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CSR Skills: What you need and why

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CSR Skills: What you need and why

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A unique perspective on what skills are needed for people wanting to work in or make a career of CSR



To keep updated on postings and events go to www.csrtraininginstitute.com and sign up for the newsletter. If interested the CSR Knowledge Centre http://bit.ly/CSRknowledge contains a series of short, pragmatic articles on CSR Strategy, Management and related areas.

A unique perspective on what skills are needed for people wanting to work in or make a career of CSR



To keep updated on postings and events go to www.csrtraininginstitute.com and sign up for the newsletter. If interested the CSR Knowledge Centre http://bit.ly/CSRknowledge contains a series of short, pragmatic articles on CSR Strategy, Management and related areas.

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CSR Skills: What you need and why

  1. 1. Helping business to serve shareholders AND society SIMULTANEOUSLY -by Wayne Dunn CSR Skills: What you need and why www.csrtraininginstitute.com/knowledge-centre
  2. 2. CSR Skills: What you need and why What skills and attributes are most helpful for someone working in (or wanting to work in) the growing field of corporate social responsibility? I’m asked this question often so thought I would share some thoughts in a post. As always, these are my thoughts. Don’t expect them to be comprehensive and do expect some to be surprising and maybe even controversial. Some might suggest that there is another set of more traditional skills that are important. I wouldn’t disagree, but would argue vehemently that the skills below are as or more important. For all my writings, teachings and doings the whole idea (always) is to facilitate change by conveying information and stimulating thinking and doing. You have more answers inside you than you realize. And you won’t find them if you just read, nod and agree. Think. If you agree, why? If you disagree, why? And, most importantly, what will you do differently? Most of the skills below are not just good for CSR. They apply across business and in life generally. CSR is all about value (so is business!). Always. Knowing how to think about value in all its dimensions is key. Understanding and differentiating value will help you to create value-alignment across interests. Click here for slides and video on stakeholder engagement from a recent CSR Masterclass 1. Value-think Page 02
  3. 3. CSR Skills: What you need and why CSR is all about stakeholders (so is business!). Always. Knowing how to identify stakeholders and think about their interests (value) in all its dimensions is key. Understanding and differentiating stakeholders and their value will help you to create value-alignment across interests. Click here for slides and video on stakeholder engagement from a recent CSR Masterclass CSR is all about meeting the interests (value) of others, in a way that also meets the interests of your business and/or project. This skill is sort of like strategic empathy, knowing how to understand the position and interests of key stakeholders (the what’s in it for them part) and being creative in looking at ways that your business/project can help them and serve your own interests at the same time. Communication is a critical skill for CSR (and so many other areas). Clear, concise, other-interest focused (and interesting!) communications can be invaluable in developing, implementing and managing CSR projects. This applies to speaking, writing, social media and all other forms of communications. *other-interest focused – make sure to practice communication that connects with the interests of those you are communicating with. Communicate about the self-interest of others and their ears will perk up and their minds will engage. Communicate about your interests and their minds will likely wander to their own interests. Ask yourself, ‘why would they listen/read/engage your communication’. If you don’t have a clear answer your communication is likely ineffective. CSR is all business, so you need to Know Business to be effective. Too often CSR is done as no-business and all philanthropy. Not good. In the same way as you need to be able to understand and meet the needs of stakeholders, you also need to know how to understand and meet the needs of your business or project. And, while you are at it 2. Stakeholder-think 3. Alignment-think 4. Communication 5. Know business Page 03
  4. 4. CSR Skills: What you need and why Know how to communicate to your internal colleagues and stakeholders (and then do it!). If you can’t make a strong internal business case for your CSR plan and project how do you expect to develop a strong internal support base. And, if you don’t have a strong internal support base be prepared to be isolated, marginalized and the first funding to be cut when things get tough. Build your business case and learn how to communicate it to key internal stakeholders and constituents. You must be able to clearly define and communicate the internal business case (often by department – e.g., what’s in it for Human Resources? For Finance? For operations?, etc.). If you can’t, then you either haven’t thought about it hard enough, or you are pursuing sub-optimal projects and priorities. In either case you are not effectively optimizing value. CSR is about creating and increasing value, not simply redistributing value. One of the most valuable skills you can develop is to learn to systematically think beyond zero-sum. Learn how to win by helping others to win too. Innovation is critical. Put on a value lens and learn to think inside, outside and around the box. Ask yourself questions that start with; What if? Would this? What about? Could we? Better than asking yourself, surround yourself with colleagues and stakeholders who can ask you those questions, and be open enough to hear them and know that these questions may help to unlock new value. Creative alignment and value creation is often found through innovation. 6. Know business- speak 7. Zero-sum Be Gone 8. Innovation Page 04
