Leaders Have to Make Tough Choices ... Consistent Leadership?
I read a recent Fast Company article about Apples decision to censor apps that relate to the Dalai Lama in China. Many of you will likely remember that in October of 2009, Apple pullled out of the US Chamber of Commerce because the Chamber had been critical of plans for reducing U.S.greenhouse-gas emissions. Kit Eaton, author of the first article noted that apple has enjoyed a 'rosy-tinted PR glow'. Does this decision change your view of Apple? Are these decisions consistent?
I am not going to use this blog to rant or otherwise pontificate regarding my political views. Those close to me know my conservative viewpoint. What I would like to consider here is how leaders make decisions.
Apples decision regarding pulling out of the U.S. Chamber appears to be consistent with their publicly stated environmental and sustainability policy. Like many other companies, Apple has found that being 'green' can be 'green' (as in, it can make economic sense to use environmental friendly policies. Just look at some of the news in 2009).
Regarding the decision to censor the Dalai Lama, I suspect they made this much like Google, Yahoo , Facebook and others. If you want to do business in China and access this large, and potentially lucrative marketing, you have to dance with Chinese authorities.
Leaders have to make many decisions. Some of these decision are easy, while many are difficult. As a leader, you hope that you make decision that will have a positive long-term impact on stakeholders. There are many economic considerations in decision making, but also ethical and moral factors. Perhaps a long-term view is responsible for the Apple decision regarding China. Arguably, technology has the ability to spread information, knowledge and even economic prosperity. Is accessing the Chinese market worth a compromise? If, in the long-term, the compromise brings more human rights to China, does that make it 'right' in the short-term? I am certain that most people would see this a giving in just to access the market and increase revenues. What do you think?