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Creating Shared Value (CSV) is not about your corporate responsibility, it is about the opportunity to create profits with purpose that simultaneously drive sustainability, economic growth and social progress.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies typically come at a cost, using corporate economic profits to aid with social progress, but what we are talking about here is integrating social progress into your business strategies as a means of creating long term, sustainable profitability that benefits all stakeholders; employees, customers, stockholders, partners and the communities in which your company operates. To many business leaders and philanthropists, this all sounds too good to be true but the fact is this is a proven methodology.

In this article series, we are examining how to embark upon your journey to start creating Shared Value.  So far we have explored the important questions to ‘ASK’ and the ‘DIALOG’ needed to ignite awareness and motivate revolutionary change within your organization.  Today, we will delve into how to attain sponsorship to seed your journey.

This is where you start to connect the dots between the ‘DIALOG’ you provoked and your organization’s current corporate issues and goals.  By positioning CSV as a powerful approach and pathway to addressing your issues and attaining your goals, you will be able to position your CSV proposal at front and center stage.  It is critical to apply the same rigor and measures to your CSV proposal as you would for any other critical business proposition.  It is important to set very specific and ambitious goals that are also adaptable as you learn.

Many of today’s relevant business issues and goals are universal; they cross industries regardless of the types of products or services you provide.  By mapping your CSV objectives to corporate goals that are highly pertinent yet traditionally challenging and highly intangible by nature, you will raise willingness to consider new methodologies.  Two examples of imperative universal issues and goals are Sustainability and Customer Experience.  CSV strategies are the ideal approach for both.

Consider these statistics to support targeting Sustainability and Customer Experience as a relevant means to attaining sponsorship for your CSV journey.  FSG recently published a guide on how to create Shared Value.  They share that in a recent study conducted by Accenture, 93% of CEOs believe issues of Sustainability will be critical to the success of their business.  According to a recent Yankee Group study, 82% of CIO and CTO executives rank improving Customer Experience as their top strategic priority.

While aligning your CSV strategies to critical business success factors is crucial, it is equally vital to set appropriate expectations with regards to the magnitude of change required to embrace this kind of transformation.  Without question, the benefits exceed the difficulties, however, you must be prepared to tackle the obstacles and mitigate their impact.  At the core, this is a massive cultural change with magnificent rewards.

Once you have attained sponsorship to move forward you are ready to ‘DIG’ for opportunities to start making profits with purpose. While this is the toughest step, it is also the most fun.  In my next article we will begin to rethink your products and services through the lens of creating Shared Value.