Connecting Purpose, Profit and Culture, Part III

Part III: Creating & Maintaining a Good Business Culture Isn’t Just Good for Business

Businesses each have their own unique culture which contribute to the larger world culture. What kind of contribution is your business making?

We all know how a negative person or bad attitude can affect the people & things around them. It is similar with a business culture.  Your business culture affects those inside it and those outside of it. If your business tolerates negative behavior and attitudes or staff being rude to patients or customers, that negativity is carried forward to others inside your business walls and outside your walls. If your business emits wastes that harm the environment, that impacts all of us.

At Simon Eye, we created our own “Declaration of Culture” that clearly describes how we expect all staff to operate and interact with patients, doctors, fellow staff, vendors, and anyone else we meet. Respect, Friendliness, Professionalism, Service are like mantras you’ll often hear. Are we perfect? Unfortunately, No. However, we are committed to improving each day and to making up for any interaction that was less than stellar.

When our staff were asked, who is responsible for creating and maintaining our ideal culture at Simon Eye? The answer was every single one of us.  When asked, when do we need to do this? Every single day, of course. It is not a one-time thing. It is not just the top executives as they cannot be in all places at all times to observe and handle an infringement of our “Declaration of Culture”. It takes every staff member to be alert to and take responsibility for creating and maintaining the best culture possible for ourselves and everyone we interact with. We all live in it, so we all need to be responsible for making it the best. This is very similar to what is needed to make a better world culture.  

In an ideal world, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would naturally be adhered to. All citizens would take responsibility for it and be in action, not apathy. It would be a world with great tolerance, high ethics, and respect for all living things, where we would help each other and focus on solutions. We would use communication, not war to settle differences. Education systems would be directed to the full development of the human personality. The culture would be filled with truth, not lies, false information, and deception. One wouldn’t think of doing something like discriminating against another or selling, torturing, or treating another human being with cruelty, or releasing harmful medications, drugs & treatments into the society, making weapons that could destroy the entire planet, or even think of turning their head when another doesn’t have adequate food, water, shelter, or adequate health care.  In an ideal culture, our food supply would exist to provide nourishment, not damage health.  We wouldn’t dare pollute the air we breathe or water we drink and bathe in. Those things just wouldn’t happen. But here we are, and those things do happen. Which only means we have more work to do. The only correct thinking at this point is something can and must done about it. Now, back to business.

What Can Your Business Do?

  • Create your own “Declaration of Culture.” Clearly define how your business will operate for the benefit of all constituents. How will you treat customers? How will staff treat each other? What responsibility will you take for your community/world (the culture beyond your business walls)? How will you promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
  • Make it more than words on a page. Live it.
  • Provide caring feedback every day to make sure others live it too.
  • Identify and train your own Culture Ambassadors; staff who know the importance and have a strong desire to help create and maintain an Ideal Culture for your business.
  • Recognize staff who “go the extra mile” and are model Culture Ambassadors.
  • Create a great patient/customer experience. When your customers leave happy, they take that happiness with them.

Creating and maintaining a top-notch culture in your business, not only helps your bottom line, staff retention, and customer loyalty, it contributes to a better world culture. Look and see, what kind of contribution is your business making

As customer service guru, Shep Hyken, has shared, “Amaze it Forward.” Practice being amazing! Your business will benefit and if we act soon enough and fast enough, we will end up in a much better world.  

Post by: Ellen Firestone

Connecting Purpose, Profit and Culture, Part II

Bringing Businesses and Human Rights to Life Locally

Eleanor Roosevelt, the primary architect and driving force behind the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, once said with great eloquence and truth:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.  Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seek equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.  Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

To bring this topic closer to home, I’d like to give some examples of what we have done or plan to do at Simon Eye Associates.

