December 15, 2019 The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire

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Transforming a Moral Obligation into a Moral Motivation


To address the major challenges facing the world today, from cleaning the environment to feeding the planet, to fomenting peace, we need all players at the table. Multinational corporations, which are increasingly supplanting the nation-state in terms of global impact, need to be welcomed for their potential. They need to sit alongside public sector representatives, activists, non-profits, investors and consumers. Getting that cornucopia of potential to the table will only be achieved by invitation, not excoriation. 

Too often I hear activists say we need to “shame” corporations and consumers into doing the right thing. But will shame drive participation or merely drive them away? If harangue and censure were effective motivators, sales and marketing divisions across the world would have adopted them as tactics centuries ago. In reality, shame only drives sales in porn. And sometimes the collection basket.

Are marketers cheapening CSR? I fear it’s getting watered down as a gimmick, akin to greenwashing. More and more, I’m hearing “CSR” used interchangeably for “PR.” For the noble causes embraced by CSR visionaries to take root and have a truly substantive, transformative, and wide-reaching effect, we need to elevate CSR from PR tactic to purpose. People within and without your organization need to be motivated to participate as if their very livelihood depended on it. 

We need to transform moral obligation into a moral motivation.

Where to start?  Within. Help your team to engage around CSR values, visions and objectives for the sheer joy of doing so.

How? First, stop the noise. 

The rise of social media as a communications platform has precipitated a corresponding erosion in meaning, as tactics are misconstrued as strategy. To motivate a group with clarity and have a positive impact, first, you need to take the busyness out of business. If you’re making so much noise that you can’t hear yourself think, how can you possibly tune in to the audiences you’re trying to reach?

Anchoring in Soul

By anchoring in a clear vision, mission and soul purpose (a.k.a, noble purpose, or, simply, “purpose”), you shift from a fear-driven, constricted “doing,” where the means eclipse the end, to an expansive, welcoming, collaborative and confident “being.” There, strategies shine brightly and truth conveys comfort. Fear and greed are so yesterday. You also tend to stop judging…yourselves or anyone else. Shaming others will feel at very least hypocritical, if not a complete waste of time.

Effective communications travel far beyond a press release to how you walk in the world. But it starts with how you talk to yourself.

Who are you? In the context of today? Or, more importantly, tomorrow?

Who you are is a constant. It is not what you are doing or even where you are headed. It is your essence. Self-discovery is an evolution, and anchoring in identity is a discipline. It offers the opportunity to reexamine the organization’s mission or vision (concepts often misconstrued), to make sure the ideals still hold meaning for key audiences in the here and now, particularly for your staff. Do you, as an organization and a leader, proceed with purpose? Do you model, through word, thought and actions, the very identity you claim?

Intuiting and crafting the vision, mission and purpose of your organization requires equal parts head and heart. Unearth them by engaging your team in a collaborative exploration of self. Move beyond ownership to embodiment; walk the walk and talk the talk. When your vision, mission and purpose become muscle memory, your organization hums in sync. Your truth becomes clear, empowering and inviting.

Vision: Imagining the Future

Your vision is the future you imagine, the potential you strive to manifest. 

Often misunderstood as a call to action, an organization’s vision involves sight—foresight, to be precise. It offers an opportunity to inspire, to invite like-minded visionaries to join you in your effort to manifest an improved world, solutions for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s possibility.

Your vision must bespeak a worldview. A bold vision conjures a time, a place, a possibility that conveys an improved state for all. It should inspire everyone you touch, and then some. A clear vision serves as a mirror for anyone exploring it; it paints a future scene that reflects a higher potential for the broadest group possible. It showcases a worldview that will include all those you hope to attract.

Envision your ideal world of tomorrow. In doing so, your organization’s place and your purpose in it, as well as the purpose of each employee, customer and collaborator, will be illuminated, along with strategies for transforming possibility into reality. Your vision is an invitation to others into a shared potential. It will inspire your staff as well as collaborators, customers, and even compatriots (a.k.a., competitors).

Visionaries proceed as if the future they see exists today. Like-minded visionaries will usually operate with values that align with yours. Just as we find each other on CSRWire, the like-minded will find you. 

Mission: Manifesting the Vision

Your mission expresses how you serve the world, both in action and attitude. It is the articulation of your unique gift and how you can be of service to the world, even if you’re being paid for it. It is the real-world nuts and bolts of how you manifest your vision.

No other collection of people on the planet can offer your unique gifts. Clarify a mission around your combined talents, histories, cultures and hopes. Catalyze a group morale that can manifest success by allowing passions to define purpose. 

An innovative mission will energize your team, your customers, your investors, your partners, your vendors, and anyone else you need to help you make your vision a reality. It is a clarion call describing how you are going to show up in the world and motivating others to join you.

Purpose: Your Gift to the World

Your purpose is an expression of profound truth reflecting a system of beliefs that propel you, a philosophical approach to your work based on a distinct worldview. It speaks to what you as a collection of individuals are uniquely designed to do and believe together. It’s why you show up for work and motivates hours beyond COB. Your purpose is the gift that you give the world. 

Your purpose speaks directly back to you. It serves as a barometer, as an indicator that you are on the right path with any activity you execute, any goal you pursue.

Communicating a purpose offers a window to the soul of your organization. The courage you demonstrate in anchoring in your purpose can inspire others. It bespeaks a willingness to do something out of the ordinary, to be original thinkers. It is insightful and radically innovative. It places you squarely in the realm of possibility, of creativity, of profound thought, of bold leadership.

Articulating a purpose runs deeper than a rallying cry; it connects your organization by head AND heart. It resonates through the very pulse of your organization, helping to catalyze joy. Through your soul purpose, you are wired to believe in yourselves; your vision becomes more than a possibility.

CSR on Steroids

Organizations have been guided by missions for more than a century. By adding a purpose (a.k.a., a noble purpose or soul purpose) to your corporate construct, your mission is elevated to a sacred bond, and you can feel your way forward with heart. Executing your mission will feel less like work and more like passion.

This is CSR on steroids. Your purpose reverberates out to the community, to the homes and families of your employees, to the world. It embraces everyone and everything in your line of sight, including your foresight. As colleagues, you share a profound truth and strive to manifest something larger than any single individual. The motivation to sustain the organization, which feeds a deep longing, is powerfully strengthened. Your interactions with customers, investors, partners, vendors, journalists and each other are simplified and fortified. No longer tolerated, hidden agendas are rendered useless, with a premium placed on truth and trust. You motivations are noble.

Your vision, mission and purpose keep you honest. Strategies, tactics and activities power the mission and are evaluated against the vision and purpose. If anything you do, anyone you hire, anyone you do business with doesn’t align with your vision and purpose, rethink it.

Truth is never more important than when you speak to yourselves. When you get real, you get joy. And results.

Transparency is the new black.  Hear your soul.  Speak your truth.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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