Firms of Endearment

I had the great opportunity to speak to the Golden Isles Investment Group today at The Lodge on St. Simons Island. This is a group of ladies who take investing very seriously. They come from a variety of backgrounds, but work together to make decisions that are best for the group.

Before the talk, I gave the group an assignment to read the book, Firms of Endearment by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth and David Wolfe. My goal was to have a discussion about responsible investing, not to just preach about it.

The premise of the book is that corporations are not only accountable to shareholders, but to all stakeholders. “Stakeholders are part of a complex network of interests that function in a matrix of interdependencies. Each stakeholder tends to thrive best when all stakeholders thrive. No stakeholder group is more important than any other. To see matters otherwise is like saying that the heart is more important than the lungs. Life depends on both being healthy.”

So, they believe that there are five stakeholders that, when given equal treatment, make a company (and an investment) better. The five stakeholders are (using the acronym SPICE):

  • Society
  • Partners
  • Investors
  • Customers
  • Employees
They consider Society to be the ultimate stakeholder.
They use the term ‘concinnity’ when they discuss Partners. It means, “a skillful blending of the parts achieving an elegant harmony.” Collaboration is more profitable than exploitation!
Investors greatly benefit when all five stakeholders are focused on – their examples vastly outperformed the market as a whole.
Happy Customers are good customers. You don’t need to mislead people to sell to them. Foster a sense of love, trust and empathy. Follow Daniel Pink’s concept of High Touch.
And finally, well-paid and trained Employees, who have a sense of purpose and meaning, and who are part of a team are good for the company! This is common sense, folks.
So, we discussed the book today, and had great discussions, feedback and ideas. I wish the ladies of the Golden Isles Investment Group much success in their investing endeavors!
Get your copy of the book and give me your feedback!
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