Way to go JCPenney! I just saw the CNN interview with Ronald Johnson, JCP’s CEO. He speaks of his response to the group “One Million Moms” and their campaign against Ellen DeGeneres and JCP for choosing her as their spokesperson. Johnson is an example of the kind of courageous leader we need at the helm in today’s organizations. He did a values check and it was simple. He said JCP values integrity and DeGeneres is “probably the highest integrity person that is in America these days.” Simple. She continues to be their spokesperson. It really can be that easy!
Most CEOs still buckle when a controversy involving Diversity hits them. What we need is more bravery and sincere support at the helm. So I praise you for that, Mr. Johnson. But I also have to say that I humbly have a critique for you. You also mention that JCP still operates from the perspective of the founding name of the company from 110 years ago, “The Golden Rule,” and also believes in that philosophy to treat others as you would like to be treated. I respectfully suggest that this may in fact be an ineffective approach. Please consider this: you have different perspectives, needs, values, etc. from those around you and therefore, what may be respectful to you may not be respectful to them. They may actually prefer that you not treat them as you would like to be treated. Consider instead, the Platinum Rule and treat others the way they want to be treated. That approach, matched with your courage to stand behind Diversity will make you even more effective as a leader!!