How to Avoid a Komen-Planned Parenthood Debacle
The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The recent mess over the cozy relationship of Komen for the Cure, a very respected, non-political organization and politically and morally-charged efforts Planned Parenthood, has significantly challenged both organizations.
Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood has raised eyebrows and Planned Parenthood's lobbying/intimidation clout is also under scrutiny.
Just as your mother admonished you when it came to choosing your "friends," so too must any business leader be on guard for the relationships they garner, especially when the transfer of monies are concerned.This latest tale of strange bedfellows reveals 3 Rules of Leadership: 1. Beware causes and people with whom you associate. While the choice is purely yours, and/or the governing authorities who set policy, there may be repercussions that you'll surely have to deal with long after any news of the association is reported. 2. Beware a whatever it takes attitude. Surely the leadership of Komen saw their cause as primary and funneling monies/garnering lightening-rod relationships, as secondary. Business leaders should put profits first, but only after principles for responsible decision-making, ethical conduct and accountable partnerships of achieving those profits have been established. 3. Strategic moves should be well thought out so apologies aren't necessary. In an almost Netflix-esque consumer pricing scheme model, Komen tripped all over themselves with their off/on funding decisions for Planned Parenthood. The awkwardness of apologizing brings into question both the board governance oversight and the day-to-day decision making competence of the CEO. No doubt, donors are certainly going to challenge where and how their funds are used at Susan B. Komen for the Cure and other charities as a result of this latest blast to the nonprofit world. Was this a case of violating transparency and disclosure of the financial relationship and a kindred spirit of ideology or simply an misstep with an accountability issue? Regardless these three lessons should be heeded no matter what your mission, product, service, or tax status.
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