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Demonstrating “Heart” in your Business

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A business with “heart” is a business that has loyal employees AND loyal customers. This combination equals profits and sustainability. So, what is this “heart” and how do you demonstrate this to others? How do people know that you are a heart-based business, so that they will come to you and be loyal to you?

Well, your “heart” is your values; what is most important to you and your business.

How you let people know that you are heart-based is through your Corporate Social Responsibility Plan (CSR).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans are becoming more and more common, as businesses realize the importance of having one. A business can create a CSR plan for many reasons: moral, rational and/or economic (Werther & Chandler, 2011). If you want to have a heart-based business, you will want to create your CSR plan based upon the moral argument. This argument is the reason that is most strongly associated with values and what this article will concentrate on.

The moral argument is best described in the following quote attributed to Peter Drucker:

Profit for a company is like oxygen for a person. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re out of the game. But if you think your life is about breathing, you’re really missing something.”

We all know the dangers of trying to be someone who we are not. In order to be successful people, we need to love ourselves and others. When we know who we are and what our purpose is, we have more confidence to go out into the world and stretch ourselves. We are more approachable and engaging. People want to be around us, because they can feel the connection and energy emanating from our being. We are confident and others are attracted to us.

Your business is no different. We need to love the work we do. Unless the work has meaning, it really doesn’t matter. Your business values must have meaning for the greater society, not just for you. Your business values are what you align yourself with. The values connect you (and others) to the work. Values have value, especially when they are connected to your passions. When we believe in a value strongly enough to want to do something about it, it is a passion. Passion is energy. These passions can increase your profits as employees engage based upon these values. People are drawn to the energy that is emanated because of these meaningful values. People want to be a part of this energy either as employees or as customers. When you engage them from a place of passion, they will be loyal, they will back you and they will forgive you for small indiscretions.

Your CSR plan is how you show the world what your values are. Demonstrating your values through your CSR plan is the best marketing plan you can have. People are watching. The growth of globalization and technology has made information easily available to everyone. People have seen when companies have hurt the environment or taken advantage of vulnerable people. They want to see your values in action. Enron had strong values that anyone or business would back - Respect, Integrity, Excellence, (Lencioni, 2002). The problem with Enron is they didn’t live their values. They put them in place and then ignored them. We saw what happened to them.  

Your Plan

Begin demonstrating “heart” in your business today by following the steps outlined below: 

  1. Define your corporate values

  • Clearly define the “Why” of your business. Who are you helping and what are the values associated with this? What are the values/passions that you hold that attracted you to this business venture in the first place?

  • Define your stakeholders (i.e. shareholders, employees, customers) and discover what their values are - their hopes and dreams for this business.

  • Align your values with there’s

  1. Make a plan (CSR Plan)

  • Clearly define your values/passions in your plan.

  • Describe how your business will demonstrate these passions every day in different ways.

  • Include your stakeholders in deciding how to demonstrate these values.

  • Show your stakeholders how you bring these passions alive through the work that is being accomplished. 

  1. Show leadership and commitment to the plan

    It is one thing to have corporate values, however they must have backing from the very top all the way down. Employees and customers must feel and see the support from the very top of the business. Use the CSR plan to guide everyday operations as well as future planning. Make it a living document endorsed by all.

  1. Hire for your values

    Make them important. Your employees will be attracted to you and stay because of your CSR plan when the corporate values align with their personal values. They will do better work, be more productive and you will have a tremendously successful business. 

  1. Market for you values

    People connect first through the heart and then through the head. If they like you, if they feel a deeper connection, they will want to learn more about you. If they see you as a money grabbing business, they are more likely to go somewhere else. Use your marketing tools to connect with the values of your customers (the “heart).

CSR is about building relationships with customers and attracting and retaining talented staff. A Corporate Social Responsibility plan works equally well with small, medium & large businesses.

An effective Corporate Social Responsibility plan will only work well when it is based on the “heart: of the business. Take the time to discover the core values of your business and put a plan in place to demonstrate them. You will not regret it. 

When you are born your work is placed in your heart” ~Kahlil Gibran~

For assistance in discovering and implementing the values/passions of your stakeholders and business, please contact Katharin Pritchard @ www.KatharinPritchard.com or email Katharin@KatharinPritchard.com

References

Lencioni, P.M. (2002). Make your values mean something, Harvard Business Review, Vol 80:7, July 2002 pp. 113-117
Werther, Jr. WB & Chandler D. (2011). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a global environment. SAGE: California




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