  5. 5. CSR Skills: What you need and why What are the pain points? What does that have to do with CSR? Pain points are just that. It is what keeps your CEO awake at night. Threats, weaknesses, obstacles, challenges, the sorts of things that business has to address to survive and thrive. CSR should be one of your business’s strategic tools for addressing pain points. Not that CSR will solve all pain points, but that it may solve some. A key skill for a successful CSR practitioner is to know and understand the pain points that are keeping your C-Suite team awake at nights, and to think strategically about how CSR may help address some of them. And then have the communication and know-business skills to be able to use CSR to address key pain points. I did a keynote at the CSR Saudi Arabia Summit recently that discusses CSR and Pain Points as part of integrating societal value in your core business. You can see the slides here There are many other skills that will help you to break into CSR work or to be better at it. You can find many lists (much more traditional than my nine-point list). But, I think you will do well to think about and try and master these nine. They will help to make you more effective and more valuable, at CSR and in other areas. 9. Think Pain Points Page 05
  6. 6. Below are some recent articles and publications on Corporate Social Responsibility and stakeholder engagement that you may find interesting. Mining Schools Hi Tech in CSR CSR SWOT discover risk, value and more Eleven strategies for maximizing value from CSR CSR in Budget Crunch Times 12 strategies for success Multi-sector CSR Partnerships Natural Partnerships – Unnatu- ral Partners From Pariah to Exemplar Applying the 6 best practices Engaging Internal Stakeholders Seven proven strategies CSR Communications Eleven mistakes to avoid Stakeholder Engagement Six best practices Creating a CSR Program in eight self-serving steps Let’s be honest: Internal CSR Communication Sucks! CSR Metrics: You can’t measure temperature with a speedometer Stakeholder Engagement Five common mistakes CSR Value Continuum A unique perspective on Shared Value Smarter CSR Budgets 8 steps to connect budget to value 28 Expert tips On stakeholder engagement Don’t be an Altruistic Angel Be transparent about what’s in it for you 13 Mistakes that prevent & destroy Multi-sector CSR partnerships NHL Sustainability Report Good but incomplete. Four Strategies for Local Content Success
  7. 7. Professor Dunn brings a practical and realistic approach to CSR, blending theory and practice to develop realistic models and approaches to address real-world challenges Dr. Ellis Armstrong Former CFO, BP Exploration …coherent, thoughtful, stimulating and insightful… state of the art! The network of participants from the public, private and civil society sectors was incredible, some of the leading experts in the field.   Kojo Busia, Ph. D. Snr. Mineral Sector Governance Advisor United Nations Economic Commission for Africa/UNECA …pragmatic blend of theory and practice, very applicable to helping organizations meet real-world challenges. Frank McShane Manager, Corporate Responsibility Policy and Ethics, Talisman Energy … readily available to provide support to organizations like Amref that are seeking partnerships, and looking to bring about positive change in a collaborative and concrete way. Wayne and the CSR Training Institute helped us to identify and connect with potential partners and are always available. The training, the expertise, the network and the overall support are world-class. Onome Ako Director of Strategic Partnerships, Amref Health Africa “The program enhanced the CSR knowledge and strategic skills of our Kosmos Energy Ghana team, and offered the participants a platform for networking with professionals from other organizations across Africa and Ghana.”  Reg Manhas Sr VP Kosmos Energy Very much helpful Wayne; some of the tips and questions you gave will be an extremely helpful guide in the process of developing a CSR Strategy for my company. Emmanuel Aubynn Regional Social Responsibility Manager, Newmont Africa The CSR Program was excellent. A key aspect of my work is to encourage and support private sector development that contributes to Ghana’s overall socio-economic growth. The learning that I and my staff take away from attending this program will help us immensely with this responsibility. I highly recommend this program. Hon. Rashid Pelpuo (MP) Minister of State for Private Sector Development and Public Private Partnerships (Ghana) New and exciting insights into the theory and practice of CSR… great faculty and participants, very diversified. An excellent learning experience, very practical and useful. I’m very happy I was able to participate in it. Hon InusahFuseini (MP) Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ghana) WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT OUR WORK
  8. 8. Should Business Serve Helping business to serve society and shareholders, SIMULTANEOUSLY. Should Business Serve WAYNE DUNN, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER SHAREHOLDERS? SOCIETY? IT SHOULD SERVE BOTH. Wayne Dunn is President & Founder of the CSR Training Institute and Professor of Practice in CSR at McGill. He’s a Stanford Sloan Fellow with a M.Sc. in Management from Stanford Business School. He is a veteran of 20+ years of award winning global CSR and sustainability work spanning the globe and covering many industries and sectors including extensive work with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and globally. His work has won major international awards and has been used extensively as ‘best-practice’ by industry and academia. He’s also worked oil rigs, prospecting, diamond drilling, logging, commercial fishing, heavy equipment operator, truck driver and underwater logging, done a couple of start-ups and too many other things to mention. Wayne’s career includes big successes, and spectacular failures. He hopes he’s learned equally from both. www.csrtraininginstitute.com

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