Corporate CPR Episode 47: Navigating the Culture Wars with Jim Terry

July 6, 2022

On today’s show, we discuss how to best navigate the culture wars in your organization.

Jim Terry is a Strategic Communications Executive with nearly three decades of experience working in the state, local, and federal politics – including serving as the Political Director for the US Presidential campaign. A veteran of Capitol Hill, Jim has a special knack for helping businesses and organizations navigate the turbulence at the intersection of business and politics. From taxes to the culture wars, Jim has a unique approach to communicating in today’s outrage-driven environment, including the 5 opportunities most businesses are missing. Jim has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and countless talk radio show across the country and has testified before Congress on multiple occasions.

Key Takeaways:

When did companies becoming more embedded in the social world?

The social media environment has really contributed. Also significant is the role that college campuses have played. Issues are often presented and viewed through a moral lens. The differing opinions are viewed as evil, rather than different or wrong. Students enter the job world believing companies should fight what is perceived as evil. Social media and Hollywood strengthen this pressure. 

Is it better to have no stance in order to avoid having the “wrong” opinion?

As with most things, context matters. It really depends on your industry, your workforce, your customer base, your size, your market, etc. Be deliberate. How important is the issue to you? Are you willing to risk your brand?

 What advice would you give to companies facing this decision?

  • Be deliberate. Decide whether or not you should be having this conversation. If you do join the conversation, make sure it is in a venue where both viewpoints can be expressed. Social media lends itself to name-calling and shutting down any opposing views.
  • Be informed. Understand the details of your own view and the opposing view.
  • Be prepared. Choose universal values stick to them.

 What if employees are pressuring you to be involved?

Set expectations proactively by policies and standards.

 Why do you think things are becoming more violent?

Individuals in authority aren’t condemning the violence against opposing views. It’s a failure of leadership in politics and in the media. Elections are more likely to be able to make corrections. Media tends to show us the extremes, but most Americans are somewhere near the center of the opposing views.

 Do you think there is danger in being quiet about these issues?

In America, we have a lot of options to be active in the process. Shopping and voting are less visible means of making political choices, but very powerful.

 What are your thoughts about the economic impact of taking an unpopular stance on an issue?

Brand damage can have economic consequences. Another aspect of taking a strong stance on issues as a company is the shift of focus from your product and customer experience. If those suffer, you will absolutely have an economic impact.

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