12 March, 2011

Michael Porter's newest Big Idea

Porter wants to move CSR up a notch and introduce his version of it:

"Opinion is divided on Mr Porter’s big new idea. He thinks “shared value” may have at least as big an impact as his earlier work. Many corporate titans echo his sentiments. The bosses of PepsiCo, Nestlé, Prudential (of Britain) and Petrobras expressed enthusiasm about his arguments at the recent Davos summit. However, Larry Summers, a former American Treasury secretary and a colleague of Mr Porter’s at Harvard, was overheard asking “Do you seriously believe this [expletive unrecorded]?”

Mr Porter is right to worry that capitalism is suffering a crisis of legitimacy. The 2007-08 global economic panic has generated widespread worries that the capitalist system is too short-term and too crisis-prone. He is also right that CSR—the boardroom’s favourite response to this crisis of legitimacy—is a tired label. Two of its loudest corporate proponents, Enron and BP, messed up dramatically. Few people outside the public-relations industry can listen to the CSR mantras of “win-win” and “doing well by doing good” without grimacing."

And a comment by Angus:
Oh dear, another business concept book by another big name!

Celebrities get richer while unknowns with originality and authenticity must run the gauntlet of indifference and outright scorn from the orthodox.

When I lost my sense of glamour in being an executive for a big company, I hadn't saved enough to make a big splash as an entrepreneur. So I wandered around in the wilderness for a long time before I regained the confidence, from a different perspective, with which I entered the corporate world with all the "right" credentials. But then one day it hit me: combining individuality with cooperation is essentially a question of balance -- balance in aim and intent and balance in communication. And of course that means "shared value".

Here's how I found the balances I needed to become a reasonably well-paid and very satisfied executive coach while helping entrepreneurs create value for their customers and clients and keep some of it for themselves. They all had a highly-developed sense of service to customers, so all I have had to add is insight in balancing the following disciplines:

Honesty: The discipline of avoiding either falsehood or deception and of being reciprocally open about intents and evolving intentions

balanced with --

Verbal Integrity: The discipline of being true to one’s word, or promptly honourable in warning of exceptions arising because one was unable to anticipate intervening circumstances

Empathy: The discipline of being actively present to understand the needs, wants and interests of others in one’s client, team, prospect, or community and of eliciting or anticipating accurately the sensitivities likely to be excited by one’s desires to share or hide potentially painful or disturbing possibilities or hypotheses with such people

balanced with --

Accuracy: The discipline of caring enough about the communication of data, observations, facts, hypotheses, findings, questions, assertions, requests, and recommendations both to avoid misdirection and to engender mutual trust that the goals of the team/organization are being respected intelligently

Clarity: The discipline of making sure that a message, either outgoing or incoming, has been understood before concluding that a communication cycle is satisfactorily complete

balanced with --

Courage: The discipline of (1) either asserting or forbearing when seemingly idiotic convention supports the opposite, and (2) either accepting responsibility for a job, project, engagement, contract, person, team, organization, or community, or articulating honestly and accurately one’s reasons for declining to accept it – but only after carefully ascertaining that one is doing neither out of either bravado or egotistical desire for acclamation

Discretion: The discipline of making faithfully practical protection, or properly authorized recognition, of the proper ownership of valuable or sensitive information

balanced with --

Coherence: The discipline of (1) searching for, and either eliminating or explaining, the paradoxes underlying one’s own behaviour, assumptions and aims and (2) gently helping others to do the same.

Will Porter's book help? I doubt there's a chance in a zillion it will.

No comments: