This is a very interesting video on TED.com by Paul Zak describing the so called “moral molecule” oxytocin which is according to his research responsible for trust, empathy and a good feeling generally.
Having watched this video, for me, the question is whether this molecule oxytocin might also be an influencing element of peoples’ desire and drive to choose to work in the CSR / Sustainability field in stead of chasing the quick money. I believe it is. What do you think?
Now here is a difficult question to answer. Having worked in this Sustainability / Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field for a good while now I must say that this very basic question is not really easy to answer. Especially from the viewpoint of the Sustainability / CSR professional. It is our business to be trust agents and convince others to trust in the good companies are doing.
So as engaging bloggers do ( and I am hoping you will see me as one of these engaging bloggers), am I putting this question to you, my reader, and seek your opinion.
Here is what I think about this: Trusting companies to do the right thing is difficult as companies are so integral to our society and way of living. Most of us either work for one company or have companies as customers. Companies provide us with the income we need to buy the things we need to live our life, care for our family and raise our children.
So what other choice other then to hoping that they will do the right thing do we have? I think we need to look at the other side of this question. It is not a choice but rather a duty, a duty for us as stakeholders of these companies to ask and demand of them to do the right thing. We can not hope for them to do the right thing but we can and need to demand it.
And the time can not be better nowadays with such easy access finding like-minded people from across the globe using the internet and ways to publish your messages via free social media tools.
Change starts with believing that you can make a difference. And we need to start believing that we can create a better business world. We, as a Sustainability / CSR professionals or activists, need to believe that we can influence all of these negative aspects that are pulling our confidence down at the moment by using our education, experience and passion to make it a better business world for us and our own stakeholders. This is our duty as stakeholders.
I am currently reading Chris Brogans and Julien Smiths Trust Agents book. And one of the key themes of the book is the trust agent concept. A quote from the book reads: “Trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or sales people; they are the digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.”
Reading this prompted me to take a critical look at my own industry, the Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) industry, and what people we trust in this industry.
I am not so sure. We like them and agree with most of what they do and stand for. But do we trust them? Doesn’t trust really mean a lot more then just agreeing with someones views?
These are big questions and they are tough to answer but I believe there are certain key elements we are looking for when we decide to trust someone or not. Especially in the context of the web and the fact that you can not meet the person face to face right away.
Today I am looking for the elements of an online presence you should look out for when someone claims to be part of the CSR and Sustainability sector.
Elements of Trust for Sustainability and CSR professionals on the Web
Does he/she have a blog or a website where I can take a look at what they do? Company websites are okay but the really interesting content and context is usually on the blogs. We seem to trust blogs more then company websites.
Is this person using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc to reach out to more people? If not then how is he/she communicating their messages online? A Twitter and LinkedIn profile is a must nowadays.
What is the first impression of the content he/she is providing on their website/blog? Is the blog being used for self promotion only or is this real content with a proper message that adds something to the discussion of the particular topic?
How long has he/she been working in the sector? Is he/she just out of university (not bad- but not so much business experience of course) or is he/she a seasoned professional that is now discovering the web and is willing to engage us online now?
What is their general business experience other then in the Sustainability/CSR sector? The Sustainability and CSR business sector is not so vastly different to normal business sectors so general business experience is a very important aspect of trusting someone.
These are just a few, but in my opinion most important points to look for in new people coming into the Sustainability and CSR field.
Have I missed anything? What do you think could be added to this list?