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May 18, 2007

Peanut Butter and Corporate Responsibility

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Philosophy

Peanut ButterI was reading through some online articles on the CRO web site and was reminded of our tendency to look past the obvious. You know, kind of like when I open the pantry and yell to my wife, "Where's the peanut butter?" and she walks in, reaches up, and pulls it from a place on the shelf that's four inches from my face. I give her an embarrassed smirk, and she smiles and shakes her head. Come on, you've been there.

So where's the peanut butter? Your business is, well, a business; we don't expect you to be a nonprofit. You should make money, but you should do it responsibly. So the way your company is corporately responsible is best approached on the foundation of your business strategy. Let me say that again--because this is the thing that's often right in front of our face. Corporate responsibility should flow out of your business strategy. That way, it makes sense, it's an authentic effort to help, and positions you to stay in business.

If you're a steel manufacturer, and want to be a responsible corporate citizen, it would make sense that you look for ways to reduce the impact you're having on the environment while making steel. The answer isn't stop making steel, we need steel--I'm sitting in a building supported by steel.

Now I know this sounds like common sense. But it’s been said that genius is the ability to scrutinize the obvious. Judging by the amount of dialogue about corporate responsibility and how to leverage it as an opportunity, I think this is an obvious place begging for scrutiny.

If your business is asking questions about using corporate responsibility as an opportunity or how to make cause marketing more effective, I'd suggest looking for the peanut butter or asking someone for help.

You'd be amazed what you can find, right in front of your face.

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