By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching Consulting and Design Success University
Photo Credit-DesiLu Photography
We hear a lot these days about socially responsible business. People want to work for, do business with, and support companies that set a larger goal for themselves than just focusing on the bottom line. If your company supports social causes, produces goods or offer services that meets essential needs or improve people’s lives, and/or strives to operate their businesses in a humane, sustainable and ethical manner, that’s appealing to today’s consumer. Connect with your client’s and associate’s personal values, and you’re more likely to develop a deeper connection and reason why they should do business with you.
You don’t have to set out to change the world to have a values-driven business. What it really comes down to is conducting and promoting your business based on what’s important to you. Of course, you want your business to be successful and profitable. But beyond that, consider how you can use your practice to reinforce and further what really matters to you.
A place to start is with your business operations. Taking a cue from the Golden Rule, do you treat your employees, suppliers and vendors the way you want to be treated? Are your business practices fair, honest and transparent? Are you helping to further the profession by developing your employees? Are you modeling for your employees the management and business relationship behaviors you want to encourage in them? And even better, focus on the Platinum Rule which means that you treat people the way they want to be treated.
In addition to creating beautiful and functional designs, what else are you committed to in your practice? Do you insist on quality, craftsmanship and reliability? Do you make it a priority to specify or purchase eco-friendly, sustainable, and socially responsible (e.g., no child or slave labor involved) products and materials?) Do you research products and materials to ensure they are free of harmful substances? Do you advocate to your clients sustainable and healthy solutions? Do you work with your clients to create spaces that affirm and speak to their values?
Other values, such as family and community, may also be important to you. Are you managing your work and that of your employees to allow adequate time for family and friends? Can you contribute your services or utilize your business relationships to benefit your community? There are many ways besides donations or volunteering that you can help.
I offer these ideas only as food for thought. It is up to you to reflect on what you truly value and how you can embody those values in your business. When you have, the next step is to attract employees and clients who share your values, aligning all aspects of your business and practice. You will find your work is much more fulfilling and feels more integrated into the rest of your life. Plus, you will earn the loyalty of employees and clients who want to support your goals and mission.