, coming up next Tuesday, 3/20. This is also the Persian New Year. So if you see or talk to any Iranian next week, say “Eidet Mobarak” which means happy norooz (new day/year). This is a new day, new year, and The New World Marketplace.
Thank you so much for all your support. I truly appreciate all the warm notes from everyone last week when I introduced my book. But there was a lot of confusion about the release date. To clarify, the official release date is June 5th. That’s how long it takes for the publisher, distribuor, wholesaler and internet sites to all get on the same page. However, my book is available on my web site, as well as my publisher’s site. And you can receive your copy 7-10 days after you place your oder.
The New World Marketplace is here….!!! I am so excited to give you the first opporunity to order your copy before the official release date. Click here and you will be directed to my publisher’s link for my page. We have made both paperback and ebook options available.
It will take another 60-90 days for my book to be released to all distribution channels, such as Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. But you can order your copy today and you will receive yours in 7-10days. I am planning pre-release parties and speaking engagements, so I may end up in your city soon. And in the months ahead, after the official release, I will be traveling all over for book signings, so you can bring your copy in for a personal, heartfelt authograph from me.
It would mean a lot to me if you can forward this to all your friends, family and collegues, and post on your facebook and twitter pages. In our new digital globe, success is defined by what friends say and “like”…..
Look forward to seeing you soon.
We’ve come a long way from Cinderella and Snow White stories. Our pop culture only remembers the beautiful young women being saved by the strong handsome Prince and Hero archetypes. We often forget there was always the powerful, evil force in these children movies who was always a woman too. We can see both these archetypes play out in Halloween costumess: sexy or deadly.
Today, Angelina Jolie is the new James Bond and we even see Helen Mirren handle a gun as a deadly spy. Even the fall 2011 TV lineup is full of intriguing portrayals of women, from NBC’s Prime Suspect to Against the Wall on Lifetime, a channel traditionally portraying women as victims. You don’t have to like Sex and the City or the fashions to appreciate the four female archetypes the characters play. As we see and experience a rise in women’s power and diversify women’s social roles, are we merely replacing gender for the same social roles? Would women do it differently?
Different female archetypes in movies, stories and TV shows represent beliefs and values that enable modern society to understand and appreciate the evolving roles of women. We’ve always had, and still have, Demeter-style nurturers, the Aphrodite-like lovers as well as Artemis huntresses. I view archetypes as powerful forces and energies that operate within us, versus cultures and stereotypes that are forces operating and acting upon us. Culture is a way of life, collective learned behaviors reflecting shared values and beliefs. As history and environment change, culture evolves by adapting to those changes.
Although more than half of prehistorical pieces have been destroyed and lost, there is overwhelming archeological and historical evidence that proves both men and women worshiped the Goddess-Mother. Property was passed through the mother’s lineage. Goddess worship was equated to responsibility, nurture, give and love – rather than domination, destruction, oppression, privilege and fear. Her powers were oneness with nature – humans, animals, plants, water, sky and earth – a popular theme that is emerging in ecological survival in modern times. Why and how we shifted to a Patriarch society and whether there is a correlation between return to the “Mother” values and rise of women is a whole chapter in my book. But the question remains would gender balance in the top 1% change the infrastructure of our social and financial model. I started thinking about the old 70s movie Planet of Apes. Didn’t the Apes do the same thing to humans when the power was shifted? Would any of us do anything different if we were billionaires facing threats of loosing some of the billions that we own?
These are the questions that each of us should be asking ourselves if we truly want to experience a cultural transformation where performance and prosperity meet ethical values in leadership. Power, lust and greed can be very gender neutral. I for one like to believe that women will do it differently. We do have the “natural” capabilities of nurturing and giving. The key is not to loose those qualities in positions of wealth and power. Because that’s easy to do, specially given our history and social model. There is much talk about soft (feminine) versus hard (masculine) powers. I’d like to call it smart, ethical powers that is very androgynous. Think of Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as male role models. Think of Shirin Ebadi and Kavita Ramdas as female activists who integrate aspects of tradition and community to overturn oppression, challenging the very notion of western models of development.
I am working on defining a modern woman archetype, and would love to hear your thoughts.
As much as these two words resemble one another, their social and political meaning are perceived antagonistic. You would think that revolution naturally follows evolution, as actions follow the desires to act. Are they fundamentally the same thing, differing only according to the time of their presence? Are revolutionists the true evolutionists? At what point Evolution turns into Revolution?
Evolution by definition means the change over time and variation causes in one or more inherited traits found in populations and individuals. Socially and culturally, it means the gradual and continuous development in morals, ideas, beliefs and values. The fearful word, Revolution, is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a sudden, short period of time, resulting in either complete change or modification of an existing constitution, culture, economy and socio-political institutions. It implies the sudden change, entailing some sort of catastrophe and pressure from the great masses below. Most speak well of natural progress of evolution in general, until they resent progress in a particular direction that challenges the norms and ideals of wealth, power and comfort of privileged worth preserving.
Seth’s Godin in his blog, “forever recession,” explains two types of recessions: a cyclical one that comes and goes – and a permanent one caused by the rise of productivity eliminating jobs for good – end of an era and start of another – a revolution. The industrial revolution fueled economy by massive factories and efficient assembly lines. The information technology revolution faded the local mass production. The internet squeezed inefficiencies out of many systems eliminating not only many clerical office jobs, but also enabling the move of interchangeable parts and jobs around the globe for “cheaper.” Every revolution destroys the last structure before the new one becomes profitable.
