“Hey Little Buddy.” These words were some of the most often spoken words by the Skipper on one of my favorite childhood shows, Gilligan’s Island.
As an employer, you might be feeling a bit “Skipper-ish” when you think about the show and the characters in relation to your company. After all, someone has to be at the helm of the ship and to make those all important decisions.
But what if you (aka Skipper) wanted to exhibit characteristics of good corporate citizenship? What would you do differently? (This, of course, is assuming that you are not on a hit television series which requires that you stay shipwrecked on an island for an indefinite number of seasons.)
What Skipper was missing was the leadership to empower others on the island. He missed opportunities to say, “you can.”
Rather than cajoling his fellow strandees to keep order on the island, he could have set the dialogue for discussion about how to improve their surroundings, whether it was to find a way off of the island or enhance the quality of life.
Maybe the Professor had it all figured out, “Let’s try to be sensible about this. I mean, after all, there’s a logical answer to every problem.”
Within the last year, this column has covered a variety of approaches, including one business which looked in their own backyard of crime and poverty to solve an issue. This was on their initiative. They saw a need, their employees dialogued about solutions, they found partners, and they are improving the situation.
Both large and small employees can create action committees to discuss their corporate philanthropy and make charitable donations.
One or two employees at an organization can find ways to “go green” and recycle. This ideal can infuse companies in their purchasing decisions along with their vendor choices.
If the Skipper had been as wise as a few other company leaders, we could have renamed him the “Corporate Citizenship Captain.”
If you worry about not taking the right actions and not having a model from another business’ corporate citizenship approach in whic to model… then rethink your concern. At a recent presentation by Seth Godin at a February 2013 Dallas Social Venture Partners meeting, he shared these words, “The same inventor of the ship was also the inventor of the shipwreck.”
Shipwrecks are, for obvious reasons, not ideal. However they will happen when you journey into uncharted waters and have a sense of adventure. Success comes with the threat of failure.
Create your own voyage. Take all of your company’s characters into account, survey your surroundings, and then chart your course. “Hey, Little Buddy…” my bet is it won’t be a three-hour tour but a lifetime of business success with a purpose.
Kristina Jones is the President of Stronger Organizations, LLC and works with companies and nonprofits on their community engagement strategies. Continue the dialogue, connect with her at Facebook.com/StrongerOrganizations.