Understanding the societal drivers behind Britain's Brexit, has made me reflect hard on what our society looks like and where it is going. One of the key factors in the vote to leave was the growing gulf in income and wealth between rich and poor. This is not just a UK problem. Economists and politicians have recognised this problem right across the world.
On the day that she became Prime Minister, Theresa May gave one of the most radical speeches of any past Tory leader. Central to her speech was the idea of creating a fairer society in which income and wealth are shared more equally. Here is an excerpt from her closing remarks.
"The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls we will think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws we will listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes we will prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you".
It is clear that Theresa May has grasped the scale of the problem and these are encouraging words. No doubt she was also motivated by the opportunity to park her tanks on Labour's territory, but for now I am giving her the benefit of the doubt.
It is tempting to park the inequality problem with our politicians and economists and carry on as normal in our business lives. But on further reading, its clear to me that we have a major responsibility in business, to play our part in creating a fairer society. The following is an excellent report by McKinsey detailing the trends, their causes and what we should do. The 'what we should do' includes recommendations for business leaders that I believe every leader and manager should reflect on. It is worth downloading and reading the full report.