The revolutions we are seeing around the globe are not just about job eliminations for efficiencies. So many people have already shifted gears, training and changing expectations. People of all races, cultures, ages and lifestyles have access to the same information technology…their own factory. You would expect that this revolution will level the playing fields. But it has moved profits generated through efficiencies benefiting a very few, and the wealth of a nation has become sum of its tradable riches. Companies are holding on to the profit, not spending, not hiring. It is fueled when leaders are hell-bent on running each other into the ground instead of running the nation.
I spoke at a panel last week and was surprised of how women are still clinging to the old archetypes and mindsets, discussing “shift” of power, instead of partnership and linking. The social model needs to shift for women, as well as men. State of abundance replacing scarcity. Caring and relating more than just ‘networking.’ Lasting outcomes, not just short-term payoffs. Creating and innovating what makes life better and provide more meaning and authenticity – not just trading power, domination and money. The incoming tide is bearing us onward towards a future radically different from existing conditions.
So at what point evolution turns into revolution? When the tide gets stronger and voices are heard….when more people join and believe in the same values, causes and beliefs… .when the monstrous status quo has failed too many, too deserving, and for too long. Not just because of the rich getting richer, but at the loss of human dignity and sovereignty over one’s own fate to live a good meaningful life. We are the creators of our future. To make this a meaningful revolution, we must ask ourselves which human outcomes we want to evolve rapidly.
We are living in a country with increasing income inequality and politically dividing in a bitter debate. Is the growing wealth gap in America a race to the bottom with wages? Can we blame China or India for this ongoing shrinkage of middle class? Is it a multicultural or immigration issue – or is the American Dream dying? Everyone is frustrated, but what do American leaders need to do?
Let’s start with some sobering facts recently published:
- The top 1% of Americans control nearly a quarter of all the country’s income, the highest since 1928 (The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality.)
- The US ranks #3 among all the advanced economies in income inequality.
- In 2007, the top 10% of American earners pulled in 49.7% of total wages, the highest since 1917.
- The share of middle-income jobs in the United States has fallen from 52% in 1980 to 42% in 2010.
- Middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-income jobs, which now make up 41% of total employment.
- Wages and salaries have fallen from 60% of personal income in 1980 to 51% in 2010.
- On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported the U.S. poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and its highest level since 1993.
- 22-million, or 19% of, people have wages below poverty line. That’s $20k/yr for a family of four.
We can’t blame China or India for this. The low wage jobs are in service sectors not going overseas: healthcare, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment…not just agriculture. Is multiculturalism and immigration growth a part of this? Yes. That’s the labor force who is willing to do the jobs no one else wants to do for less pay and degrading quality. American businesses are heavily dependant on consumption dollars of the less affluent consumers. So cut spending, cut more labor, raise prices….you are only declining your own revenues and market share by increasing hollowness in the middle.
It’s true that the rich got richer, the poor got poorer. Professor G. William Domhoff at University of California reports that although overall income had grown by 27% since 1979, 33% of the gain went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 60% were making less: about 95 cents for each dollar. 20% made $1.02 for each dollar, but top 5% made $1.53 for each 1979 dollar. Norton & Ariely reported in 2010 that about 85% of all wealth is concentrated among 20% of the population, and over 95% of all wealth among 40% of the population. The lowest two quintils (bottom 20% & second-lowest 20%) hold just 0.3% of the wealth.
The reality is that this type of income polarization is leading to retail changes. Proctor & Gamble is adopting an “Hour Glass” marketing strategy, designing and selling products aimed at high-and-low consumers, with not much in the middle. Of course, that is easy to do for a brand that owns at least one product in 98% of US households. Heinz is following P&G, but high end brands like Saks and Mercedes continue with their focus on high end ‘aspirational’ shoppers, they never targeted the middle class to being with. More affluent customers are likely to continue at their consumption levels, but they will not make up any slack caused by declines among less affluent. Marketers must seek new ways to increase product sales among the more affluent, or find successful new offerings for their existing patronage.
There is something to be said about engineering low price products for the low-end consumers, but that’s at the risk of trading down the middle class even more and compromising quality. As long as all operating cost increases are passed on to consumers for the benefit of the top 1% with short term margin focus, there will be no shifts to the disaster we are facing.
We are living in a debt-valued country, and the poor owe more. This is partially reflected in the movie Too Big To Fail on HBO, but we didn’t hear that the bottom 80% of Americans account for 73% of all debt with only 15% of net worth and 7% of all financial wealth (source: Edward N. Wolff, Economist, 2010). The burden of debt will limit the purchase decisions of goods and services….or foregoing purchases altogether.
I think we all can agree that we are still looking at a homogeneous business leadership in majority of the big US companies that can not possibly relate emotionally on how their decisions are impacting customer’s lives, and ultimately their profits long term. They loathe quotas for gender and racial equality because that means they have to forsake their own biases and prejudices. And I am not suggesting to put the money in the hands of the unqualified. But maybe it is time to redefine the qualifications of business leaders.
I always believed that American Dream is far beyond owning a new car or very first home. It is about grabbing life by the bootstraps and lifting up, out, and beyond whatever class, cast, gender, race, role, economic and lifestyle existence that we have or were born into. It is all about the spirit’s deep desire for freedom, self-determination, and self-expressed achievements. Then why can’t we start by having a better representation in Corporate leadership of the society we live in, for better checks and balances. Putting more emphasis on Character than just IQ. Truly understanding the multicultural shared values. Lead by examples, and be the leaders people want to follow. Exchange our short-term EBITDA obsession for the long-term success of our companies…or at least have a better balance. Think profit sharing, and maybe then, and only then, we will gain talents and customers that will help our companies and economy succeed, and keep the American Dream alive!