Summary of “Divided We Lead”

Since we wrote “The New CEO Activists,” published in the January-February 2018 issue of HBR, we’ve seen a growing wave of leaders surging into activist roles.
CEO activism is part of a societal shift that some have called “The politicization of everything.” The ideological polarization in our political system – fueled by social media – has created a highly charged environment in which business leaders are increasingly on the spot to offer their views on complex issues with which they might have little experience.
“CEO activism is just one example of the changing demands of leadership in business, politics, universities, nonprofits, and other key institutions in society.”
His research examines how firms manage environmental issues, occupational safety, and working conditions in their operations and supply chains and how corporate leaders are engaging in CEO activism to influence public policy on environmental and social issues.
The New Imperative to Step In. Regardless of whether CEOs and other organizational leaders feel a responsibility to take a public stance on contentious issues, their companies’ customers, employees, business partners, and investors are being swept along in the societal shift toward greater political polarization.
“CEOs have to realize that Millennials are coming into the organization and expecting the CEO to represent the values of that organization. That’s why every CEO has to be in touch with those values,” he said.
Called “The ringleader of CEO activists,” Benioff pushes other executives to take stands and calls on employees of other firms to encourage their CEOs to speak out.
“Business is the greatest platform for change, and CEOs have an obligation to use their leadership to create that change of the world,” Benioff told us.

The orginal article.