Simon Eye’s Purpose is to help bring the world into focus so you can achieve and enjoy all life has to offer.   As a company, we align our community service activities around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article #25 – Right to Food, Shelter, Clothing, Medical Care; Article #26 – Right to Education and Article #24 – Right to Play.  Our main emphasis for the promotion of all three of these rights is “the Right to Sight”.   For the past few years, we collaborated with the Mayor of Wilmington’s office, VSP-one of our top insurance providers, and some local school nurses.  In 2018, we gave over 300 complimentary eye exams and eyeglasses to adults and students in need.  In the Fall of each year, we work with school nurses to provide nearly 2,000 vision screenings at 15 area schools.  We make contributions to organizations who support children’s education and/or human rights education.  Simon Eye Associates also sponsors a Human Rights Podcast series with WJBR.  In celebration of May as Healthy Vision Month, we hold an annual Art Exhibition where we invite artists of all ages to submit their vision of a better world.

What Can Your Business Do to Promote and Protect Human Rights?

You can start small by making sure your own business is adhering to the 30 human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Then, if you want to go beyond your business walls, help your community and world by promoting and protecting a human right that most aligns with your business’ purpose.  You can also survey your employees to find the rights they feel most passionate about and get into action around that.  Some other suggestions:

  • Educate your executives and staff on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (if people do not know their human rights, they cannot do anything to promote or protect them for themselves and others)
  • Adopt a human right(s) that most aligns with your business’ purpose. Then find and support Non-Profits or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are getting results around that right. Volunteer with them or donate funds.
  • Write to your Representatives and Senators to ask them to promote and protect the human right you adopted and to get the Universal Declaration of Human Rights taught in schools in your area.
  • Encourage employees to volunteer with the organizations you chose or to find a human right they, themselves feel strongly about and volunteer or donate to organizations making an impact on that.
  • Join your local United Nations Association Chapter and/or United for Human Rights Chapter.

Let’s not wait for another crisis.   Get into action now!

In Part III, I’ll cover why it is important to continuously have attention on improving and protecting your business culture.

Post by: Ellen Firestone

Connecting Purpose, Profit, and Culture, Part I

Aligning Businesses with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

Why Businesses Should Care and How They Might Benefit

More and more studies show that doing good contributes to a company of any size doing well. Social Responsibility, beyond making the world a better place, also benefits companies in their recruiting and retention of staff and in their consumer marketing efforts.  A Nielson Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) found that more than half of people surveyed would “choose products and services by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact” and two-thirds would rather work for such a company. (6 Socially Responsible Companies to Applaud, by Allison Gauss)

According to a 2018 Benevity Engagement Study, turnover dropped 57% in employee groups that most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts.   Harvard Business Review’s, The Business Case for Purpose stated 89% of executives surveyed said a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction.   Accenture’s 2018 Global Consumer Pulse Research found 62% of global consumers want companies to take a stand on issues they are passionate about and 64% find brands that actively communicate their purpose more attractive.   (statistics from https://engageforgood.com)

People want to do business with and work for companies that care.  And the world needs businesses in action around human rights and important social causes now more than ever.

How the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Came into Existence

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, came about in response to the atrocities perpetrated by fascist Germany before and during World War II.  The intention of the Declaration was to promote peace, build a better world, and to prevent those types of horrific crimes against humanity from ever happening again.  Yet today, many people have not even heard of the document or can name more than 3 of the 30 Rights that we are all entitled to simply by the fact of being born. These rights do not have to be earned or given to us; they are ours!

Fast forward to 70+ years after the United Nations adopted the Declaration and you can look around and observe the current condition of humankind across the world– including our own country and local cities.   Human Rights violations like human trafficking, domestic violence, poverty, dangerous drugs released into society creating epidemics, electroshock, refugee crises, illiteracy/poor education, torture, and discrimination of all kinds, just to name a few, are wreaking havoc on our culture.  Still today, many people have not heard of the document.  Do you and your staff know your 30 human rights and are you putting them into action?

Who is Responsible for Ensuring Human Rights Are Known and Protected? 

The short answer is all of us—each one of us contributes to the larger global culture. Our economic system is divided into three main sectors: Public (governments), Private (business) and the Third or Volunteer sector (Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Non-profits, Charities, Civil Society).  It takes all three sectors to ensure human rights are promoted and protected for all human beings. In the Preamble to the Declaration, the UN General Assembly proclaimed: “this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms…”   This blog series is focused on the Private/Business sector. 

You have more influence than you may think.  What you do here and now does matter!

Stay tuned for Part II where I’ll bring this idea closer to home with some actions that a local business is taking.

Post by:  Ellen Firestone