Which is the more valuable skill in driving tangible improvements in CSR performance?I had the opportunity to speak to a group of professionals at a new course offered by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship last week. The course was delivered at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Getting from LAX to the hotel and back is worth a blog post on its own. The attendees were from all corners of the corporate citizenship discipline and came from companies such as State Farm, Pfizer, Disney, Nordstrom, PG&E and TIAA-CREF among others. This was a sharp group and some were current practitioners and others were looking to break through. The course was led by Julie Engel Manga and covered the progression of leadership and change management strategies applicable to the CSR agenda today. I was invited to speak about my own story and some of the strategies I’ve built over the years at Intel. It was a nice change of pace from the daily demand of climate/green agendas. The question on the table though was…what works and what doesn’t? How do you, as an individual, go from a cog in the engine to driving change and leading your company’s strategy in CSR or even the broader CSR agenda. Clearly it’s not easy – nor is it something that can be put in a cookbook for everyone to follow. There are some strategies, tactics and tools that can help, but most success comes from understanding corporate cultures and knowing how to communicate – to a countless array of stakeholders – from heads of state – to local elementary school students. We spent a lot of time on the topics of Leadership vs. Change Management. I have my own opinion, of course. However I’m interested to know what you believe to be the most useful characteristic for today’s CSR practitioners. I also know that the professionals that attended that course would be interested in that dialog. What’s needed more today – Change Management or Leadership?
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