Corporate values are more than words in an employee handbook. Corporate values guide the behavior of every employee — everywhere and all the time, not just while you’re on the job. Sometimes we are reminded of this lesson in negative ways, such as when the personal conduct of a high-profile executive violates a company’s values and policies. But many positive examples exist, and I think it’s important we discuss them publicly to hold each other accountable. So let me give you my own example.
At One Smooth Stone, one of our corporate values is Live Generously. We believe we each have much to offer. Each has been gifted with talents and skills that can and should be realized within the four walls of One Smooth Stone AND outside them. We believe we have a responsibility to share our talents, our skills, and our financial gain with those less fortunate.
But where do you start applying corporate values outside the workplace? Here’s a tip: find something that taps into your passion. That way, living generously is a natural part of living your everyday life. For example, one of my passions is my alma mater, Northwestern University. Northwestern has helped define who I am and what I do. I’ve embraced the opportunity to support Northwestern and its mission financially and through my time and talents since the day I graduated more than 25 years ago. And this month, I am beginning a two-year term as President of the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA).
The NAA has more than 200,000 members – living alums who have graduated or who are on the path of graduating from any of Northwestern’s undergraduate, graduate, professional, and post doctorate schools. As stated on the NAA’s website, the NAA is dedicated to developing an enduring relationship between Northwestern and its alumni and friends. The NAA is committed to learning as a lifelong process and fosters Northwestern’s mission of academic excellence.
To give back in this manner, I need support from everyone around me at One Smooth Stone. And here is where corporate values come into play. When your corporate values include Live Generously, you know your colleagues are going to rally around your efforts to give back. And One Smooth Stone reinforces this support by providing time off for volunteer activities and matching gifts for every employee.
I’m humbled by the influence and success of fellow Northwestern alumni leaders with whom I have the opportunity to work, and I’m excited about the opportunity to work side by side with them to strengthen the lifelong relationship between Northwestern and its alumni who are having a profound impact on the world. I’m also humbled and grateful for One Smooth Stone’s values that empower me to contribute in a small way to have this global impact. I’m happy to tell you more about what I’m doing with Northwestern and the NAA. In the meantime, the following article from Northwestern magazine gives you more detail about what I am doing.
I encourage everyone to live generously, and I urge fellow business leaders to adopt corporate values that reinforce generous living.
Image source: http://www.gratisography.com
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