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Happy birthday, selfishness. Now go away.

October 16, 2020

By Dan Hammond, Chief Disruption Officer, LIW

Events have a knack of coinciding.

It is 50 years since Milton Friedman wrote his influential article stating that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. It was a license for investors and Directors to think only of themselves.

This birthday coincides with a time when we need to think of others. A pandemic, a climate emergency, a divided society: these all require solutions beyond self-interest.

If you need further evidence of Friedman’s folly, his doctrine actually led to a decline in shareholder value.

Finally, Friedman’s theory has been pronounced dead.

What does this mean for leadership?

Broaden your goals to include not just profit but other elements of the ‘triple bottom line’: social and environmental. Then build a culture that is more ‘we’ than ‘me’.

 

 

 

 

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