Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, makes the case for why it is the right time for U.S. businesses to be investing in people, training, and corporate social responsibility. Rather than waiting to see what the government and the new Obama administration will do to solve the economic crisis, he suggests that if business leaders rise to the occasion, American business can play a critical role in turning things around and delivering future prosperity, sustainable economic stability and security.
Schultz points out that in this challenging environment, many business leaders stop leading and become fixated on short term thinking, yet it is longer-term investments and thinking that will fuel innovation:
Now is a time to be bold. Now is a time to invest, truly and authentically, in our people, in our corporate responsibility and in our communities. The argument–and opportunity–for companies to do this has never been more compelling. A recent opinion piece by former Vice President Al Gore Jr. and David Blood makes this point eloquently. “Sustainability and long-term value creation are closely linked,” they wrote earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal. “Business and markets cannot operate in isolation from society or the environment.”
It’s a good essay to pass around among managers. In a challenging environment, it is easy to have today’s problems suck all the oxygen out of the room, but forward thinkers know that today’s problems are often the spark for tomorrow’s opportunities.