Continuing through this series on SEE your way to a better world where SEE stands for Social Enterprise Evolve, O is for Owner’s benefit. Part 6 we considered S for Staff benefit.
Owners hold a unique position and their influence can be positive or negative. However, in the SEE your way to a better world way Owners are vital to the vision! This article will consider Sustainability, Purpose and Connection.
For owners to have a win their needs to be sustainability which is closely related to security, stability, and commercial viability. This is essential to even keep the doors open to the business, to continue to provide jobs for staff and provide valuable services to customers. The bottom line must be the top goal or even better the equal top priority (along with a social goal). Money is needed to pay expenses such as ongoing costs like office space, salaries, supplies, etc as well as saving money for the future in case of unexpected costs or economic downturns, also known as contingencies. Funds are needed to invest for research and development to ensure the business thrives into the future. Additionally, money can be used to benefit others as we have discussed many times on this blog for more traditional Corporate Social Responsibility activities or even better Strategic Giving.
Strategic Giving gives the owner a purpose. Sometimes the owner is not active in the business however by linking it to Strategic Giving this creates a purpose. Simple examples could be by having a certain charity that the company donates to annually that has an emotional connection to the owner. A deep relationship could be encouraging staff and management to also join in and raise money for the particular charity. Perhaps someone close to the business died from a specific type of cancer so the purpose could be to help find a cure. I suggest that Strategic Giving be reduced to only one or two areas then have perhaps up to 10 or even 20% of the giving budget available for emergency relief / emotional giving. This could be flood or other natural disaster relief.
Connection is also vital for Owners to benefit. Connection here refers to the owner having a genuine connection with the business. This could be being involved in the day to day running such as being the Chief Executive Officer or Operations Manager. Alternatively, if the owner has many businesses, a simple strategy would be to hold a position on the board so as to keep up to date with the progress of the business. This also makes good business sense as the owner has responsibility (along with managers) for the business and if they are not aware of what is going on and something goes wrong, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.
An additional benefit of the owners having a deeper connection with the business is for staff morale for both management and staff at all levels. Some people are relationship focused while others are task focused and yet we all have a basic desire to be appreciated and feel as a valued member of a team. The owner being physically present at staff functions is good for morale. Say hello to staff. Get to know them. Whether you like it not, you are the head or at least one of them. People work for people they trust. It makes good business sense for your staff to get to know you to a certain extent and if they see your character and they like aspects of it, they will be more likely to want to work for you. Alternatively, if they don’t know you, they are more likely to believe any office gossip or media story.
Sustainability, Purpose and Connection are recommended for Owner’s to benefit. Owners who understand Sustainability are more likely to see their business thrive. Those who understand Purpose for both owners and staff linked to the business, or even within its foundation such as with a social enterprise (for further details check out What is a Social Enterprise?), and Connection to management and staff, demonstrate their superior business acumen and intention to succeed. People will follow those who reflect or reveal excellence and success. Especially when it is success or prosperity as defined in the Imagineering 2 a Better World way ‘love, peace, joy, hope for the future, close family, loyal friends, vibrant health and financially freedom, being able to do what you love whether it is paid or voluntary’.
If you are an employee and you have a business owner like this, why not honour them in some way today? That will encourage them which in turn creates more good will for all involved. If you are the owner, why not consider how you might implement and build on some of the above for now and for the future?