Responsible Business Practice starts with you! Surprised?

When I say it starts with you, I’m offering a different way of looking at it: starting from the inside out, rather than the outside in (market demands). Consider your reflection in a mirror. Your reflection is not in the mirror before you – it’s only there when you look in the mirror, then you see yourself reflected as you are, at that moment. In the same way, how things are done at your company did not just happen – it’s a reflection of decisions and processes instituted by those who own/manage the company.

Next time you look in the mirror, stand still and take time to ask yourself:

  • who you are?
  • what matters to you?
  • what do you stand for?
  • what are your values?
  • when do you feel your company’s doing well?
  • when do you feel you’re achieving what you want to achieve?

Write your answers down, read through them and then ask yourself – is your company a reflection of those answers? Does the day-to-day running, the decisions you take, the way you treat employees, the way you deal with environmental impact (waste disposal – as an example), the way you deal with communities around your companies, the choice of suppliers/markets, the choice of how you tell your story (marketing messages), does any or all of this reflect you as owners/management?

Once again, write your answers down and review them. What areas are there where things currently do not reflect you? What (small) steps can you already take to change that?

I fully understand that your situation can be so difficult that you do not have the “luxury” to choose or change things in all areas. You can, however, focus on one thing at least, where you do have control/influence and start there. Often, once we start, once we take that first step, it opens up possibilities. Taking some initial action is better than adopting an attitude of waiting for the “right time” – in my experience, that “right time” never comes.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is a common saying that originated from a Chinese proverb. Remember, it’s a process – it does not happen overnight!

Many companies are looking at their operations and wondering how the world will look post-Covid-19? What will people’s priorities be (employees, consumers, civil societies, governments, etc.)? Even in the midst of a situation as severe as this, I believe it’s timely to pay attention to issues of Responsible Business Practice – employee health, safety and well-being, environmental stewardship, transparency, collaboration and awareness will be vital to pave the way for a more resilient future.

What (small) step will you take?