Yesterday’s post was on service. I believe that business people have a responsibility to give back to the communities in which they operate. The current (June 2006) issue of The Motivational Manager (www.managementresources.com) had an interesting piece on service…
The article is called Mobilize Your Staff to Give Back to the Community. It lists four common sense ideas for giving back.
1. Pick a cause. Come up with something everyone can agree is worth their time. Once you’ve decided and made a group commitment, think up activities that will promote volunteering while building camaraderie.
2. Use your intranet. If trying to get everyone to agree on a single cause is too constricting, follow Aetna’s lead. They have a special web site where workers can ask volunteer-related questions and be matched with suitable non profits.
3. Reward volunteer efforts. At Washington Trust Company, employees who volunteer earn stars that they can redeem for company logo clothing and other products.
4. Provide time off. These days, most workers are hard-pressed to fin time to eat and sleep. So, it you want them to volunteer, consider giving them paid time off to devote to the cause of their choice. Even a half day a month can make a difference.
Strong, lasting mutually beneficial relationships with outside constituencies are one of my four secrets of high performing organizations. Businesses need to build and maintain relationships with all sorts of constituencies – customers, suppliers, regulators, investors and the communities in which they do business. Building service into day to day work is a great way to build positive relationships with the community in which you are located.
Here’s a real life example. John Kelly is the Plant Manager at Pfizer’s Vega Baja PR manufacturing facility. Periodically, he and his leadership team meet in an off site location to review recent successes and problems, set strategic direction for the site, and work on their teamwork. Many teams that have these off site meetings take an afternoon to engage in some sort of group recreational activity. Instead of traditional recreation activities like golf and sailing, John and his team always devote an afternoon to service. Recently, they helped plant trees as part of a reforestation project sponsored by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. On another occasion, they packed food at a food bank that provides food to people in the San Juan area who are living with AIDS. Team members report that they feel closer as a team and better about themselves as individuals because of the service they do as a team.
Personally, I’ve found that a little service is humbling and good for the soul. Humbling, because you get to see how much some people do for others. Good for the soul, because helping others is a great way to feel better about yourself. Try it – you’ll see what I mean.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website, www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense life and career advice.
I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
PS: In case you missed it I am holding a virtual Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I am offering a signed copy of my book 4 Secrets of High Performing Organizations ($14.95 cover price) to anyone who makes a donation of at least $10.00. I will send signed copies of the library of the six business books I’ve written to anyone who donates $50.00 or more.
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