Organizational change is inevitable in businesses today; the question is how do individuals not only endure but thrive in such an atmosphere? As one of our webinar speakers, Cathy Glover, Director of Community Investment at Suncor, points out, implementing any major organizational change is like “building the car while it is still driving,” – clearly a significant challenge for any individual. The Center recognized this challenge as a common one for members and wanted to highlight two individuals who have learned from a transitional phase firsthand in our most recent webinar, Preparing for organizational change: A professional development guide. Along with Cathy Glover, Rosemary Matzl, Director of Community Relations at Illinois Tool Works, also spoke candidly about her experiences and learning related to corporate change.
In an evolving economy, it is business as usual when you receive a memo announcing a merger, acquisition, or CEO change. While organizational change presents challenges to professionals in all areas of a company, these changes can be particularly challenging when you work in sustainability, corporate responsibility, and community involvement.
For corporate citizenship professionals, such changes can have direct impacts on your grantees, programs, and even philanthropic priorities. The field in general has gained stature, the social and business benefits of your programs are well-known and understood by the current leadership, but will the priorities remain the same? Will you have to off-ramp with a charity that you’ve worked with for years? When a CEO who supported your corporate citizenship efforts decides to take an opportunity elsewhere, or a merger forces two different priority lists to compete, what is a citizenship professional to do?
“There are those who see, those who see when shown, and those who cannot see.”
Much like DaVinci, professionals working in corporate citizenship must be able to see well beyond the possibilities in plain sight today. It is that kind of vision that inspired our 2013 International Corporate Citizenship Conference theme of Designing Opportunity. Leading companies today envision how their corporate citizenship efforts could benefit the business and society in exciting new ways just as DaVinci created so many things for a new world.
Vision for what is possible will fuel the continued evolution of corporate citizenship and its further integration in business. Moving corporate citizenship to the core of how business is conducted will allow companies to generate innovations that provide solutions to social problems that align with firm capabilities and values.
To fully leverage these opportunities requires hard work. The work is not only in the design phase, it is in the execution also. Getting those “who need to be shown” on board and compelling those “who cannot see” requires strategy, finesse, optimism, and unflagging persistence – attributes and skills that are reinforced and advanced in our professional community.
June 5, is World Environment Day, an annual event aimed at increasing worldwide awareness of positive environmental action. This year’s theme focuses on creating awareness of food waste and encourages people to Think-Eat-Save. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, every year 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted. This is equivalent to the amount of food produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has issued a call to action by people from around the globe to do something that will positively affect the environment, whether at home or in the office. World Environment Day is all about working together to take action in support of the Earth, and everyone can make a difference. If you are wondering how you can contribute to this effort here are 10 things you can do today to be a change agent for tomorrow: