The ‘Selfish’ Gift: The Importance of Community Involvement
No matter the circumstances of your organization, one aspect of business leadership that I consider essential is giving back to your community. Giving back happens in many ways, but no matter how you choose to contribute, you, your employees, and your organization as a whole will benefit from these efforts.
Setting A Good Example
Many of you know how strongly I feel about the importance of leading by setting a good example. Community involvement is one of the best ways to present yourself and your organization as role models. There are lots of ways to get involved and start leading by example. These include, but are not limited to:
- Making financial contributions to a charity,
- Offering pro-bono consulting, sharing expertise in planning and strategy,
- Volunteering time as a mentor,
- Contributing physical labor.
Building And Strengthening Connections
Showing that you care about the health of your community and peers put you in the position to make connections and build relationships with other community members. Relationships with people cannot be undervalued. Through these, an executive can gain:
- Insight into government regulation,
- A better picture of a local economy,
- New solutions to common challenges,
- Increased recognition of one’s own brand, products, or services,
- Improved organizational morale and corporate culture.
Participation in trade organizations or the chamber of commerce can be some of the best places to start building these important connections. In the end, I believe you’ll find that the more of your own strength that you lend to others, the more others are willing to offer in return.
Likewise, your peers and employees are likely to find very similar results as they participate; community involvement must start at the top yes, but getting involvement from others in your organization will not only foster a sense of pride and accomplishment in-house, but bring a new wealth of experience to your organization on all levels.
Immediate And Eventual Benefits
At the end of the day, when a leader becomes involved in local or industry-related community affairs, they make an investment in the future health of their community, and by extension, their company as a whole.
Eventual benefits might include a stronger customer base, better visibility in the community, a bank of goodwill, and strengthened connections which executives so highly prize. It is my position that a business should give back and, in my experience, the act of giving back results in exponential returns in the long run.
It’s always worth making time for something that will benefit your company. Leaders looking to make a mark in their field, industry, or local community can start by acknowledging the importance of involvement and then following through. There is a lot of good you can do for others and certainly a lot of good to gain in return; leaders should analyse what resources they have to offer as an organization and then put them to work. After all, when it comes to giving back to the community, good deeds are rarely forgotten.