Business and Industry Leaders Speak Out
Much to my surprise, leaders of business and industry have been speaking out. They’ve been leading. They’ve been taking positions that could clearly make them vulnerable to political backlash. And they’re doing it anyway.
I was astonished to catch Jim Cramer’s 7/21/10 interview with Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco.
Mr. DiMicco made a point of saying, “We’re about educating, because we believe that when people are educated properly in leadership roles in Washington, they will eventually do the right things.
“We’re still waiting for ‘eventually’ to happen.”
Did he really say that?
I went back and played it again. No question. Here’s the CEO of one of the largest steel companies in the world skipping all the political fluffy talk and showing spine and character right in front of the TV cameras.
I checked his work. Here’s a link to an article Dan DiMicco released, in collaboration with T. Boone Pickens:
And here’s the link to Nucor’s rich editorial section:
That section not only delves into numerous policy issues, but it also offers policy statements and a wealth of additional resources. Clicking around in one of those sections, I ultimately ended up reading this fantastic piece by former Intel chief Andy Grove:
I had no idea that major CEOs were actively and visibly moving to protect this country and their own best interests. I mean that seriously.
I had thought everybody was just laying low, but I have since found others. Mr. DiMicco was just the first major CEO to really catch my attention.
If you are aware of other pro-business U.S. patriots, please let me know. I’m not looking for extreme cases. I’m just looking for solid pro-business leaders with character. You’ve heard that from me before.
These people have a lot to lose by visibly taking positions on public policy. The fact that they are doing it tells me we are at a very critical time. They totally understand that, and they are stepping forward to make some corrections.
This is going to be… active.
Associations And Advocacy
Year after year, I have asked various association members what issues their association is working on, and what the association is actually doing. The answers are usually disappointing.
In fact, I have stood toe-to-toe with prominent association leaders, often stunned by their baffled indifference.
I guess it’s tough enough, building a paid membership, without alienating people over political issues.
As a result, I rarely make the effort to look for policy leadership and substantive insights from the associations we all know and love. The core interests of those organizations often revolve around how to do your job better, or how to run your company better. They’re not always so strong when it comes to insights about how to even have a job or how to avoid losing your company.
Not everybody is so quiet.
I was startled to see the very direct positions taken by the American Petroleum Institute
They’ve got a message.
And come to think of it, I’ve also noticed some strength in the Association of American Railroads. That embattled industry still has influence:
Fighting For Your Business
I have my best luck, searching for pro-business efforts, when I check in on associations specifically dedicated to the interests of American business.
The National Federation of Independent Business has been a good resource. You’ll find me quoting them from time to time:
And I was just knocked out when I saw what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been doing. Here’s their homepage:
What first caught my attention was this gutsy open letter, released July 14, 2010 by Thomas Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
To me, the language is strong, but very carefully phrased. Here’s a video of an interview with Mr. Donohue two days earlier:
If you believe that employers are an important part of job creation, take heart.
There are companies everywhere taking stronger and more vocal positions. Associations are directly joining with lawmakers to discuss what we need to do now.
This is no time to be timid. And from the evidence, business and industry leaders around the country are making themselves heard. Their message is direct, civil, and unmistakable.
Job Seekers, I consider this very good news.