LinkedIn Series

Interview, LinkedIn Series

Dan Talks #JUST100 with Jim Cramer on CNBC's Mad Money

Democrats and Republicans agree on something: the behavior they wish to see exhibited by US corporations.

On Tuesday, non-profit JUST Capital released its rankings of America's 100 largest companies based on how "JUST" they are. JUST Capital surveyed tens of thousands of Americans about the behaviors they want to see from companies they buy from, invest in and work for. The results between Democratic and Republican respondents were remarkably consistent.

In a nutshell, Americans believe that American companies put too much emphasis on only one stakeholder: shareholders. They believe that shareholders are important stakeholders, but workers, customers, the environment and communities are even more important. JUST capital used the American people's definition of JUST and collected hard data from a variety of sources to determine how US companies are performing with respect to these criteria.

For more on the JUST 100, watch below. Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money interviewed Dan about the JUST Capital rankings.


To read the rest of Dan's thoughts on the #JUST100, clickthrough to Dan's LinkedIn post

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Recognizing America’s Most Just Companies

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published December 9, 2016. 

Americans want “just” behavior from its companies. Forbes recently published a list of America’s most just companies after extensive survey work and data analysis by JUST Capital.

The inaugural report, the JUST 100 List, shows that Americans want companies to work for all stakeholders. This includes:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Shareholders
  • Communities
  • The Planet

This report fills a gap, offering an easy-to-use reference guide in terms of overall performance, sortable by specific industry and score. Consumers, workers and investors can now access this information quickly and easily. The list is online now and will be featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine's December 20 Impact & Philanthropy issue. 

These companies deserve recognition. Capitalism is a force for good, but can become more so. I’m hopeful that this information will result in action that will make American capitalism even more responsible.

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Consistency is the Key to Quality Improvement in the Digital Age

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published May 12, 2016. 


The digital world, with its real-time customer feedback, the ability for consumers to share their positive and negative experiences with others, and customers with many competitive choices at their fingertips via their cellphones, even while shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store, make quality and customer satisfaction more important than ever.

But improvement in quality and customer satisfaction can only be accomplished with consistency of priority and strategy as opposed to a constantly-changing agenda and “program of the month.” Chaos is the enemy of improvement.

To learn more about consistency’s transformative role in business and learn why quality costs less, please see this round table discussion in Forbes (Quality Shifts From Measurement To Driver Of Innovation).

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

What CEOs and Presidential Candidates can learn from Ancient Greek Philosophers

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published April, 7, 2016. 


Forbes interviewed me about my unexpected recommendation for leadership reading, which was also featured in a new book, The Books that Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and other Remarkable People. My choice was one I read in college (which I still refer to, full of highlighted passages and marginalia), The Republic, by Plato. 

The Republic contains great lessons about business and political leadership.  It’s a very early study on the subject (around 400 BC) about who should lead, and Plato and Socrates also observe that the same qualities that make a person just, and a strong leader, make the organization or state function well.  Women are as capable of ruling or leading as men if they are given the same educational opportunities. To lead a life in pursuit of “the good” (knowledge and truth) is worthwhile in and of itself (vs. to receive rewards on Earth or in an after-life), as only the good and just person can be happy. 

An organization should choose its “best” person (the most virtuous, just and knowledgeable) to be leader. Our founding fathers created our country on some of Plato’s principles, and they practically “drafted” George Washington to be our first President because they viewed him as the “best” person. The idea of open party conventions where the most virtuous, or best, is drafted is an interesting idea whose time may have come again. 

In this post: What CEOs And Presidential Candidates Can Learn From Ancient Greek Philosophers | Forbes, April 2016

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Some Minuses, but More Plusses Emerge from our “Always On” Digital Lives

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published March 7, 2016. 


I had the pleasure of sitting down with NPR’s Steve Kraske for 30 minutes to discuss a number of topics I’ve been exploring over the past eighteen months, including how the mobile internet is transforming lifestyles and industries (we discussed advertising and banking as examples). Interview audio available here

The mobile internet improves our economy and the GDP’s of countries around the world, and it’s democratizing education, but this “always on” world also brings with it new concerns in areas such as written and spoken language and threats to our “fast-twitch-wired” teens like cyber-bullying, texting, and cell phone addiction (FOMO).  Early mobile music devices required file compression and unfortunately, lower fidelity, but “missionaries” like Neil Young are bringing high fidelity to mobile music using new technology.

The “internet of things” will usher in the next wireless growth phase, and it will bring many new capabilities and advantages to our lives, especially as we age.  Smart appliances, sensors, mobile medical monitors, robotic personal assistants, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, social media, speech-to-text, and text-to-speech will extend independent life and make our senior years more enjoyable. 

But, all of the data about us being collected creates new privacy and security concerns.  Apple’s position vs. the FBI is timely in that we need to have an open and comprehensive national discussion and establish new laws to deal with the utility vs privacy and security trade-offs emerging as a result of technological advances.

Overall, it’s an exciting time, and in spite of the new issues and problems that come with our new digitally-connected lives, I believe we’re better off, especially if we’re vigilant about and openly discuss the changes our new digital lifestyles entail.  

LinkedIn Series, Corporate Leadership

Is Apple’s Stand on Phone Security Patriotic?

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published February 23, 2016. 


As criminal and terrorist technical methods evolve, the tradeoffs between what it takes to keep us safe versus protecting our civil liberties and privacy bears vigilance. As my concluding quote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal article suggests, patriotic people who love our country and who have the values we hold dear are on both sides of this debate.  

