Live by the sword, die by the sword. Maybe that’s too extreme when considering pay limits on executive compensation, but America is built on a free enterprise system, and ultimately that same system will help us rise out of this economic morass we are in.
What’s the root issue here? Greed. Our corporate ecosystem has evolved into one that demands profits and efficiencies now. Long-term growth receives lip service; the advent of day trading, easy information access and do-it-now tools have empowered not just our executives to make decisions in the now, but allows all our citizens to act similarly.
Certainly there are long-term thinkers out there. And this recession seems to be re-instilling “classic” American values into the corporate world. Conservatism rules the day. But even that thinking seems misplaced. Is the world expecting to revert back to an “Ozzie and Harriet” or “Happy Days” world? Dad home for dinner, Mom and kids happily living the American dream, surrounded by friendly neighbors and a built-in sense of community?
The world has changed; societal shifts make that vision impractical. Life is still expensive. If one is fortunate enough to remain employed, paying the bills is not much easier, even with dropping prices and lower consumer spending. People are saving out of fear and necessity. For those out of work, the barriers are significantly higher.
So back to the root issue: if the government wants to change the behavior of corporate America and its executive force, it needs to reward fiscally responsible goal-setting, define ethical pursuit of profits, and promote — not dethrone — those executives with the intelligence, resources and ambition to reshape the economy.
The meetings and incentive industry, under fierce attack due to short-sighted moves by AIG and others, represents an ideal place for executives to turn to in order to re-seed the economy. Develop programs that drive intelligent revenue creation, reward innovation and stimulate the economy.
America is not about limits. Rather, it’s about limitless possibilities. Our best executives have the power to explore those possibilities and help America reemerge as an economic leader.