As if you didn’t have enough to think about in trying to lead your business to success, or maybe even survival today, you now have a new area of ââconcern. Should your business weigh in on controversial political issues? How do you react to pressure from employees, customers or activists? If you want to weigh in, how should you choose to use your influence?
If you’ve recently left the planet, you may have missed the controversy over the new electoral rules in Georgia. As soon as the rules were enacted, critics started shouting âvoter suppressionâ and âJim Crowâ. President Biden even called it “Jim Eagle,” a new level of repression.
Major League Baseball swung into action, quickly announcing that the All Star game would be moved from Atlanta to Denver, giving Georgia a loud public slap. The CEOs of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines have piled up, condemning their home state legislature and governor.
Then a funny thing happened. A few people have started to read Georgia’s new rules and compare them to rules in other states. They began looking at census data on state voting in the 2020 election. They began to analyze the impact of the All Star game move.
It turns out that Georgia’s rules are similar to rules in many other states regarding early voting, absentee voting, and voter identification. It turns out that Georgia’s voter ID requirement for mail in votes, supposedly a nefarious removal tool, actually allows the use of a driver’s license number, a free state-provided identification number, the last four digits of your social security number, or a copy. other documents like utility bills to prove it is you.
It also turns out that in the 2020 election, Georgia had 64% of the vote of its black population, compared to 53.1% in Colorado. Georgia also had a higher percentage of black turnout than the New York and Massachusetts liberals. And the reasons given by black and white voters for not voting when interviewed by the Census Bureau were virtually the same, with the top four being forgotten, uninterested, too busy, and disliking the candidates.
CEOs had barely finished stroking their backs when the analysis began to come to the collateral damage of their actions. Atlanta, a city of 51% black, will lose about $ 100 million in All Star gaming revenue, which will now drop to 91% White Denver. It’s a slap. Rasmussen reports that 37% of adults are now less likely to use Coca-Cola products. Delta faces a boycott.
There is a lesson here on facts and opinions. These days, many people get their âfactsâ and opinions from secondary sources, including mainstream media, social media, activist groups, friends and colleagues. When this controversy arose, how many people read the law and compared it to the laws of other states? How many people have looked at readily available data on voting patterns and trends and reasons people give for not voting?
The answer, unfortunately, is pretty darn few. And it’s hard to believe that the CEOs of Coca-Cola and Delta and the Commissioner of Baseball have spent quality time researching this issue. It seems they all reacted to a loud narrative and decided there was a high moral standard without taking the time to get the facts. The result could be detrimental to their brands and the Georgian people they claimed to support.
I’m not somehow suggesting how politically active your company should be. I suggest you research and react to the facts, not the pressures.
Richard Randall is the founder and chairman of the management consulting firm New Level Advisors in Springettsbury Township, York County. Email him at [email protected]