Green Your Horizons – 3 Steps to a Better Business

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!

What is business with heart? 

In today’s business world, a self-centred focus on your own profitability is not enough to be truly successful and to have longevity. 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 Comtemplation Reap Action ILIprogressive 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, attract loyal customers and 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. 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 are transparent and well documented. Corporate philanthropy is as important as profit-making components of any business.

What Steps Can You Take?

1. Integrate your Values

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? If not, this is the place to start! If values 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.

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, Measureable, 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 1% of gross 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 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!

How We’re Making a Difference

It’s our year-end and as part of our “MoreThanGreen“™ program, we are proud to share how our 2016 donations are making a difference this year.

We contribute at least 1% of gross revenues to charities.  Learn more about our efforts by visiting our sustainability page

Our donation to Canadian Athletes Now Fund will benefit two athletes in their bid for the 2016 Olympics.  As a self-proclaimed Olympaholic, I am thrilled to share this information on these two talented people.  I know I’ll be cheering8944 CanFund COL Logo FR FA.ai them on in Rio this summer!

Adam Froese – Field Hockey

From Abbotsford British Columbia, Adam made his National team debut in 2009 and has quickly developed into one of Canada’s top defenders.  He has appeared in over 120 international games including representing Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and most recently the 2015 Pan Am Games where Adam and his teammates won silver.  At the 2015 Pan Am Games Adam scored the 5th goal for Canada in the semi-final shootout which also clinched an Olympic berth for Canada to the Rio 2016 Games.  Rio would mark Adam’s first Olympic Games where the squad is looking for a top performance in 2016.

Magali Harvey – Rugby 7s

From Quebec City, Magali has exploded onto the international scene becoming one of Canada’s top offensive players since making her 7s debut in 2011.  She has also represented Canada in the 15s at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup where she most notably was named the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby Player of the Year after leading her team to a silver medal and finishing the tournament tied for second with 61 points.  At the most recent 2015 Pan Am Games Magali and her teammates won gold in the 7’s and Magali finished tied for first in tournament scoring.  The Canadian Women’s Rugby 7s team has qualified for Rio 2016 where rugby is making its Olympic debut.  They are currently ranked second in the world so are training hard with their sights set on the podium in Rio.

 

Our donation to SoldierOn will help assist them in their aim of supporting ill and injurBanner-1_E-aug-13ed military personnel with a permanent or chronic disability, both still serving and retired, and their families to attain an active and healthy lifestyle. Our donation helps support these personnel in increasing their independence, in developing new skills, in achieving goals and opening the door to other life opportunities. It furnishes an opportunity for them to socialize and explore common interests, and share learning experiences.

 

kidsport logo

Our donation to KidSportbc will help children to become involved in sports when they otherwise wouldn’t be able.  When kids are involved with sport, they learn leadership, teamworkhave , fun grow great friendships and stay healthy.  “So ALL Kids can Play!”  What could be better than that?

 

 

And our donation to the Alzheimer’s Society will help find a cure for this devastating disease that affects adults of all ages.   In fact, I was surprised to learn that more than 70,000 British Columbians have Alzheimer’s disease or alzheimers_bcanother form of dementia. And the numbers are increasing as younger people are being impacted and baby boomers are aging. Every year 15,000 British Columbians are developing dementia.   We are happy to help find a cure and offer education and treatment options to these adults through the Alzheimer’s Society efforts.

 

We want to thank our clients who have supported us in the past fiscal year, so that we could support these worthy causes.

 

I Took the Ice Bucket Challenge

This weekend, I was challenged by my sister living on the East Coast to take the ALS Society’s Ice Bucket Challenge.  She also challenged my niece (her daughter) and my other sister — so we all accepted!

ALS is such a horrible diagnosis.  I have known 2 people with this disease and it was terrible to see and hear of the decline in their health.  Therefore, in addition to taking the challenge, I have also made a $50 donation to the ALS Society as part of my More Than Green (TM) approach.

I have now challenged the following three people to participate

1. Paul Holden, CEO – Burnaby Board of Trade
2. Susan Scott Gabe — Managing Director – Care At Home Services Inc.
3. Maureen McKinnon — CEO – McKinnon & Associates

If you haven’t been challenged yet, you don’t have to wait… I’m happy to challenge you too!

10 Actions to take for Earth Day 2014

With Earth Day 2014 upon us, I thought I would share EarthDay.ca Top Ten Actions to Take to reduce your impact on the environment.  You can download them too.

Beach FootprintMy More Than Green program outlines the many things I do within my business to walk the talk and operate with a Triple Bottom Line approach.  In looking at the 10 Actions, here are some of my results.

1.  Smart Shopping — I no longer buy “silly” things that don’t have a use or things that aren’t going to last – they end up in the land fill too quickly.  This includes office and promotional items.

2.  Simple Savers — I have replaced almost all lights with LED’s.  The remaining few are either fluorescent or halogen (where alternatives aren’t available).  Along with shutting down unnecessary equipment and operating in power saver mode, these changes have  resulted in a decrease of about 20% in my electricity consumption in the past 2 years.

3.  Transportation Alternatives  — I use public transportation to many events in the downtown core or when I have to travel out of town from the airport.  I average about 40 – 50% and I carpool many more times than I travel alone.

4.  Close to Home — I operate Ignite Leadership International™ as a virtual organization. This allows each team member to work from their own home office.  We connect with our clients and with each other via phone, skype or even video conference to limit the trips we have to make.   This approach allows us to work with local and global clients effectively.

5.  Don’t Discard — All old electronics are recycled using approved recycling depots or charitable organizations who follow stringent methods.  All paper is shredded and recycled, as is newspaper, plastics, styrofoam, cardboard.  We also take any hazardous waste items like batteries to the approved drop-off locations.

