With Earth Month upon us, I wanted to share three steps to creating a bigger impact through your business. I think it is important to recognize that greening your horizons doesn’t mean becoming a ‘tree-hugger’ or anti-establishment. In fact, I believe that incorporating a MoreThanGreen™ approach to your business gives your business heart and will “do-good”. You will have a better business and better customers and more profits to do more good! In fact, the research reinforces these results.
What is business with heart?
In today’s business world, and particularly since the onset of the global pandemic, a self-centered focus on your own profitability is not enough to be truly successful for the long-term. Businesses must remove their blinders to create and maintain a positive impact on their own employees, the community they live and work in, and on the environment.
A for-profit-businesses is traditionally, and continues to be focused on wealth building. In addition, today’s progressive and most successful businesses also now recognize that wealth sharing is a critical facet that cannot be ignored. Giving back to the community and reducing their impact on the environment are a necessity if they want to engage and retain top talent. Add to that treating employees well also makes a difference and can attract loyal customers and help the business build strong relationships with community members.
A business with heart considers all facets on the triple bottom line – people (employees, the community, clients), planet (environmental impact) and profits (shareholders). They strive to create economic value while also creating social or environmental value at the same time. Each factor is important in all decisions and actions. It is important to be transparent and have your efforts and the results you create well documented. Corporate philanthropy is as important as profit-making components of any business.
What Steps Can You Take?
1. Integrate your Values and Purpose
Are you clear on your own personal values? Do your values and those of your organization align with those of your employees / team members? Are employees clear on what the business’ values? Do they know the business’s purpose (or Why you exist)? If not, this is the place to start! If values and your purpose are not clear and in alignment, there will be challenges – a true misfit!
One of my top values is education. This has become an integral focus of my business endeavours, my own professional development and is part of my charitable focus. This alignment creates a strong link between the three and allows me to maintain a strong focus. It also sends a clear message to my team, colleagues and clients of what is important.
My purpose is to inspire business and non-profit leaders to transform their organizations so they thrive, offer great places to work, and foster positive change in the world around them. Each program I deliver is linked to this purpose in addition to helping them to achieve measurable results.
2. Set SMART goals.
Setting goals should be a routine activity for every business, department and leader. As you know, goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Specific). One area where new goals for business can be set are philanthropic goals. Many organizations claim to “do good” but they fail to have clear and measurable goals in this area.. In my business, I have set a goal to donate a minimum of 2% of gross (top-line) sales to charities that align with my values. Learn more on my efforts on my website
Can you measure the impact of your social and environmental efforts? Are your efforts transparent so others can clearly recognize that you do what you say? If not, it is important to establish a method to both measure and report on actions taken and results achieved. Be specific. Rather than state “a portion of profits,” state a specific amount of total revenue ie: 1% of gross sales, or $2.00 of each book. These numbers cannot be manipulated or branded as a “green-wash.”
3. Engage Others
Getting employees at all levels engaged with your business goals and endeavours is a critical component. Are your philanthropic goals resonating with members of your team and with your customers? Are your efforts more than lip service to a cause? How do you demonstrate this commitment? Employees are more motivated to help you to achieve your goals if they are part of the process. Do you support their desire to volunteer for causes important to them?
Many large corporations are now encouraging their employees to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. They support these efforts by allowing time off from work and/or providing financial, marketing or physical resources such as equipment. Millennials and Generation Y’s and Gen Z’s now expect this involvement from employers. Failing to integrate and involve them in social enterprise efforts means they will look elsewhere for employment. If you want to attract and retain top talent, engagement is critical.
Isn’t it time for you to seriously add heart to your business and green your horizons? Your community, the environment and your bottom line will thank you!
Want to Know More?
If you want to learn more about taking steps forward to create more social impact in your business, I have two resources which can help you get started. My coaching programs can also support you in elevating your business above the competition.
Social Impact Blueprint is the most comprehensive step-by-step course to create a thriving social impact organization in the for-profit or not-for-profit sectors. Learn to leverage social impact to position yourself as a leader and 10 X your impact.
5 Simple Business Strategies to SPARK IMPACT & Ignite Change is a report that will guide you on how to lead a financially sustainable, social impact business, align your purpose and values, attract loyal customers and dedicated employees.
If you have further questions on how you can green your horizons, book an Ignition Call and let’s explore your goals.