As a former telecom CEO, I’ve been faced with this dilemma.  A CEO has to balance the interests of customers, shareholders, the public at large and the communities served, while upholding the law (which is not always crystal clear).  It’s important that US law be specific and evolve as technologies and criminal tactics do. If we’re to find a“Goldilocks solution” (getting it “just right”), it requires more trust and dialogue between privacy advocates and law enforcement than exists today.

LinkedIn Series, Corporate Leadership

The Kansas City Royals: A Model Team for the Post-Steroid Era?

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published November 6, 2015. 


The Royals roster is a beautiful mosaic.  They’re a team with no superstars, but no weaknesses, on offense or on defense.  In Forbes magazine, I share my view that their incredible turnaround, from baseball’s worst team to its best team, might have more to do with common goals, a strong culture, and life-balance and support off-the-field than their talent. 

In this post: What CEOs Can Learn From The Royals - Kansas City CEO Dan Hesse Explains | Forbes, November 2015

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Pope Francis and Conscience-Driven Capitalism

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published September 24, 2015. 


Pope Francis, in his papal exhortation almost two years ago, denounces capitalism as a “new tyranny” and blames many of the world’s ills, from the plight of the poor to the deteriorating state of the Earth’s environment, on the system and its culture of power and greed.

I’m Roman Catholic and an enthusiastic supporter of Pope Francis. But in a recent interview with Forbes titled A Catholic CEO Urges The Pope To Embrace Capitalism As A Force For Good, I give reasons why Pope Francis should encourage Catholics, and others sharing the Pope’s values, to become capitalists, rather than discourage them from pursuing careers in business. 

In my view, capitalism, or financial freedom, creates a virtuous cycle with freedom of information, political freedom and religious freedom. It’s therefore important that business be taught in Catholic universities to infuse companies with more values-driven leaders.

In all of history, this Pope might have an unprecedented power of the pulpit to encourage consumers to vote with their wallets and to spend their money with ethical, responsible companies. As I point out in the interview, Pope Francis could be instrumental in ushering in a new age of “conscience-driven capitalism.”

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Great Customer Service Costs Less

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published September 10, 2015. 


There’s a widely-held belief that it’s expensive to provide customers with superior service. In my experience, the opposite is true. In fact, Sprint spent $2 billion less per year for customer care when it reached the top of its industry’s overall customer satisfaction rankings than it did when it was at the bottom of the rankings.

Companies owe it to their customers and employees to provide great customer service.  A strong service culture can create a virtuous circle between employees and customers, engaging everyone in the firm in customer service improvement, not only the people on the front lines.

In this brief article entitled Great Customer Service Costs Less running in the current CEO Forum magazine, I discuss the six-point plan that took Sprint from “worst-to-first.”  According to the prestigious American Customer Satisfaction Index, when Sprint reached the #1 spot, Sprint was the only company that they had seen go from last place to first place in its industry, and Sprint was the most improved U.S. company in overall customer satisfaction across all 43 industries studied from 2008-2014.

The six steps Sprint relentlessly followed were to:

  1. Align Compensation and Rewards: Sprint aligned the compensation of every employee in the company around the same metrics, which included customer turnover (churn) and the number of calls to customer care.  
  2. Place the customer experience first on the agenda: The agenda of every Operations Team meeting began with churn and the number of calls to customer care.
  3. Perform root cause analysis: Sprint collected and analyzed data from customer calls to identify the root causes of customer dissatisfaction.
  4. Hold the right organizations and people accountable: The customer care organization is usually not the cause of customer dissatisfaction, but often, inappropriately, they’re held accountable for customer experiences they don’t control.
  5. Assign strong project leaders: If you don’t assign strong people to lead the projects, the organization won’t think customer service is important.
  6. Simplify the business: It is not simple to simplify, but customers crave, and they’ll pay a premium, for simplicity.  Complexity creates more reasons for customers to call care, and complexity makes it more difficult for care reps to solve problems.

If you’re so inclined, please clickthrough to read more on these six steps and key factors in providing great customer service. I invite you to share your ideas on this important subject with me.

Great Customer Service Costs Less CEO Forum, Volume IV, Issue 2, 2015

Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Creative Accounting – The Digital Economy’s Impact on Artists

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published August 23, 2015.


Today’s New York Times magazine includes a thoughtful article, The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t by Steven Johnson. The article examines how the digital economy (I like the term “Gig Business” Johnson used) is changing the way creative people make their livings, whether it be in recording music, writing books or making movies.

This analysis is part of an important, ongoing conversation about the digital economy and its impact on artists and musicians. The business practices of this new economy affect many elements in our lives. I focused on the changes to music in this year’s New York Global Leaders Dialogue keynote and during the National Music Publishers Association 2014 meeting keynote with CTIA CEO Meredith Baker and NMPA CEO David Israelite.

Johnson’s New York Times piece reviews the plusses and the minuses created by the new digital economy with respect to artists, concluding that the impact, overall, is neither good or bad, it simply represents significant change.  The analysis is at a macro-level, though.  Free music isn't free.  There are individuals, and elements of the music industry, like song writers and music publishers, for example, that may be harmed in my view.

Johnson uses revenue data and employment statistics to challenge some widely-held views.  I would expect those with another point of view could use data to reach a different conclusion.  For those of you interested in how the digital economy is impacting the lives and livelihoods of artists, this article is a very worthwhile read.  The arts are so important to our way of life, it's a subject we should care about.

The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t

Steven Johnson - New York Times Magazine – August 23, 2015