Be Community Minded

Friday, January 31 2014

When I think about giving back to community I am reminded of building houses in Mexico. My job was to help mix the concrete, specifically to shovel stones. No matter how tired I was at the end of the day, it was a joy to give. I remember the satisfaction and the pleasure of watching a family move into one of the completed houses.

There are many valuable reasons to give back to your community besides that feeling of joy. Most organizations which use volunteers welcome those with business experience and different perspectives. In addition, from a leadership perspective it makes sense to encourage your staff to volunteer. The added benefits your company receives are in the areas of business development, people management and organizational culture.

Business Development

  • It’s a great opportunity to network with other leaders, to appreciate what they bring to the table, and learn from them.
  • You get known in the market place, increasing your exposure and developing a good reputation.
  • Networking creates circles of influence, and you may receive referrals to potential clients/customers.

People Management

  • It’s a recruiting strategy. Many people today are looking to work for organizations that demonstrate community involvement.
  • Community involvement provides a motivating environment and improves retention.
  • Develop your team by allowing people to work together and hone consensus building skills.
  • Use it as an opportunity to assess capabilities such as self-management, problem solving, and commitment.
  • Develop your leadership and coaching skills working with teams who do not report to you.

Organizational Culture

  • It can be a team-building experience.
  • Cultivate a culture of making a difference.
  • Volunteering promotes empathy, caring for and listening to the needs to others.

Benefits to the corporation should not be the primary reason behind giving, and they will not be realized unless people experience personal satisfaction from their work in the community. Organizations which fully support giving back to community should ensure that:

  • It is part of the long-term strategy and culture in the organization.
  • Everyone is empowered to be part of the process.
  • Barriers have been identified and strategies to help eliminate them have been considered.
  • Training is offered as required. This includes identifying liabilities.
  • Recognition is provided.

Life is enhanced when we choose to give back. Think of the benefits you have received and pass on the torch.