Kirk Stewart, Tara Greco and I were part of the record-breaking crowd that attended the annual Boston College Corporate Citizenship Conference held in Phoenix last week. Here are the key ideas panelists and participants were buzzing about:
- The lines between risk management, issues management, brand management and corporate responsibility continue to blur. More and more, companies are addressing issues in a collaborative manner, across the enterprise in both proactive and reactive situations.
- Empowering employees as ambassadors for your brand is crucial. While most communication efforts are externally focused, internal communication is also vital to success.
- Supply chains are this year’s front page issue, particularly for the IT industry. As keynote speaker Brad Smith, general counsel and EVP of Microsoft said: “In business, you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.”
- Many companies talked about taking on a signature cause aligned with their business, enabling them to focus their resources with the aim of making systemic change, even in some cases coupling their other investments with relevant policy advocacy.
- With the multitude of corporate responsibility surveys, reports and awards available today, many are finding the more crowded landscape challenging to navigate. A common question was, “How do you evaluate the worthiness before spending time & resources on these?”
- “The old model of stakeholder management was defined by words like agitate, investigate and litigate. The new model should be defined by words like anticipate, collaborate, innovate, cooperate, communicate and educate.” – Ed Fox, Arizona Public Service
- Measurement continues to be a focus of discussion, with more people stating the importance of investing time and resources to measure not just outputs but outcomes and impacts.
- Interesting comment by Ernst & Young spoke regarding reporting: “numerator only” data is misleading—it’s important to have a context for your goals, objectives and progress.
- Compelling closing keynote speaker David Jones, author of “Who Cares Wins” noted that the world is moving from control (broadcasting your message) to collaboration (sharing and seeding your message with a web of stakeholders)—and we all need to adjust our approach accordingly.
The 2013 BCCCC will return home to Boston. We hope to see you there!