CSR: It's the Little Things Too

CSR, responsible business, and social entrepreneurship are topics that have been trending among professionals at all levels from entry-level to mid-level and experienced.  Take Justmeans for instance -- a hub for people who want to see business done better and responsibly. While we emphasize the importance of income and profits, we're not willing to make an extra buck at the expense of some greater good. No matter what we do, we seek out objectives that go above and beyond money.

One of the biggest CSR challenges is how we define "good." Even if we agree that we want "good," we disagree about what "good" actually is. Some believe in moral & ethical absolutes, while others don't, and ultimately, the debates are endless. It's important to remember that in the world of CSR, it's okay if we can't explain ourselves 100%-- as long as we make the effort, by questioning the rationale behind our business decisions-- we're building foundations for better business. While some of us are social entrepreneurs with bigger objectives in mind, others are people who sift through causes to support. No matter who we are, disagreement is healthy and important for open dialogue. At the very least, we're aiming for something more than top-down decisions.

It's okay if you're struggling to conceptualize CSR--it's a tough concept to grasp. No matter how much we discuss  and analyze the causes and effects of what we're doing, we sometimes find ourselves in an intellectual gridlock. How can that not happen when we're thinking so big? Ultimately, big thoughts raise big questions that sometimes have no answers. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and keep our distance from what we're doing until we're ready to go once again.

Oftentimes, when we're thinking about the big picture-- social change, environmental responsibility, and socioeconomic equity-- we forget about the little things. Yes, CSR is about better business, but it's important to remember that better business is about the decisions that we make on a day to day basis. These decisions include how we treat people, how we spend our budgets on lunches and office activities, and how we communicate with people at every organizational level.

Sometimes, we're so focused on the big picture that we forget about the small things-- and sometimes, people fall through the cracks. Q4 and approaching year's end is always pretty stressful. Even though we may love our jobs, we can't wait until our upcoming vacations. We're pushing to end 2010 on a strong note, and in the process, we may feel rushed to reach our end goal. The result is that we're fixated on the big-picture. It's normal-- we're ambitious and human and want to do well for ourselves and for our organizations.

But at the end of the day, remember that CSR is all about the the little things too, whether it's taking five minutes to say hello to someone at the office, maintaining levels of open communication, or keeping our cool when we get frustrated. If you're stuck about how to reinvent the big picture, remember that you can reinvent the little things too.

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