Monday, June 22, 2009

What lies beyond Corporate Responsibility

I was reading Jeffery Hollendar's Inspired Protagonist which I've been following for a while now and he was speaking about what's "Beyond Corporate Responsibility". The business world as we knew it a year ago has dramatically shifted. Different values have become apparent as old ways fall away replaced by new understandings and recognition of their inadequacy. There is an urgency to really take care of People and the Planet. They're both hurting. By helping to make a difference in those two areas it becomes Profitable, albeit broadly interpreted as so.

My take on what he was sharing was it's critical to embed corporate responsibility into the DNA of your organization not because it's a trendy idea but it truly offers a path to positively impact your consumers, customers, stakeholders and world at large. He shares examples of the business case for doing so which seem pretty clear and grounded in performance data.

I also believe as he does and others like him it's better to conduct business based on a corporate responsible values driven model with utmost sincerity and a view to the impact on generations to follow. Doing so comforts my anxiety about the kind of world I'm helping to create in my business interactions in architectural design and planning and what legacy I'm leaving behind for my children and theirs to follow.

On Father's Day Barack Obama so eloquently described the importance of setting high expectations as parents for our children by being role models of that excellence. So goes the idea Jeffery discusses in his blog post. We have so much more to do and so far to go with our efforts in corporate responsibility and the idea of doing well by doing good. This goodness is difficult; this thinking of the greater good rather than the needs of the individual. While it's hard, it's also very mature. In a way, maybe that's what he's speaking to. The corporate responsibility movement on one hand is maturing, plateauing even, in transition into something else.

Perhaps as a younger person, I am part of the crew of folks who need to work on their actions and behaviors of goodness and build this philosophy as insperably as possible into the DNA of doing business. We must aspire to better our fathers and mothers, our elders who paved the way in corporate responsibility and social and envrionmental activism. It's a hard act to follow.

In his post, Jeffery describes ten steps to take which provide some very clear strategies to stay on target to serve the needs of the greater good and help mature our business processes and impact on our world. Consider them for your business. They may or may not all resonate with you, but some likely will. If you have others that do, please share with me. I'd like to learn about other approaches.

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