Let's be honest—every day we wake up with a different level of energy and patience to think big and manage our corporate citizenship efforts. We each juggle the need to be strategists, issue area experts, catalysts for internal and external action, and practical leaders about what we can accomplish. This process is not easy and requires a lot more than caffeine.But April has arrived—well at least for some of us who are not Boston-based—and while we soak up the vibes and sunshine of spring, we can choose to take a breath of fresh air and set our minds on a dual course: a course that will inspire internal, cross-functional teams to establish a collective vision with goals and near-term milestones that keep us focused on incremental progress. Ultimately, we each seek to have greater social and environmental impact.
This visioning should push us to ask ourselves:
- Is our company being intentional and striving to integrate its citizenship efforts?
- Is our company setting aggressive enough goals for how it can decrease its energy use?
- Is our company challenging itself to align its strongest assets and skills with the social issue(s) that it’s investing in to add greater value?
- Are we trying to find ways to measure, in some way, the human and societal outcomes of our efforts?
The answers to these questions require leaders who not only have tenacity and strong management skills, but also the ability to facilitate conversations that encourage each of us to think long-term, be bold and then honest about the pathway to success.
Here are five tips for how to practice this mindset and not burn out:
- Attend the 2015 Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Conference: 20/20 Vision: Future Business Focus and learn from peers and other industries via real, open, and honest dialogue.
- Try to focus on the uber, human/societal outcomes you want to accomplish. For example: helping more young people enter into a family-supporting career vs. providing a young person with a specific skills-building experience.
- Develop realistic, impact-driven work plans that lead with the strategy and not the tactics.
- Find outside industry inspiration that keeps you connected to the issues that your company is tackling. For example, if you are working on water-related issues, explore art, music, or even kids science fair projects that evolve around the topic. You'll be surprised where you find new ideas.
- Last but not least, have fun! Take your internal corporate citizenship teams to new locations for strategy sessions; bring in outside experts to teach and facilitate a new way of thinking about an issue; and always keep your sense of humor.
See you in Austin!