Time to end navel-gazing and for business to lead

The post-election landscape is going to be very different and challenging - but the Earth didn't stop spinning. Business must grasp the opportunity to lead and be genuinely authentic.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, Gage Skidmore.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, Gage Skidmore.

Had enough of the post-election navel-gazing, soul-searching, and post-rationalization? Yeah, me too.

Judging from my social media feeds and conversations with people in the communications sector, I know there was a sense of crushing disappointment the morning after the election that America had eschewed the chance to elect its first female president in favor of Donald J. Trump - results the PR sector certainly wasn’t expecting and neither were the pollsters.

This was especially the case in New York City, where 79% of voters put their cross on the ballot for Hillary Clinton; California, where 61.5% voted Democrat; and Illinois, where 55% opted for the blue side.

The truth is that nobody really knows what’s going to happen under the Trump Presidency, though it’s fair to say it will certainly be different.

And life goes on. I’m old enough to remember President Richard Nixon resigning live on television in August 1974. Nixon thus became the only U.S. President to resign from office, after the Watergate scandal came to light, uncovered by groundbreaking journalism from The Washington Post.

This was in the midst of The Cold War, the global energy crisis, and incredible uncertainty around the world. But the globe didn’t stop spinning and we got through it.

There is undoubtedly apprehension and unpredictability ahead, but just as in the seventies the same will happen this time. We have to have faith in the legislative, executive, and judicial process of the United States.

It is also time for business to take on a genuine leadership role, and not just pay lip service to it. Voters who saw the likes of UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley earning more than $100 million in annual compensation in 2010 and dozens of other CEOs regularly taking home tens of millions of dollars a year struggle to tally that with platitudes about doing good being good business and giving back to communities.

To be credible, the enterprise has to be authentic from top to bottom – starting with executive pay and through all of its communications and marketing.

U.S. voters, like others around the world, have spoken clearly and loudly that they are dissatisfied with the current status quo and demand change – business must take this message on board and lead that push for change.

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