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 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, 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!