Protestor Jack Willis, 26, demonstrates outside a Starbucks on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested two black men who were waiting inside a Center City Starbucks which prompted an apology from the company's CEO.
Mark Makela—Getty Images
By Aaron Pressman and Alan Murray
May 2, 2018

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Good morning. Alan Murray, still in for Adam.

I gave a speech at NYU last night on the changing nature of business leadership. For all of you who didn’t have to endure the 60-minute version, I offer now the 60-second version. Enjoy.

Business leadership is undergoing a profound transformation. Witness: Starbucks closing its stores for bias training; Atlanta-based Delta eliminating discounts for NRA members; North Carolina’s business elite rising up in opposition to a law limiting transgender access to public bathrooms. A decade ago, none of those would have happened.

Why the change? Three reasons: 1) the democratization of information (everyone knows everything); 2) the speed of change (you can’t wait for the C-suite to tell you what to do); and 3) rising expectations, especially among millennials, who look to their employers, and to some extent their goods and services providers, to do good in the world.

How does that change business leadership? Three ways (I have an affinity for triplets): 1) Holding a formal post like CEO no longer means anyone will follow. (As Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker once joked: I’m like a groundskeeper at a cemetery. There are a lot of people under me, but they aren’t paying much attention.) 2) You can’t compartmentalize leadership. An airline CEO has to have a view on gun control; a bank CEO has to have a view on transgender bathrooms. And 3) In today’s world, where social media feeds moral outrage (think Dr. David Dao being dragged off a United airplane), leaders need moral authority to succeed.

The result: a new generation of leaders focused on how their company can be “good,” and how it can address pressing social problems that are being ignored by government. (Notice I made this entire argument without even mentioning Trump?)

Since I’m writing for Data Sheet this week, and not CEO Daily, I should point out that all of this Change-the-World-Don’t-Be-Evil stuff started in the tech sector—even if some players (looking at you, Facebook) have wandered astray. Companies are like people; neither all good or all bad. Still, nice to see the good on the rise.

News below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@timeinc.com

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