What Wall Street Can Learn From Distance Runners : A Blog By Chad Tragakis

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What Wall Street Can Learn From Distance Runners : A Blog By Chad Tragakis

Chad Tragakis is a senior vice president in the corporate practice of Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, DC office. He leads Hill & Knowlton’s North American Corporate Responsibility Team, providing counsel in the areas of sustainability, stakeholder outreach,
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The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggersoffer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.  

Monday, September 28, 2009 - 3:49pm



Anyone who has ever run a 10K or 10 mile race (or longer) knows that you can’t start by going all out.  You have to work up to cruising speed.  And you need to leave something in the tank for the last part of the run.  This is seemingly common sense, but for many “running” on Wall Street and within the business community generally, it is a lesson that bears repeating.  Long runs require a sustainable pace.  And if a business or an investment is to enjoy long-term success, it must create sustainable value.

This is the subject of a new report prepared by the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program   – Overcoming Short-termism: A Call for a More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management.

The CFA Institute defines short-termism as: the excessive focus of some corporate leaders, investors, and analysts on short-term earnings guidance, coupled with a lack of attention to the strategy, fundamentals, and conventional approaches to long-term value creation.

That pretty much nails it, but as the Aspen report states, short-termism is not limited to Wall Street.  It pervades the entire web of business – corporate leaders, company boards, investment advisers, providers of capital and even government.  Therefore, the report concludes, meaningful reform will only come from comprehensive, system-wide change. 

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Keywords: Business | Consumers | Economics | Ethics | Finance | The Aspen Institute | Wall Street | policy