February 22, 2017 | by Bob Weidner

A Bolder Mission and More Inclusive Vision

The coming transformation at MSCI will embrace the entire industrial metals supply chain, and an innovative agenda for an aggressive, relevant trade association

I feel less comfortable when everybody agrees with me. I probably believe that the worst opinions in my court have been unanimous.  —Antonin Scalia

This month marks the first anniversary of his death, and I could not help but reflect on the wholly unique person and intellect that sat on the U.S. Supreme Court longer than any of his colleagues at the time. Whether you agree with his judicial opinions or not, Antonin Scalia was a remarkable guy and a class act. Always questioning, taking uncommon delight in his colorful dissents, but insisting all the while that even his most acid critiques were absolutely nothing personal.

“I attack ideas, I don't attack people,” he said once. “And some very good people have some very bad ideas.” He might very likely have been thinking of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his liberal nemesis on the bench and a woman who often accompanied him to the opera and who he referred to as “my best buddy.”

Antonin Scalia loved to shake things up. I can only hope as we move further into this year of transformation at MSCI that we respond to the inevitable differences of opinion to come as Scalia would have. Respecting always the very good people who may disagree, while focusing on the facts and rigorous research we have developed that push our 108-year-old trade association into a new way of doing business.

Make no mistake, over the next year we will be shaking things up. And I am all too mindful that new directions, new programs, new goals inevitably create…well…differences of opinion.

Over the last year, we have been reaching out to you in formal interviews, informal talks, and a first-ever rigorous survey of members to discover what you see as the future of our industry and of your MSCI. The responses have been tremendously gratifying, both in numbers and in thoughtfulness. We are most grateful for your keen interest and insights. The result is our unwavering conviction that as the dynamics of the industrial metals supply chain shift, confronting new technology, harsh global and domestic economic realities, and a new administration in Washington, we must manage these disruptive forces, or wither and die.

Our research shows that this has to mean broadening our membership to encompass the entire industrial metals supply chain, end to end. This will magnify our voice on your behalf as we represent the full impact of the metals industry on the modern economy. In Washington and in Ottawa, we intend to advocate for reasoned analysis, and compromise when necessary, rejecting the destructive polarization that has kept public policy paralyzed for the last eight years. By including an increasing range of metals businesses we will be the most broadly representative trade association in the industry and a more powerful political force.

At the same time, our unrelenting focus is to be your go-to resource for strategic, analytical, and educational information that will make your business more muscular and resilient in the face of dramatic change. Our bottom line objective is to push as much metal as possible into the nation’s economy. Our challenge will be to bring together the diverse opinions, ideas and objectives of this inclusive membership to create the most positive agenda possible.

We understand that we will not always achieve unanimity in this endeavor. Looking back on Justice Scalia’s words should only offer us encouragement. The key to success, however, will be for us to embrace the Justice’s attitude toward those who disagree. We will be working to create the most relevant and effective association and industry possible in an atmosphere of collaboration. We must strive always for civility in the face of disruption.

Again, I can’t thank you all enough for your insightful contributions to this process of change. Buckle up. We are in for a stimulating and rewarding ride together.