As a thought leader, author, educator, and change leadership practitioner, I write a weekly article that benefits leaders who want to improve their organizations significantly.
Society faces many challenges, including climate change, cybersecurity threats, financial inequality, global health crisis, political instability, migration and displacement, and poverty. Some issues are caused by what has historically been considered acceptable business practices. However, there is a growing understanding that organizations must act in ways that benefit society beyond their immediate financial interests. One opportunity to make this transition is for leaders to incorporate altruistic business practices.
We, all of us, could do a much better job of evoking what someone has called the universal principle of human altruism: the urge in us all to help others who are in danger. - Bart Starr
Many authors write that we are born with a selfish gene. At the same time, additional scientific evidence finds that we also enter the world with an innate desire to help others, as Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr suggests. In a previous article, a definition of altruism was "the unselfish concern for other people – doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated to out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons. It involves acting out of concern for the well-being of other people." Another article focuses on why a business should care and the unexpected benefits of altruism. We will expand our understanding of why a business should become more altruistic in this article.
If company leaders consider becoming more altruistic, we should explore the benefits of integrating the practice. Reasons why businesses should adopt altruism include:
• Attract and retain top talent – An altruistic business will increase interest in new employment candidates and keep high-caliber employees who are more likely to be motivated and engaged when working for a company that shares their values.
• Boost innovation and creativity – An environment emerges where the workforce embraces a culture leading to higher-level collaboration and problem-solving.
• Build stronger relationships with communities and stakeholders – Companies looking to develop deeper integration into their communities can build more robust connections and support local environmental and social causes.
• Improve their reputation and brand image – Organizations that engage in altruistic actions demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on the world through socially responsible practices to meet the increasing expectations of consumers to act in this manner.
• Increase employee productivity and morale – When the workforce sees a connection between their values and employer, their engagement level increases, leading to higher-level work outcomes.
• Mitigate risks and create long-term value – Taking a more responsible approach to conducting business leads to a positive impact. It eliminates the potential for adverse social and environmental issues, creating long-term value for shareholders and stakeholders.
Integrating altruism enhances the company's reputation and can attract investors with similar values while achieving their business goals. The potential to gain access to new markets and opportunities emerges, allowing the organization to create a more just and sustainable future increasingly.
There is a growing understanding that organizations must act in ways that benefit society beyond their immediate financial interests. One opportunity to make this transition is for leaders to incorporate altruistic business practices. Leaders who successfully adopt this approach will see several positive benefits for their organizations.
Individuals can assess their current personal level of altruism by taking the self-report altruism scale. There are twenty questions that a person rates their frequency from 1-5, where "1 – never responds altruistically" to "5 - very often reacts altruistically." Adding up the results will provide a score from 0, where the person exhibits no sense of altruism, to 100, which is always an altruistic response.
I am grateful for business leaders who have built companies with an altruistic focus. Michael Pirron is the founder and co-CEO of Impact Makers, an all-profit to charities company. Since the technology consulting company was founded in 2006, they have contributed $4.7 million in direct financial contributions and 15,000+ hours of pro bono consulting services to its charity partners. In addition, Pirron gifted equity ownership of the company that the Impact Makers Foundation now holds and will continue to support local charity partners and fund other public benefit start-ups if the company is ever sold.
Next week's blog will look at the success stories of companies that practice altruism, an integral aspect of becoming a humanist manufacturing organization.
To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstratgicsustainability.com.
I encourage you to read my book Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations. The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers. You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.
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