“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” Benioff noted, quoting management consultant and author Peter Drucker. “I think that today that’s more right than ever. The technology is going to constantly extinguishing itself. But the culture and the values—this is what’s permanent.”
Benioff called on business leaders and politicians everywhere to take steps to make the world a better place. “Business is the greatest platform for change,” Benioff said and pointed to values as the foundation for doing well and good as a company.
"We all need to look at how our values can create value,” he said. “We have to individually access our values or be left behind in a crisis of trust, inequality and humane use...if you adjust your values, you’ll be like a magnet and bring people to you, and that’s love."
Schwab asked Benioff what motivated him to take stands on social issues, such as LGBTQ rights and homelessness, which aren’t traditionally part of a CEO’s purview. “My motivation is my customers and employees. They are motivating me to act,” Benioff said. “We had to act on their behalf. It might appear that I’m so bold or taking these action but I’m actually I’m quite nervous and anxious but I’m doing it on behalf of employees, customers, partners and our communities who have asked me to do something on behalf of them. I take that action and kind of transcend my fear, I notice that they have my back. I recommend for every leader that they listen more deeply.”
Schwab and Benioff also discussed prioritizing saving our oceans, which is one of the themes at this week’s Davos gathering. On Wednesday, Benioff participated in a Davos panel discussion on protecting the oceans. Highlights from the panel and a video replay of the full event are here. Nine other panel discussions in Davos Thursday are addressing the many threats facing our oceans. Follow the sessions here.
Watch the full fireside chat here