In my last post, I introduced the concept “strategic community investment” as a phrase for a company’s deliberate, planned engagement with a community cause or causes. The concept is the central theme of a new book I’ve written, Think Lobal, Act Glocal.
The case argued in the book is that there are powerful economic benefits to a company that is engaged in strategic community investment right from the start.
However, there are two main obstacles to engagement, especially in the early history of a company:
1. Perception – frequently, the founders, investors, and managers of a company believe that strategic community investment is too expensive. However, the data – richly illustrated with case after case of high-performing investments – is mounting that shows otherwise.
Therefore, the misperception about the expense (and the associated powerful benefits) is perpetuated due to:
(a) the lack of education and understanding, on management’s part, or
(b) a resistance to change, i.e., a lack of will to do things differently and engage at the beginning, versus some point “down the road.”
2. Execution – too often, once management and staff “buy in” to a strategic community investment, they unintentionally miss the opportunity to optimize it.
This missed opportunity is frequently due to weak links between the company and its investment partners, i.e., the civic institutions and community non-profits.
The source of these weak links is a poorly executed match between the core values and the value proposition of the company’s products & services, and those of its partner(s).
My hope is that the book, with each new edition, and the Facebook page, with each new case study or best practice, provide the qualitative and quantitative data that help clear these obstacles away.
If you are a company principal in Austin, please join us at a launch reception at the Austin Museum of Art on Tuesday, September 14, to mix and mingle with other company founders who can attest to how essential strategic community investment was to their success, from the very early days.