The Letter That We’ve Been Waiting For

Mark W. Shamley
President & CEO, ACCP

You’ve read it, right? The Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, open letter to CEOs. The letter that says what we all believe. If you haven’t, read it now.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait. It is that important.

Powerful, right?

You can see what others think this letter means, hereherehere, and here.

In short, here’s what I think it means: Corporate Citizenship’s time has come – for real.  If that’s the case, this is big! What do you need to do?  Here are the 5 things you should be doing right now to make sure you are ready to create programs that impact society and add value to your company.

  1. Make sure you understand what truly drives value for your company. You may be thinking – revenue or sales.  That is the end game.  What does your company use to drive revenue? Are they all about the brand, mitigating risk, innovating, cutting costs, increasing market share, or offering premium quality? Answering that question is your first step to understanding where you should focus your corporate citizenship efforts.
  2. What does your C-suite think of Corporate Citizenship and how does your CEO and CFO view the Larry Fink letter? If you haven’t had a conversation about your CEO’s expectations for corporate citizenship, now is the time to have that talk. You need to understand their views on what you are doing currently and, more importantly, their aspirations for what they would like you to accomplish.
  3. Do you understand the reasoning behind where corporate citizenship sits in your company? Are you in a department that is stand-alone, i.e. you have a Corporate Citizenship SVP that reports directly into the C-suite? Or do you report up through Marketing, Human Resources, Corporate Affairs, Finance, or some other department?  Understanding why you sit where you sit in your company is critical to understanding where the expectations and opportunities for you to bring value really are.
  4. Do you know the key performance indicators (KPI) that your department (the one you ultimately report up to, if not Corporate Citizenship) uses to measure effectiveness? If not, ask what they are. Make sure you understand how those KPIs are measured and tracked.
  5. Evaluate your programs today to determine the potential to contribute to your company’s core value driver. Be brutal and be ready to face the fact that what you thought you were doing right, is in fact wrong. Be ready to start from scratch.

These are exciting times for this profession. ACCP has championed the idea that for your work to be sustainable, it must have societal impact and add value to your business. Over the next year, you’ll see more and more about this. If you need help getting started, check this out. Here we go – for real.

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