Archive for November, 2010

The Problem(s) With Big Business

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

If you haven’t seen “The Corporation,” you should. This documentary does a great job of highlighting a lot of the problems caused by big business in America.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying I’m against big corporations, capitalism or making a profit. The problem is that a lot of companies ( Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, etc.) focus on profit so single-mindedly that they act with complete disregard for how their actions impact society. This is both a difficult and highly complicated situation – can a company focus on creating shareholder value AND consumer value simultaneously?

So it was a real coincidence that I came across this interview on Influx Insights with Account Planner Ashley Alsup and this quote:

“I think corporate America is much more broken than it realizes. Not because it’s so behind on ideas, because it’s not. The ideas are there, they just can’t get made. Mostly because American corporations are not structured around creating great products and bringing them to marker in a speedy, transparent way. They’re structured around a story told for Wall St. The sheer number of business units, layers and competing roles prohibits real leadership, the ability to make decisions and get things done. But it gives the impression of a mighty ship.

As a result, privately-owned companies are the engines of innovation and ideas because that’s where the purity of purpose is. They tend to produce superior products that come from a personal mission, love and insight. They have a closer relationship with their consumers and tend to tell the truth more often and behave in a transparent and responsible way. If we want to change the larger corporate culture, we have work on both ends of the market. We have to help smaller companies become the biggest threats they can be. And we have to help corporate clients regain the purity of purpose, make good decisions, agree to behave differently. But you can’t have one without the other. Because people rarely change unless they are incentivized to. We have to work together to alter the incentive.”

The key takeaway is that there’s a lot large organizations can learn from smaller ones. The challenge is figuring out how to incorporate small biz behavior within a a large company’s business model.


Read the full interview: “Meet the Makers – Speaker Interview – Ashley Alsup

Ashley Alsup on Twitter

The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply on Fast Company

Categories: BUSINESS
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