Businesses struggle today in how to deal with the millennial workforce and yet, millennials are forcing the hands of companies to speak up and speak out on high profile environmental issues and on perceived social injustices.Where government fails to act, millennials are demanding their employer or the company's they do business with, step up to the plate to make an impact beyond their bottom line.
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In the past, the chief executives of America's largest companies hid behind associations to advocate for or against issues to avoid retribution from their employees or customers, Today, however is a different day and our employees and customer are asking our CEO's to speak up and speak out. And investor's are starting to notice.
Social media continues to evolve, but it has become a vital tool to advance the association's mission and agenda bygiving us the ability to start the conversation.
To be effective in its' advocacy efforts, whether it is before Congress or the governor, associations need to be relevant to the conversation and have something meaningful to contribute.
Why are relationships important? Not just between a legislator and an association, but between an association and its members?
Associations need its' members to become more engaged on advocating for or against an issue. Without member support, the association's lobbyist has little standing to advance or oppose an issue.
If speaking up results in public backlash, the business leader should be prepared to deal with the issue and work with their PR and legal team to get in front of it. Whether it is holding a news conference, publishing an op ed or posting a Tweet. Words do matter and they should be communicated carefully.
When the community benefits we all all benefit. That is one of the reasons why voters in the City of Detroit passed a community benefit agreement (CBAs) for projects receiving government funds or tax breaks. partner with a local consultant who is familiar with the people, places, personalities and politics of the region.
In today's economic and political climate, companies need to work hard to gain or build trust, especially if it is a company that impacts the environment. While companies do have politically outspoken CEOs or active corporate social responsibility programs they need to find ways to meaningfully engage the community. This includes understanding the personalities and politics of the issues, familiarizing oneself with the influential community groups, knowing the political leaders in the community and finding ways to build trust and valued relationships to show that your company wants to make a meaningful impact in their community and that you are willing to work with them, no matter what their concerns are. By doing so, you can advance your agenda while respecting local concerns and end up with mutual gains.
It's time to take the politics out of the system and create a process to deal with the challenges Michigan faces. It is time we ask the politicians to lead by stepping aside and allow neutrals to step in to guide the stakeholders seeking resolution
While every community is different, many issues are the same. However, when the issue becomes emotional or even political, finding a solution becomes difficult but not impossible. To help facilitate that process, they need to bring in a neutral third party who is sensitive to the politics of the problem, familiar enough with the people involved, but not connected to anyone so that they can help facilitate ways to bring a resolution forward.
Despite the festive aurora of Halloween we are surrounded by wicked problems. They affect a lot of people and for a company they can disrupt business or even change the industry. To deal with these problems, companies need to be agile and both need to deal with issues quickly and easily before an issue becomes a wicked problem.
Although the UAW has averted a strike, for now, the UAW quickly learned the power and influence of social media.
Public affairs professionals with a solid reputation in the community and one who is familiar with the stakeholders and the issues important to them, can then help develop strategic and meaningful relationships, long before a high profile and often controversial project is announced. That professional can then create a community roadmap to help the project team navigate through the minefields of any project. They will help minimize risk and help anticipate barriers to seeing projects to their completion.
Developers need to rethink how they approach high profile projects in the future and strategic communications, media relations, stakeholder engagement and public affairs should be a major part in every strategy moving forward.
Tips and tricks to working the porch at The Grand Hotel and The Detroit Regional Chambers Mackinac Policy Conference.
Daniel Cherrin, founder of North Coast Strategies, spoke at Wayne State University Urban Public Policy Resolution Conference on stakeholder engagement, "Giving Voice To The Community." This is his presentation on The Third Way -- The Way Forward and how we can take the politics out of the policy making process.