In his book “Connect – How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society“, John Browne, formerly CEO of BP, articulates how companies engage with society in a way that goes beyond the normal conceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Browne believes that “connected leadership” requires the integration of societal and environmental considerations into core business decision making at all levels. He says that “connected leadership” ensures long term viability for a business, and also generates a competitive advantage. Browne states: “crucially, connected leadership is predicated (most of the time) on mutual advantage; society would benefit considerably if it could enable a transition to this new paradigm, regardless of which firms gain the extra edge by engaging particularly well.”
Browne says that there are four tenets of connected leadership which, when applied, can revolutionise a company’s standing in society.
These four tenets are:
- Map your world
- Define your contribution
- Apply world class leadership
- Engage radically
Browne believes that any success he achieved in the commercial world came when he engaged effectively, and sustainably, with the external world.
Browne quotes Teddy Roosevelt, who stated in 1903:
“We demand that big business give the people a square deal…in return we must insist that when anyone engaged in big business honestly endeavours to do right he shall himself be given a square deal.”
In subsequent blogs I will be looking at the concept of “Connected Leadership”, and its relevance to CSR, in more detail.
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Mark Jenkins advises clients on how to achieve commercial resilience in high-risk/non permissive environments. Among Mark’s specialist areas of expertise are the management and motivation of traditional communities such as Bedouin tribesmen in the Sinai Desert, Somali Muslims in NE Kenya and Eastern Orthodox Christians in remote parts of Eastern Europe. He has a particular interest in Islamic culture and has worked on the staff of HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed bin Talal, Special Advisor and Personal Envoy to HM the Hashemite King of Jordan. Other interests of Mark’s include renewable energy, especially solar power, and economic solutions which are based on the principle of sufficiency, rather than consumption.
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