The Long View: Why “Maximizing Shareholder Value” Is on Its Way Out

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest online column for Time magazine, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about the growing efforts from a range of individuals and organizations to make “long-term thinking the new normal of business.”

Wartzman’s piece focuses on an event held last week at the Drucker Institute during which 14 people passionate about the issue came together.

“Our agenda,” Wartzman explains, “was threefold: to learn what each other is doing to counter corporate myopia, to see where we might be able to form natural alliances and support each other’s work, and to determine whether our various actions might somehow add up into something much larger. It was this last notion—of sparking a social movement—that seemed to prompt the most excitement.”

In order to “better understand how movements are born,” the group heard from Marshall Ganz, a senior lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who served as a key aide to United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez (a former Peter Drucker consulting client). Ganz is widely credited with forging the grassroots strategy that catapulted Barack Obama into the White House.

“Ganz urged us to begin by determining who cares the most about the perverse effects of corporate short-termism and to then zero in on the ‘dissonance’ they feel—that is, points of tension resolvable only through action,” Wartzman writes.

Those at the forum identified two groups that fit Ganz’s description: graduate students, who want to change the world but then find themselves stuck in traditional business and law classes “that reinforce a short-term mindset,” and corporate executives, who “hate the pressure . . . to focus on short-term financial metrics.”

Wartzman goes on to discuss how those at the forum in Claremont hope to reach these disaffected camps.