Corporate Culture

Thinking Outside the Big Box Store

Allie Williams, IOM Executive Director, CRA Retailers appealing to consumers through their corporate responsibility programs face an uphill battle. Certainly, they can do this with their policies and practices as responsible corporate citizens. They can be committed to sustainable growth and development, to local sourcing, environmental causes, fair employee relations, reasonable wagers, governance, and their philanthropic efforts. However, consumers tend to shop based on the quality of the product, its price, and its convenience. While consumers may appreciate the company’s values and even want to reward them, at the end of the day consumers are looking for value. These corporate goals and practices need not be distinct.

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Cyber-Security Lessons from Wells Fargo

allie-w Allie Williams, IOM Executive Director, CRA Executive Director's Report - October 2016 After more than 5,000 Wells Fargo employees lost their jobs, and the CEO took both a grilling on Capitol Hill and has since resigned, one question is raised about whether better cyber-security practices could have prevented, or at least detected, the rampant fraud. What lessons we can learn about cyber-security from the Wells Fargo incident? In this case, the company sought to incentivize employees to have customers open more accounts, from which the bank could then generate more user fees, late fees, or low balance fees. More accounts equaled more money for the bank, and employees could receive substantial bonuses from this transaction as well. The incentive program quickly morphed from the simple act of persuading customers to open accounts to employees themselves opening accounts without customer involvement at all—fraud.

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Executive Director’s Report – November 2015

allie-w Allie Williams, IOM Executive Director, CRA Executive Director Report November 2015 I looked up the definition of the word commit recently, and found it rather interesting… 1. carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, crime, or immoral act). "he committed an uncharacteristic error" 2. pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy. "they committed themselves to the project" I think I prefer the second definition, at least of the two given. My definition is a bit different, as it relates to CEOs of major brand corporations, CSR and Sustainability Practitioners, and others living in the corporate responsibility community. In my humble opinion, the best definition I have for commit is promise. A promise to be more cognizant climate change, a promise to be a better steward of the environment, a promise to do my part in reducing my carbon footprint, a promise to be a better leader and employee, a promise to give back to my community and a promise to work with people who share these obligations.

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The Widening Divide to Transforming Business Value

Art Stewart
Managing Director, Strategic Impact Partners

As the reporting sector achieves new milestones in transparency, materiality and integration, other segments of the global responsibility movement struggle amidst the natural tensions created by the missionary zeal of the change agents – and the reflexive resistance of the old-guard establishment who perceives change (to say nothing of transformation) as threatening.

It’s no stretch to recognize some correlation between what characterizes America’s current public policy debates, and the tug of war to fully embrace and assimilate responsible behavior in the journey to a new business paradigm.

Justice, inclusion, equal opportunity, liberty and resourcefulness are only a few of the themes that are playing out in both arenas.

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The Contradictory Nature of Progress

Art Stewart
Managing Director, Strategic Impact Partners

Are things becoming a bit too paradoxical lately, or is it just me?

Many of us in the CR movement are encouraged by developments of late that support a maturing of the practice.

However, we are equally bewildered by contrary indicators that at best suggest we still have a long way to go in C-suite consciousness. Could it be that we have lost our grip on the push to restore public trust and confidence in the integrity of business? Have we abdicated the moral high road in the obligation of business to reconcile the gap created from its past sins?

On the one hand, many market-leading organizations and their C-suite leaders have driven a firm stake in the ground on responsible business practices: From CVS’ ban on selling tobacco products, Burt’s Bees efforts to establish a standard for ‘natural’ food products, and GE’s Ecomagination initiative to improve environmental performance – to the Nestlé Lanka effort to build up domestic dairy production in civil war-torn Sir Lanka, or Microsoft’s “Youth Spark” project that connects hundreds of millions of young people to education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

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Fierce Resolve and 4 Other Organizational Competencies CSR Leaders Need


Kevin Lynch, Ph.D.

Leadership Executive-in-Residence
Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University

What do you – as a leader – need to be good at, in order to really drive your sustainability or CSR agenda?

That’s the question a colleague and I have been pondering as we draft an academic article about the competencies that an organization and its leaders need to properly embed a CSR /Sustainability agenda for the long-term. The hospitality company we studied has over 50,000 employees and locations all around the world.

The conclusions in our article are primarily based upon interviews with a global hospitality company’s chief CSR officer.

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Becoming a “Full-Brain Thinker”: Why Continuing Education is Important in Leadership Development

Kevin Lynch, Ph.D.
Leadership Executive-in-Residence

Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University

I am a left-brain thinker. I love logical, analytical and objective thought processes. It’s probably no surprise that my background is in accounting and finance. Friends and colleagues don’t usually describe me as intuitive, thoughtful or subjective, all right-brain attributes. Yet, is it possible to be a truly effective leader only using one side of your brain?

I believe the answer is no. In today’s world, leaders are required to wear many hats and deal with highly complex issues. Peter Senge, in his book The Fifth Discipline, talks of developing the art of seeing the forest and the trees.

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Strategic Thinking and Change Strategy: Still Relevant?

Art Stewart
Managing Director, Strategic Impact Partners

This post is the second in a multi-part series on some fundamentals regarding leading change. It is edited from a White Paper I authored a few years ago and is offered as a retrospective on how some of our thinking about managing change may, or may not, have evolved.


In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
– Miyamoto Musashi

If we’re going to rethink the process of bringing about change, then it stands to reason that our approach and our attitudes should also be subject to reappraisal. I suggest that includes strategic thinking. Is what we learned about strategy still applicable in today’s organization environment? Do five- and ten-year road maps make sense when discontinuities are an everyday threat?

The concept of strategy itself has become muddled.

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How Your Org Structure Impacts Your Trust Levels

Kevin Lynch, Ph.D.
Leadership Executive-in-Residence
Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University
 
More than 10 years after Enron’s memorable collapse, and five years after the start of the Great Recession, business publications still talk at length about how to restore public trust in corporations. I find it interesting that something that on face value appears so basic is so difficult to achieve. 
 
A recent edition of Corporate Responsibility Magazine offers four strategies for restoring corporate trust. Interestingly, the four strategies are each associated with one of the C-Suite officers. These four strategies include: 
  • CEOs speaking in their own voice (responsibility of the chief marketing officer)
  • Empowering employees to be the company’s biggest champion (responsibility of the chief HR officer)
  • Expanding collaboration amongst industry peers (responsibility of the chief social responsibility officer)
  • Making a business case to investors (responsibility of the chief financial officer)
 
I can’t argue with any of these strategies, however, I think this issue runs deeper.

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5 Ways to Summerize Workplace Philanthropy

Ryan Scott
CEO
Causecast

It’s not just your imagination: summer is getting in the way of getting things done at work. To the tune of a 20 percent drop in workplace productivity, according to a Captivate Network study, with projects taking 13 percent longer to complete and workers becoming a whopping 45 percent more distracted.

Holy guacamole! (Preferably served poolside, with extra chips, thank you). Should we all just surrender to the sunshine and rendezvous back in September?

If only. But how to corral all those wandering minds and keep them focused on work during the lazy days of summer?
Simple: ratchet up the engagement opportunities related to the larger purpose of their work. Now’s the time to get extra creative with your Continue reading →