Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Practicing socially responsible leadership.

The first step in helping organizations move toward practicing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is for each of us to take more personal responsibility for our own lives, and then demand that our employers do the same.

What are some of the prerequisites for accepting personal responsibility?

- Stop claiming that others have determined what we are today.

- Accept that we alone are responsible for our choices in life and that we alone determine the direction our life takes from now on.

- Admit past mistakes and accept the blame.

- Stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

- Let go of any old anger and get on with our lives.

- Learn to depend solely on ourselves for acceptance, affirmation and approval.

At its core, socially responsible leadership requires that we stand for advancing CSR because it truly matters to us, that it reflects our personal vision. But for our vision to have power, we must make it explicit. This requires going public and telling others that we think it’s important and explaining why we think it’s important. However, before we speak up, we need to become more knowledgeable so we’ll be credible and persuasive in our advocacy. Subsequently, our passion and our drive to action will become the prime message that influences others.

Will Marre says, “The American Dream will only be reclaimed one dream at a time. Only when enough of us stand up for our real dreams of a sustainable future will the entire energy of our culture rise up to transform the world. Only our noble vision will save our future. All we have to do is start right where we are. Today."

Vistage speaker Steven Snyder says, “If you don't know what to do, try this on for size. Ask, is this a problem that needs a solution, or a goal to realize. If you don't know what you want, you must ask your self and listen. The answer can't be logical, it must come through intuition. If you do know what you want, go forward in this fashion. Release the fear that's blocking you and take an action step with passion.”

I believe that when employees are empowered to take their own Personal Social Responsibility seriously, doors are opened. As a result, many of the best green initiatives and social innovations have come from employees in the middle or at the bottom of organizations. The key is training all employees to think and act in ways that add value to both their future, the planet’s future, and to the company’s bottom line. When these goals are aligned, workers harness their strengths, interests and creativity to create real value. When that happens, a culture of innovation thrives and people do amazing things no matter what their circumstances.

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