Part 2: Rituals, Reputation, Representation, & Responsibility
In part 1 of this 2-part series, “Doing Good Is Good, But Not Good Enough,” Reggie Ponder discussed how intent, interest, and impact are important to doing good. In part 2 of this series, Reggie will talk about the four important areas your organization must evaluate as you recalibrate your efforts for maximum impact.
Many individuals and organizations struggle with how to impact the world in a positive manner. In part one, we discussed how intent, interest, and impact are important to doing good. However, if doing good is the goal, the impact is eclipsed by the intent. In part two we look at four important areas your organization must evaluate as you recalibrate your efforts for maximum impact.
Many companies have a cause or an area of influence they have chosen to champion. These companies produce or participate in these outward-facing events almost like rituals versus real commitment. Each year around a certain time, there is a hunger drive, or a support cancer campaign. Employees are given time off to participate or a percentage of sales is donated to a cause. This is good but is not good enough. These rituals serve as more of a contribution versus a collaboration. It helps the cause but doesn’t truly grow the commitment as many companies are sleepwalking via rituals. These companies are just checking another box of their community strategy off their list. Is your company stuck in a ritual?
Rituals help with one’s reputation but there are so many things that impact how the world sees your company. This includes press releases and policy statements, which are good if they have actions along with them – but they are not good enough. Notice how so many people are asking to see the proof of words and deeds in actions. Companies need to ask themselves, are they seeking to create a great reputation or to have a real impact? There is nothing wrong with doing good things to get a good reputation but it is better to get a good reputation by doing good things – even when they are not good enough. What you do when you are not in the spotlight is more important than what you do to get the spotlight. Is your company seeking the spotlight?
Representation matters. Everything your company does represents the people who work there. Your company cannot do good in the area of hunger and expect everyone to love them when the company does nothing surrounding equal pay for women. What is amazing is how connected the two issues are. Many women are heads of their households or their income is a major source of stability for their families. Paying them less for the same job impacts food security. Representation matters. What you say to the public must be backed up with what you do in private. Your employee MUST feel you represent them beyond declarations, proclamations, and outward-facing activities. It is one thing to represent your employees, however, it is another thing to have them represent you. The latter occurs when your employees feel as valued as the mission and vision statements you promote. Do you truly represent your employees and are they ambassadors for your company?
The fact is, companies have a responsibility far greater than one cause or one issue. The system crashes in on itself when that responsibility is abdicated. That responsibility requires more than established rituals or cultivating reputations. It requires sincere care for the people you represent. However, the reason that even that is not good enough, is it requires sincere care for the people you might not represent. That is the responsibility of us all to care for us all. Companies may not be able to cater to us all but when we care for all, good may still not be good enough but somehow becomes pretty GOOD.
Doing good is good, however, we must not do it without purpose. Without purpose, people will still be helped but with it, people will be elevated. Maybe not immediately but eventually. If the impact fails to transform lives, good is simply not good enough. This prism forces us to not rest on our laurels or deeds but to constantly evolve to make our work even better.
Written by: Reggie Ponder, Executive Marketing Lead