IDC’s Monthly Best Practice: January 2012
Crafting Social Responsibility for delivering sustainable innovation & growth
The UN Global Compact has brought renewed attention to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and has linked it to: the larger global agenda for environmental sustainability; employment standards; the protection of human rights and the struggle against corruption. Furthermore, a highly influential paper ‘Creating shared value: how to reinvent capitalism – and unleash a wave of innovation and growth’, written by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (January 2011, Harvard Business Review), is prompting businesses to rethink how they both generate profits and how they utilise them. The vital message from Porter and Kramer is that profits which create societal benefits, rather than diminish them, are the means of unleashing the next wave of innovation and growth. These new imperatives are increasingly making CSR part of mainstream business practice. That is, at least, in terms of boardroom attention, specialist teams within organisations, and company ‘responsibility audits’.
However, it has been demonstrated by Prof Ed Schein, Dr Leslie Wilk Braksick and others that what leaders do in terms of their messages, behaviour and what they pay attention to directly influences the behaviour of the people in their workforces. It creates a Workplace Climate within which people make and implement decisions, influencing what people do and don’t do and, as a consequence, building success or failure. If the Climate is positive, i.e. there is clarity of direction, autonomy and empowerment and supportive, concerned management, then high performance and good decision making emerges. If the Climate is negative then poor performance emerges. Hence, it is vital that, if businesses are to successfully Craft Social Responsibility to unleash a new wave of innovation and growth, the messages and behavioural example of their leaders are aligned with their CSR strategies. We know from IDC’s work across businesses in all sectors and, also, public sector organisations that leaders are seldom aware of the critical part their behavioural example plays in driving strategy, including their CSR strategies. Until this is understood and addressed these leaders will not obtain both the profit and growth and the brand respect and the reputational benefits that they can derive from CSR strategies driven by aligned, sustainable, results oriented, leadership behaviour.
As a result, IDC is involved with Glowinkowski International (GIL) and Professor Landman, Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex, and his faculty in launching a new Academy. The Academy of Crafting Social Responsibility will deliver a programme of activities designed to equip organisational leaders with the knowledge and behavioural skills to derive the profit, brand and reputational benefits from CSR and also fully comply with the emerging regulations and mandates concerning human rights and welfare, and environmental and ecological protection. It will offer bespoke consultancy support to organisations in both the private and public sectors and a flagship ‘Crafting Social Responsibility’ Programme. This will be a public programme which can also be delivered internally in organisations and tailored to their specific needs. Delegates who experience the ‘Crafting Social Responsibility’ Programme, or the Academy’s bespoke, expert consultancy services will each have:
1. Articulated the business case for Crafting Social Responsibility for their organisations.
2. Formulated a strategy for delivering Crafting Social Responsibility, including:
- How to assess the long-term benefits of CSR relative to the costs, i.e. CSR ROI;
- How to develop and drive activities to build joint organisational and societal benefits;
- How to move beyond persuasion and demand creation marketing and service to defining the sustainable, long-term needs of their diverse customers, clients or service users;
- The social responsibility influences on company productivity and innovation;
- How to realign their organisation’s financial management with their CSR strategy;
- How to practise transformational leadership to engage their workforces in sustainably Crafting Social Responsibility for the long-term success of their enterprises.
3. Have successfully progressed the implementation of their strategies, including underpinning them with the drivers of behavioural change;
4. Have developed a sustainable strategy for holding and enhancing the gains.
For more information about this new venture please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Ian Dodds, 30 Dec 2011