Danaher : Over-quoting the CEO

A US conglomerate relies too much on bland quotations from its chief executive

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The feature

The words of Tom Joyce, president and chief executive of Danaher, are featured unusually frequently across the company’s corporate web estate.

On the ‘Danaher Story’ page, Mr Joyce says: ‘I see our future as a bright one. We have a terrific team of hard-working, dedicated associates around the world. We have exciting new products coming out every day providing customers with new and innovative solutions to their daily work.’ To jobseekers on the careers microsite, Mr Joyce declares (again), ‘I see our future as a bright one…’

A pull quote from Mr Joyce on the investors landing page says, ‘We Compete for Shareholders is one of the Core Values we live by at Danaher, and we strive to deliver meaningful and long-term shareholder value.’

He is quoted in his own biography on the site: ‘We’ve always believed that the best team wins. But we’ve learned that the best team is also the most engaged team. The best, most engaged team is deeply committed to its organization’s purpose, its reason for being.’

The takeaway

If you let senior managers dictate what is on a company’s website, it will be very dull, as the bland pronouncements from Danaher’s CEO demonstrate.

We think digital managers should be given the authority to decide what – and more importantly, what does not – go on the corporate site. However, we know that in the real world, not many digital managers have the influence to say an outright ‘no’ to their CEO. Only a lucky few would have enough authority to say to Mr Joyce, ‘your words are far too boring to be published’.

The most effective digital managers use persuasion to get their way. For example, the people that run Danaher’s site might reasonably argue that quoting Mr Joyce so much undermines the company’s public commitment to ‘diversity and inclusion’; and crowds out the voices of ordinary employees that would look more appealing online.

First published 01 August, 2018
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