This is the first post in a new category called “Leadership and …” which will include research, trends and new ways of thinking that impact organizational leadership.
One of the interesting things in our sector, if you look at media and technology and what we have seen over the last 10 to 20 years, is that there has been an explosion of choice. But people are more and more careful about the companies that they do business with. Jeremy Darroch, in discussion about How to Maintain Your Corporate Reputation in Management Today (UK)
More choices mean more time that needs to be invested in the decision-making process. And that decision-making process has changed. Shoppers are now using filters to help simplify choices of all kinds. There are too many choices to easily manage in our marketplace, and not all of the companies a person may be considering are transparent about ingredients, leadership values, or ethical practices.
Websites that “filter” the information for the consumer are becoming increasingly popular, as a way to narrow the choices down to a manageable number. A great example is the commercial I saw on television last night. A woman is standing in the frozen foods aisle, and as she names what she wants in a pizza (no artificial, chemical ingredients, one that her family will like, etc.), some of the frozen food cases disappear until there is just one left. This is a visual representation of filtering, and more and more consumers want it.
In addition to making sure that items are healthy and affordable, many consumers now have added a level to their filters – “green.” Consumer Reports has even added a website and product reviews for Greener Choices. There is almost a separate “universe” on the web of green companies, with portals for selecting the most socially responsible and ethical companies.
Websites filter and sort companies by different means, so that consumers can make decisions carefully when choosing product and service providers, suppliers and partners. The sites are useful because consumers want to select based on much more information than most companies provide, and want to compare how companies stack up in their areas of concern.
This website, The Good Guide, which is in Beta form, rates foods and products in multiple categories – including the company’s ethical track record, working conditions, environmental responsibility, and the impact of the product on your short-term and long-term health. The site also has user reviews, so that you can find the highest rated product by the most responsible company. There are more filtering sites listed below.
Filters for choosing responsible products and companies
- Ethical Company Organisation (UK)
- Global 100
- Covalence Ethical Rankings
- Social Venture Network
- The Good Guide (Beta)
Some companies are even building the filters that their customers want into their product selection, assuring customers that all of their products are guaranteed to contain no genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) or chemicals, for example. This removes time and stress from the decision-making process for their customers who do not want those ingredients.
As a leader, we are judged by your choices. Choosing to be a responsible company moves our products up in the filters our customers are using. Choosing a responsible company to partner with or buy from or support automatically increases the overall responsibility level of our company and builds customer trust. How does our company stack up when consumers use purchasing filters?
Questions to Ponder:
1. How is our company filtering choices in ways that help and delight customers as they make choices?
2. How can we improve our corporate filters (for selecting products, suppliers, partners, etc.) to incorporate ethical leadership and environmental and community responsibility?
3. How does our company look on the websites that rate corporate responsibility and ethics?
4. What can we change, starting today, in order to improve our ratings?
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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics? 2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner About 7 Lenses Info@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses
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