Vision is dandy, but sustainable company excellence comes from a huge stable of able managers.
September is IFAI Expo month, and this year’s programs, events and exhibits are focused more than ever on making the workmanship surpass the materials—even the amazing materials on the show floor in New Orleans. It’s an education in assembling the entire package, from quality materials and workmanship, to sound and sustainable products and processes, to a talented and productive workforce, insightful marketing, peerless customer service and, especially, the good corporate citizenship that makes a company stand out as a good place to do business. More and more, that matters to customers.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is generally defined as a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders: employees, families, vendors, customers, the community, the country and the planet. It sounds impressive … and maybe expensive … but the days of “you can do good, or you can do well, but you can’t do both” have, thankfully, passed.
Wednesday’s keynote speaker Derreck Kayongo will talk about the beginnings of the Global Soap Project, collecting used soap from hotels and turning it into new bars to combat the disease and health problems he’d seen when visiting refugee camps—and it’s now a leading global health organization. The show floor will host another first for IFAI Expo: Manufacturing for Good, a live demonstration of the making of a duffel bag from start to finish, using equipment and materials donated by exhibitors, with a philanthropic twist. All bags will be donated to Raintree Children & Family Services, a nonprofit organization that assists at-risk children and youth in the greater New Orleans area.
Businesses, just as much as individuals, are now expected to be good citizens. Some years back, in my “Miss Management” blog, I adapted Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” to reflect changing business behavior tenets:
First Law: a business may not injure a society, or through inaction, allow a society to come to harm.
Second Law: a business must obey all the laws of a society, except where such obedience would conflict with the First Law.
Third Law: a business must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Size doesn’t matter. Thoughtful stewardship and implementation of resources—including your most important resources, your employees—makes any company noteworthy to your customers and community—and to your editors. Track us down at Expo, e-mail us or call us and tell us what makes you stand out as a good business as well as a successful business.
Three laws may be enough, but we need all the stories we can find. There’s an entire industry out there waiting for good ideas.