BK Magazine BK Business
Posted by Charlotte Ashlock, Executive Editor, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Charlotte Ashlock is a crazy idealist trying to make the world a better place!
Wisdom from True to Yourself: Leading a Values-Based Business
, by Mark Albion.
Sourced from: Chapter 3: Turn Your Values into Value
Sometimes, it seems life is nothing but a series of unacceptable compromises. Why do so many people have to make the choice between paying their mortgage and making a difference? Why indeed. Courageous social entrepreneurs are paving the way towards a world where people don’t have to make that choice.
“B-Corporations,” and “social ventures,” are popping up like dandelions, and even mainstream companies are talking about “business with a social conscience.” Helping lead this movement is Mark Albion, Harvard professor and co-founder of seven value-driven organizations. Here’s some sage advice from his book for the would-be social entrepreneur:
You are one with your company! Mark writes, “The day you launch your company, you are its first product.” The way you present yourself is the company’s brand. Make sure you can quickly and easily explain what you’re trying to achieve and why. Your confidence and clarity about where you’re going will give people faith in your company’s future. You need to ask yourself, “How do you see what your company does as an outgrowth of you and your interests?”
Don’t think Dilbert, think Romeo. Mark Albion writes, “Whether you’re trying to attract employees, customers, or investors, it’s not just about the finance. It’s also about the romance.” No matter how robotic and data-driven we pretend to be, we’re all human underneath. Mark writes, “You need to engage people’s emotions. To change their behavior, to get them on board, they must feel your excitement.” The tricks you use to fascinate and entrance in your personal life may have their place in the business setting as well.
Attract the right people. A great team gets you off to a great start. You need the right crew to take you through the rough weather which is sure to come. Mark writes, “The right people can overcome the wrong products and even inadequate financing most times.” Be clear about your values, and the right people will flock to join your team. A volunteering or service background is common for leaders in social entrepreneurship. Keep an eye out for those people.
Cut through the BS. One of the seventy-five leaders Mark Albion interviewed for his book was, Tami Simon, CEO of the world’s largest producer of spiritual audio programs. Mark asked her how she created her $12 million company, “Sound True” while staying true to her values. She told him, “My fire attracted other people. When you have a strong vision, you can cut through the BS.” She also said, “I attract people who challenge me, who don’t simply say yes. I reward disagreement.” If you keep your values front and center, you can keep BS ego issues from clouding the way forward.
Spread the passion. A great question for a start-up social entrepreneur to ask himself is: “What are the specific ways you transmit your values and commitment to others?” Make a list, it could be the kernel of a marketing strategy.
You can purchase Mark Albion’s full book for yourself- or for the person in your life who needs to start chasing their dream- right here.