It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.-Oliver Wendell Holmes
Last night I watched the Oscars for the first time in many years. Not a lot had changed-pretty women and handsome men showing off their best walk and most expensive dress on a red carpet. However, there was one theme that stood out; the importance of advocating for the voice of important stakeholders who may often feel and or be powerless.
In business and in life, we all need to make decisions that benefit our organizations and our homes. As was made abundantly clear last night by Chris Rock and his supporting cast, it is important not to leave out key stakeholders.
For those who missed the Oscars, let me fill you in on this topic. Historically, the number of black actors and actresses nominated for awards was mostly slim. For two years in a row, there were no non-white actors or actresses nominated in any role. Admittedly, I have not kept up with Oscar-worthy movies lately. Nonetheless, it struck me how prominent of a theme this lack of diversity in Hollywood was during last night’s Oscars. It was clear, even through the ongoing humor and skits, that there was a lot of pain. It appears that they felt completely left out of the recognition and honor associated with that golden award.
I have read over many surveys and initiated many focus groups where I heard some of the same pain echoed by customers and employees. They often feel ignored, left behind and not listened to. While I am not an actress, I can understand from my work with customers and employees how these actors and actresses might feel. In a very real sense, they are the customers of the Academy. While they cannot expect to win every award simply because of their race, they should have a reasonable expectation of statistical representation. As this was not the case, many prominent actors boycotted the Oscars.
For organizations, this type of customer apathy can mean increased churn and a huge reduction in revenue. Be sure to remember the important role your customers play in the sustainability of your enterprise. Include them in making key decisions that affect their relationship with your brand. Let them know what a privilege it is to have them as your customers.
Thank you for reading!