Consumers have right to seek trading partner relationships

The lack of corporate partnering with African American consumer communities is of grave concern. Poor management by some corporations discourages in-vestment in communities of color …. The lack of corporate partnering with African American consumer communities is of grave concern. Poor management by some corporations discourages in-vestment in communities of color and defeats the management concept of partnering with stakeholders, which promotes an atmosphere of co-existence and long-term,
symbiotic relationships.

Some companies still have not realized that people are motivated by one question: “What is in this for me?” The greater the personal benefits an individual anticipates or receives, the more motivated that individual would be. The benefits might or might not be tangible. The benefits could be a sense of inclusiveness, a sense of security, a sense of worth or a sense of personal growth and development.

If the only benefits derived from these traditional corporations were some groceries or electrical appliances, then, would the customers be more likely to give their money to a new and more community-friendly entrant into their community? If the answer is yes, would it not be sound management for a manager or corporation to partner with the community to eliminate barriers and to expand opportunity for business and profit?

I am confident that this partnering concept and concern, which encourages investment in communities as a means of improving the quality of life of customersand creating a sense of inclusiveness, will motivate customers to continue their patronage of corporations and will protect corporations’

The mission of business is to make profit. If this is the only intention of business however, I think it is selfish and will lead to the demise of
such corporations in the long run. Business has a social responsibility to the community in which they operate and this commitment must be an intricate part of strategic planning.

President Kennedy was not a corporate/business leader, but his words could serve the corporate world immensely. He said: “Rising tides will raise all boats”. Smart managers, who are strategic planners, use a portion of their resources to invest in the incremental growth and development of their existing and potential customer base. Such investments might not yield instant returns, but the absence of such investments is a negligence that could be considered a prescription for future trouble. Corporate managers should assist their potential customers to acquire canoes, if not boats, so that customers will also rise when the tides rise. If they all are to rise in good times, they will all sit in the mud and either console or encourage one another when the tides can rise no more.

The experiences of the past are always used to chart the future. We sat and watched TV as Los Angeles) burned during the Rodney King riots. The people doing the burning were customers from distressed communities who felt there was nothing in those businesses for them. Had those businesses been partially owned by the rioters or people they could relate to, or had the rioters or people they could relate to been gainfully employed by those businesses, the rioters would have been motivated not to destroy, but to protect those businesses. Their vested interests would have motivated them not to destroy those businesses. Why would people in the community destroy a business that is their community’s partner or a source of their livelihood? Let us do the right thing when we face our “Moments of Truth”.

Malcolm X tells us that when the master’s house got on fire during slavery, the house slave tried rigorously to put it out. What did the field slave do? He prayed for a wind, to exacerbate the situation. There was nothing in the master’s house for the field slave; he was never allowed into the house. There was no motivation for him to fight the fire. Conversely, the house slave lived somewhere in the house. He worked in the house. He was motivativated to fight to save the

November 25, 2002
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