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We're Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty and Nice. Don't Be on the Wrong Side of History.

December 23, 2013, 12:00 AM

Here is a Christmas story that ends well: Millions of American consumers purchase goods that are made in a poor country. Eventually, the poor country rises up to the level where consumers there can also buy the same goods that they produce. 

However, these rising consumers will not be happy consumers if they remember being treated poorly the way that say, Nike treated workers in the developing world 10-15 years ago. Nike found itself on the wrong side of history, says Matthew Bishopthe US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist.

So what did Nike do? 

In a lesson on Big Think Edge, the only forum on YouTube designed to help you get the skills you need to be successful in a rapidly changing world, Bishop describes how Nike completely turned itself around to become "one of the leaders in working with non-profits to monitor the quality of work in its supply chain and the conditions in which people are working."

So what are the benefits of this? 

Company leaders will certainly sleep better at night knowing they are not running sweatshops, and employees will also be more motivated if they believe in a company's mission. Furthermore, the company will attract better people at all levels. Mission matters. 

Lastly, the company will no longer be shutting down future growth streams in a country where it currently does business. 

In the case of Nike, Bishop says that a company initiative such as "The Girl Effect," which is about promoting the economic empowerment of women in the developing world, is not "just a fig leaf, it’s not just superficial, it’s about something that is actually fundamental now to Nike’s DNA."

Many other companies have followed Nike's lead, recognizing this is the future of business. Otherwise they risk being on the wrong side of history.

Watch the video here:

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More from the Big Idea for Monday, December 23 2013

Mission-Driven Business

What are the advantages of being a mission-driven business? For one thing, a company can attract better employees at all levels. Through its mission, a company can also recruit customers, the sour... Read More…


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