All organizations have social impact — good or bad, intended or not.

Social impact is the logical consequence of an organization’s plans, decisions, and actions on the social and economic lives of employees, customers, and their communities.

Such consequences might be direct or indirect, immediate or long term. Most organizations are unaware of their social impact and, therefore, invest little time or energy in appraising it.

To understand social impact, let’s look at an organization’s first and primary customers: their employees.

If an employee’s hourly wage goes up a nickel or five pence, there are benefits to the employee, the employee’s family, and the employee’s neighborhood. That wage boost might enable that employee to take his or her family out to dinner one night a month. That outing boosts family member’s satisfaction, possibly boosts their nutrition, and brings business to a local restaurant.

If an employee’s hourly wage goes up a dollar or a euro, the benefits to the employee, family, and neighborhood are typically greater – and more longer lasting. (read more…)

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It hardly seems possible, but the time has come when high-potential millennials are assuming leadership roles.

If you take the long view, it makes sense to prepare your best, young professionals now for the big promotional step that their predecessors typically had to wait 10, 15 years or longer to expect. They’re already so “up to speed” on so many essential, differentiating aspects of the competitive marketplace that they add value now that renders the typical career maturing process obsolete. You want to keep them. And to keep them often means promoting them at a more accelerated rate than you might have normally.

Here’s the problem: They’re still young. And in many ways — judgment, emotional intelligence, perspective — they’re still immature. Fast-tracking their career path means that they necessarily skip essential skill-building and seasoning experiences that typically helped their older colleagues make wiser choices. To their credit, they know they need that extra support around critical developmental areas. (read more…)

Adapted from Organizational Behavior, Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, John Wiley & Sons, 2000, pgs. 311-15

Power or Influence? This is an important question as we navigate through our careers. The two are often confused for one another so our first step is to define them. Here are my definitions:

  • Power: The ability to get others to do something you want done, and perhaps even to complete the task the way you want it done.
  • Influence: A behavioral response to the exercise of power; you demonstrate your influence when others comply with your requests.

If you are the CEO of a company, the governance structure of that organization gives you a substantial amount of power. Unless it is a smaller organization with no board of advisors or directors, that power has its limits, and that is a checks-and-balances system that protects the interests of the various groups of owners or investors.

But there is a lot of “juice” in the comments or directives of the CEO or [resident of most firms. (read more…)

Workplace Morale 1 badgeThis post is part of the series “Workplace Morale,” a weeklong effort co-hosted by SmartBrief’s SmartBlog on Leadership and the folks at Switch & ShiftKeep track of the series here and check out our daily e-mail newsletter, SmartBrief on Leadership. Don’t subscribe? Sign up.

Workplace inspiration doesn’t happen casually. It takes intentional effort to create and maintain a safe, inspiring work environment. The problem is that most leaders put greater thought and energy into their products and services than into their culture, yet culture drives everything that happens in their organizations.

Their culture wasn’t created intentionally — it happened by default. It may not be a healthy culture, but it’s there just the same. Culture is a powerful and (usually) invisible force in organizations.

How can leaders affect workplace culture? Leaders have to pay as much attention to citizenship and values as they do to results.

Leaders can change their culture by changing the rules. (read more…)

Workplace Morale 1 badgeThis post is part of the series “Workplace Morale,” a weeklong effort co-hosted by SmartBrief’s SmartBlog on Leadership and the folks at Switch & ShiftKeep track of the series here and check out our daily e-mail newsletter, SmartBrief on Leadership. Don’t subscribe? Sign up.

It doesn’t matter if your company has 10,000 employees or five – a healthy corporate culture is the secret for healthy workplace morale. One company that takes pride in its corporate culture is The Carlyle Group. The steps co-founders David Rubenstein, Bill Conway and Dan D’Aniello have used at Carlyle can easily be applied to any size business.

Their corporate culture is built on what they call “One Carlyle.” When asked to define it, Rubenstein said, “The ‘One Carlyle’ official definition is having all Carlyle professionals collaborating seamlessly across funds, industries and geographies to deliver the wisdom, knowledge and resources required to invest wisely and create value for our investors.”

The ultimate goal of “One Carlyle” Conway adds is to make sure the company constantly differentiates itself from the competition. (read more…)