This highlights just some of our efforts to meet our community and business obligations.  It is always my intention as CEO to make new strides every year.

To further my commitment, Ignite Leadership International™ has taken the Sustainability Pledge through the Burnaby Board of Trade.  Learn more…   I encourage you to do the same!

What actions have you taken to keep Earth the precious resource we have to live and work?  What results have you achieved from your efforts?

Another Goal Achieved

I am thrilled to confirm that our project goal for the 6 young women in Northern Ghana has now hit the 100% mark.  We partnered with Create Change Foundation to help send these women to achieve their goal of getting post secondary education.

 

Screenshot 2013-12-14 19.girls to school project

I’ve Taken the Pledge for Sustainability

I am very pleased to share the recent steps I have taken to improve my efforts to support sustainability within our community.

As a member of the Burnaby Board of Trade, I was encouraged to make an even more public statement about the efforts my business is taking toward this end.  I have always incorporated a “More Than Green” pledge_MemberButton_FAapproach in my business.

Today I joined many other businesses who have joined this initiative by taking the The Pledge for A Sustainable Community .

“The Pledge is a comprehensive online resource with the goal of helping businesses large and small reduce their carbon footprint while at the same time promoting their company and even saving money.” (BBOT.ca)

BBOT also says “It (The Pledge) means demonstrating to the community that your company cares about the environment and wants to reduce its impact. Your commitment can be as simple as turning off the lights, printing double-sided, or composting food waste. Or if you’re already doing something great, tell us about it.”

Although the Burnaby Board of Trade is spearheading this initiative, you don’t have to be in Burnaby to participate.  I encourage you to check out their site for more information and join me and make a Pledge for a Sustainable Community.

 

What Steps are You Taking to be More Than Green(TM)?

October is Power Smart month.  Although this program is promoted by BC Hydro (the provincial utility company) it is a program I believe is important.  It is a reminder that each of us – as individuals, businesses and industries should be taking stock of how we use power in our everyday life.

More Than Green™

A key component of Ignite Leadership International is our More Than Green ™ approach to business.   This program is integrated into everything we do – individually, as a team, as a business and as members of our community. [Read more…]

Girls to School Project – An Update

If you follow my blogs on a frequent basis, you probably know that I have a strong desire to include a ‘give-back’ program in my business.  Giving back is, in my opinion, an important component of any business and their corporate social responsibility (CSR).  Corporate social responsibility offers a business a wonderful opportunity to connect with their community.  Employees and customers are becoming very discerning about which companies they align with.  CSR is one area that I believe should be included in every business, no matter how big or small. [Read more…]

Bad Decision or On-Track?

Today I have heard a lot of discussion on the radio surrounding the Hockey Hall of Fame announcements and the induction of  Pavel Bure – a former Vancouver Canuck.   Pavel Bure was recruited by the Vancouver Canucks just prior to his defection from the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s.  Pavel was known as “The Russian Rocket” and demonstrated his phenomenal skill while wearing the Canucks uniform. (sidebar:  I was thrilled to have watched him live on several occasions).

Pavel wasn’t a typical Canuck in that he wasn’t a major contributor to the community.  In my opinion, the Vancouver Canucks have set a high expectation on their team, and management, and their participation in community and charity efforts.  This can be quite different than other teams who have a lower bar in place.  Add to that, Pavel’s rocky departure from the Canucks.  Two years ago, Vancouver retired the jerseys of three key players in Canucks history and added others to a newly created Ring of Honour.  Pavel was not chosen for either.

At the time, I remember writing a blog post on how honourees were chosen.  Hockey skill,  leadership, community (social) and team contributions were all key factors.  Each of the players chosen unquestionably met each of these criteria.  Roll ahead to today.  Pavel Bure was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  He was arguably one of the best goal scorers of all time, so from that perspective a good inductee choice.  Sportscasters spent the day questioning why Bure hadn’t had his jersey retired or been added to the Ring of Honour.

How does this hockey story apply to you as a business person?
If you have established criteria for a particular role or recognition award that reflects your values, do you ignore some of those values and only focus on one component of the criteria to recognize an employee or co-worker?
I contend that an organization is only truly successful when their values are integrated into every aspect of their business activities.  These values are not just words on a wall, but living and breathing components of every action embraced and demonstrated by all levels of the organization.

I have been working with a client of mine on a project where the work we were doing had to truly integrate the four key values of the organization.  This made our work so interesting and provided a great “bar” to measure our work against.  It added life to what otherwise may not be “alive”.  Over the past year while I have been working on changes within my own business I have become very clear on my own values and they have become strong determinants in deciding what work to take on, who I work with, what I do and what I wish to project to others.

Are you really clear on your own personal values?  Do you know the values of your business (or those of your employer’s business)?  Are these values integrated into every component of the organizations activities, culture and decisions?  If no, why not?

Next Steps
1.  Become very clear on what your personal values are?  Evaluate how these values fit with your employer or business values.
2.  Identify ways to integrate the values of your business/organization into decision making, actions and the overall culture.
3.  Take steps to recognize when values, decisions and actions are all in alignment!  How does that look/feel and what does it mean to you and your team?

So, should Pavel Bure have his jersey retired?  I don’t think so because he didn’t embrace all of the components so important to and reflected in Canucks who embraced their values and culture.

Give Back…Get More!

With the holiday season starting, I decided to look back in my archives and share an older article with you.  In this article, I commented on an article featured in the November 1st, 2009 issue of Inc Magazine .  This article discussed the benefits of pro bono work for businesses and how this form of volunteering has the ability to motivate employees.

[Read more…]

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