Guest Blog – Sarah Robinson of Fresh Concepts

There is only so much time in every day. We all get 24 hours. That’s it. The options of how to best use that time each day are increasingly complex and, at times, confusing. When seemingly disconnected ideas are actually harmonious and mutually supportive, it can help us – as individuals and as corporate leaders – to make better decisions.

Strengths and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are examples of corporate strategies that make good sense (while also making excellent use of our precious time) for a host of reasons.

What does it mean to focus on strengths? 

A strengths-based initiative refers to the ability to focus on personal potential and satisfaction instead of fixing something that is wrong. A strengths-based organizational culture cannot be created overnight, but over time can promote positive, supportive, and healthy relationships at work. In the 1990s, management was focused on “driving out waste” and many managers misconstrued that to mean “telling people what they are doing WRONG.” Today, we know that highlighting the areas of strength, unique insight, and talent in others promotes growth and engagement at work. Fixing what’s wrong is possible by showing others how to best apply their strengths and do what they do best.

What does it mean to use the principles of CSR?
When the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are guiding an organization, leaders consider how their corporate decisions impact human rights, the environment, as well as legal and ethical standards. In sum, CSR helps the organization to be socially accountable – both internally (to employees and stakeholders) and externally (to the public). Examples of activities that are aligned with CSR include: promoting volunteerism and charitable giving, reducing the organization’s carbon footprint, and improving labor policies.


Why are these strategies harmonious?
First and foremost, these strategies are aligned because focusing on strengths and CSR is an optional corporate activity that sends a strong and positive message. Corporations, and the leaders who drive these initiatives, understand the far-reaching implications of focusing on what’s best in employees (their strengths) and doing right by the local and global community (by adopting CSR practices).

Research by Gallup has found that employees who focus on their strengths at work are three times more likely to report having a high quality of life, are six times more likely to be engaged at work, and are six times as likely to do what they do best ever day. Similarly, CSR has been found to help organizations attract top talent, raise productivity, and maintain high engagement.

Some decisions are hard to make. Coupling a strengths-based culture and a CSR initiative is an easy decision.