Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.
In a previous column, I advocated for CEOs to speak with this president. I take back what I said based on President Trump’s behavior over the past six months. The breaking point came this weekend in the aftermath of Charlottesville.
Equating neo-Nazis with Americans counter-protesting white supremacy is beneath contempt.
This is a defining moment for CEOs. What do you stand for? How do you communicate with the people who work for you? Better think about it quickly; after today you’re too late.
There’s no time for focus groups or your head communications person to read the tea leaves. You have to go with your gut — it got you to where you are; you need to take stock of what you stand for and communicate.
Perhaps what happened in Charlottesville did not reach your social circle’s attention over the weekend. Clear your calendar for 20 minutes and read up. The president’s base of support is not the sweet spot of whom you are trying to hire — the overwhelming majority of people you are trying to hire are people who did not vote for this president.
That’s why the president hedged his words by condemning the violence “on all sides” in Charlottesville. Your investors, suppliers, employees and those who shape the public will, which in turn shapes the will of the regulators — they are all watching.
You cannot stand next to a neo-Nazi equator without appearing to be a neo-Nazi equator. Not a good look. But it’s not too late. There is a proverb so old that it cannot be attributed: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.