How To Turn The Old School Into Social Leaders!

Gandhi famously encouraged humankind to “be the change, that we wish to see in the world!”

This is no different in the world of business.

Traditionally, success is defined through capitalism – In the words of Jay Z, the numbers don’t lie. But like Jay Z, your motivations for making money, are guided by your motivation for starting in the first place.

The more you create and sell, the more you earn. That is the aim of being in business these days..isn’t it?

Nope!

I would wager that CEOs who still strive for the ‘good ole days’ of money making face a daily dilemma – how do they turn their businesses from market driven sheep to social impacting shepherds?

How do they achieve the balance between healthy balance sheets and healthy social good?

I believe that it starts with what I call a Corporate Social Leadership mindset – a way of thinking that places social impact at the very heart of the business, in a way that encourages an inclusive level of self-leadership.

A way of eliminating hierarchy in its traditional sense and creating a culture of mutual respect, both of every individual and every position. An approach that integrates all stakeholders to have a sense of ownership and a sense of purpose within the strategic growth plans of the business.

Cultiv8 Solutions was founded to help businesses benefit from creating more social impact.

Let me share the ethos behind my 12 Step Corporate Social Leadership process, that we use to help CEOs, entrepreneurs and staff to become a social leaders:

1) Create an inclusive vision of the end game – if you give others a sense of ownership of what success will look and feel like, it actually encourages loyalty, trust and respect.

2) Embrace fear – fear is a state of mind where we act as if the negative has or will occur. But fear also provides an intense understanding of reality, that requires action. Without action, fear gets stronger.

3) Speak an inclusive language – listen to the needs of others and be honest in areas where you don’t understand.

4) Build a flexible plan – Business growth is important, but so is the ability to adapt to future social trends and changes as they arise.

5) Be committed – don’ t just talk the talk, walk the walk!

6) Make the necessary sacrifices – success is not a given. You must do what you have to do to, when you have to do it, or stagnation can occur.

7) Learn the lessons you don’t want to be taught – life is like poker, you have to play the hand you are dealt and be willing to learn harsh lessons along the way. Business is no different.

8) Beware of frenemies – suppliers, partners and other ‘allies’ must share the same values as you and you with them, otherwise the foundations of the relationship will crumble away over time. Trust must be earned.

9) Understand that mentoring comes in many guises – having the right support is crucial, but so is having a gut instinct. Not every avenue taken by others, offers you the same destination, so embrace guidance wisely.

10) Be a sponge – you can learn as much from a child who sees the simplicity in all things, to a sage with years of wisdom and experience. Learn what you can, wherever you can, but remember that knowledge is only potential power until you use it!

11) Celebrate successes – forget the stiff-upper lip attitude! It is ok to celebrate your achievements but do it with a sense of humility.

12) Move on – success is limited to what you last achieved. Once a goal has been meet, start again with the next one.

.The more Social Leaders that we can create in key decision making positions, the more sustainable both business and society becomes!

Till the next time, J

The Missing Ingredient Of A Modern Day CEO

It is fair to say that the world of business has changed!

No longer is it acceptable for a business to strive purely for profit or simply to provide a healthy dividend for shareholders – I think the past credit crunch / recession /aftermath has highlighted that!

In the modern-day world of business, it is both imperative and advantageous to strive for both commercial and social benefit, but CEO’s and Senior Executives don’t have to worry about turning the boardroom into a KUM-BY-YA session, fully loaded with 3 string guitars, marshmallows and the team from Marketing dancing around with flowers in their hair!

The world of Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Impact, Social Investment or whichever term you wish to use has shifted to now being the BUSINESS of business. By working together, an enhanced level of social innovation and impact can be created i.e. the ‘little guy’ can provide the local knowledge, support, agility and access to the right social contacts and community networks; the ‘big guys’ can provide the knowledge and capacity-building resources, that the little guy needs to deliver – it’s a WIN/WIN!!

Isn’t it all great?

The stone cold reality is, that many CEO’s find it difficult to embrace this change in business culture easily.

The missing ingredient…themselves!

Used to being driven by profit margins, reducing costs, provided healthy shareholder dividends, keeping loyal staff etc, many CEOs must now adjust to achieving all the above and more PLUS, ensuring that they increasing their social impact, engaging with diverse stakeholders from strategic levels right down to the shop floor, face instant ridicule via social media when things go bad, which in turn, has an impact on their brand value and much, much more!

So how does the modern CEO cope with this?

The fact of this matter is that CEO’s need to take a step back and review themselves – leadership is as much about following, as well as leading from the front, but often using gut instinct, raw passion and a strong sense of purpose. The modern-day CEO must feel as comfortable in the local church hall or community workshop, as he / she is in the boardroom or conference venue, in order to truly understand what it means to be a Corporate Social Leader!

So how is this possible? Here are my top 5 Ways that a CEO can become more socially focused:

1) Renew the company vision – every great plan, needs constant revision. But every great vision, needs renewal in order to stay adaptable to changes that occur. This is not about creating a new vision, but about making sure the old one is still relevant.

2) Make fear a companion, not an enemy: fear has a way of reaffirming the challenges and hurdles that lie ahead. But fear is simply a state of mind; an expectation of the negative before it happens. The key is to have a strategy in place to deal with the negative, and this can only be achieved if fear is both embraced and welcomed, alongside a mindset of openness and curiosity.

3) Walk the talk: What you say you are, is something that you must both believe and can demonstrate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. End of.

4) Embrace the nappy of change: like fear, change is something that must be embraced otherwise, one runs the risk of missing out on powerful learning and opportunities. But like a nappy, change can also be a little stinky and nasty – but you still have to change that nappy, to protect the person who is wearing it, don’t you???

5) Commit, don’t admit: If you are serious about making a difference, then commit to making a difference. Better still, BE the difference. Admitting mistakes later down the line is too risky for both the business and your sense of leadership – committing to dealing with future mistakes because you are committed to the end result, is much more honourable!

For most CEO’s there needs to be a starting point, to make a change. We offer a free Social Value Metric Report that enables CEO’s to understand the position of their business, based on their investment into socially focused activities, but also help to bring more innovation to this area.

But more importantly, the key starting point is a genuine passion to do more for others!