I’m often asked what I do for a living. A fair question, to which I should have a succinct and effective response. The world of Corporate Social Responsibility is complex, growing, changing, and is defined by many different people using a wide range of terms.
To say that I am a Corporate Social Responsibility consultant feels at best boring, and at worst vaguely confusing (or vague and confusing!) My usual response is that I help businesses gain competitive advantage, by creating purpose beyond profit, and growing their organisations sustainably and responsibly. But that is rather a mouthful too. So what’s the answer?
The Triple Bottom Line in pictures
Explaining that I encourage businesses to take a triple bottom line approach, rarely elicits a look of deep understanding as the term is still much underutilised in the wider economic sense. In essence, the triple bottom line is a much broader reflection of the outcomes of a business and comprises people, planet, and profit. It means that winning businesses take seriously their responsibilities beyond the profit and loss account. That has to be a good thing for the world doesn’t it?
Like many people I have a visual learning style. I like pictures, and diagrams, and tend to remember information better when presented in that format. So, that’s exactly what I have done. I have created a mind map to illustrate some of the advantages and benefits of incorporating an effective Social Responsibility. Click here to view.
First steps toward the triple bottom line
Winning businesses are genuinely embracing the new economic paradigm and creating shared value throughout their organisations. The first step along the road to more creating purpose beyond profit is to understand the rationale which underpins this socially responsible approach. The most effective results are achieved by businesses which develop their social responsibility strategy with real integrity. It’s a simple model:
- Understand – what does social responsibility mean and why is important to the business and its stakeholders? I’ve illustrated using the mind map above some of the obvious outcomes of integrating an effective Social Responsibility strategy.
- Engage – Do you have strong and genuine relationships with your stakeholders? Effectively engaging those affected by your business operations is fundamentally important to your success.
- Keep SR objectives SMART – when setting any social responsibility goals ensure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – effective and honest communication with your stakeholders will maximise the success of your Social Responsibility strategy.