L2L Weekender: Leading Socially Responsible Investing

Is Socially Responsible Investing A Realistic Strategy To Follow?

Socially Responsible Investing

Is your leadership going above and beyond what you do as a boss? Are you thinking beyond your day job or your specific corporate role and looking into how your decisions affect a bigger picture?

And are you considering how your influence on a personal level can impact local, regional, national, or international concerns that can benefit society as a whole?

To be sure, anyone in a position of leadership has learned specific skills that are felt in the immediate realm. The question becomes can you lead in a different way that utilizes your skills and helps promote wise investments in a much longer-term way?

Investing Your Influence

If you have been recently surfing the web and browsing through sites such as the ones owned by Fisher Investments and other companies in search of investment information, you may have come across a term that baffled you.

While sources, such as the Fisher site, may contain a capsule definition of the term “Socially Responsible Investing,” you may still be wondering what this term actually amounts to in practice.

You may also be wondering if such a strategy is even possible to adopt, or if it is the right one for you to employ in the course of your own investment activity.

What Is Meant By “Socially Responsible Investing?”

A concise definition of “Socially Responsible Investing” might run as follows: Investment activity by people who wish to support or reward companies for engaging in activity that they feel is beneficial to the international community.

For example, a person who follows the Socially Responsible Investing strategy might choose to invest in companies whose activities coincide with their own deeply held political, economic, or ecological beliefs.

They may make use of the technique of shareholder advocacy. This is the technique by which they use their power as a shareholder to influence the policies of the company they invest in.

For example, they may use this technique to influence the company into adopting better safety standards, abandoning dangerous industrial practices, or giving better pay and representation to female or minority employees.

A Practical Use Of Socially Responsible Investing Techniques

People who make practical use of their socially responsible investing principles tend to screen the companies they are willing to invest in according to three general principles.

The first principle is known as the “Negative Screen.”

The negative screen basically boils down to a practical refusal to invest in any company that sells products or engages in activities that the investor personally views as harmful or immoral.

This could translate into a refusal to invest in a tobacco company, or an oil company that is prone to oil spills and other activities that affect the environment in a negative way.

What Is The “Positive Screen” Technique?

The “Positive Screen” technique involves the investor giving their support to a company that they feel not only earns its profits in an ethical manner, but also uses these profits to support causes that the investor also approves of.

This could mean anything from a company that supports wildlife conservation to a business that engages directly in the construction and distribution of environmentally friendly solar panels.

Keep in mind that the definition of “Positive” is a highly subjective one, and will differ greatly depending on the mindset of the person who makes use of such criteria.

What Is The “Restricted Screen” Technique?

The final screening technique is usually known as the “Restricted Screen.” This means that the company in question may engage in activities that the investor may highly approve of, but may also be involved in other activities which raise a red flag of caution in their mind.

The dilemma is normally resolved when the investor weighs the effects of the company’s “positive” activity against the “negative,” and makes up their own mind whether to go ahead and invest in this company or not.

Leading Outside of Self

When a leader takes on a much larger role in which to influence decisions and uses those skills to better society, they are able to create a legacy that goes beyond their corporate role or day job.

Investing in areas that bring about a better planet is a great way to be able to look into the mirror and feel confidence and maturity about using your skills and talents toward something big.

So how are you doing in developing your personal professional skills in your career? And better yet, how can you take those skills and make a personal commitment to use those skills and talents to leave a large footprint on your leadership legacy? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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6 Steps to Creating a Leader-Focused Growth Plan

Growth Arrow

Getting a new member on your staff can be extremely exciting. This new staff member can bring needed energy and enthusiasm to your team.

When you get a new staff member or employee, it is extremely important for you and the staff member to establish a growth plan within the company.

Engineering Success

Your company works hard to actively recruit people who want to grow and managers want to see that growth help the company, as well as the talent you have recruited. In order to ensure that your new employee is able to grow their talent and become better at their job, consider establishing a growth plan with him or her.

Establishing and following through on a high quality growth plan are critical not only for your retention rate, but for the success of your employee as well.

Creating a Winning Growth Plan

Here are simple steps to creating a winning growth plan.

1. Get to know your new team member

The first step should take place during the first week the employee is hired. You should meet with your new team member. Ask them why they want to be here and what they are hoping to accomplish with their time here.

Find out what goals they have for their future life, both professional and personal goals. This early conference is very much about finding out what your new employee values and finding out how you can both help each other.

2. Create goals

After the first meeting you should take about two weeks to think about what you learned from this meeting. Tell your new employee to think about some short and long-term goals that they would like to set. Prod them to open up about what they are truly interested in, if pay drives them, coach them on what’s a reasonable payroll.

You should also take some time to think about some potential goals for your employee as well. After the right amount of time you should sit down with your new employee and talk about the goals that you each want for the employee. Be sure to listen carefully for what the employee wants for themselves.

During this meeting, you will set up some goals for the coming months and for the next year. These goals will help you and your employee focus on his or her growth and give you something to work towards.

3. Observe what skills they already have

The next thing you need to do is to assess what skills your employee has. You have some data on your employee from his or her resume. Take some time to pay attention to the way your employee performs in the office. Develop a list of skills that you notice that your employee has. You should also develop a list of skills that your employee needs to develop as they continues to grow.

4. Take advantage of performance reviews

After about a month of observing your employee, you should sit down with your employee. Give them some time to reflect on how they have performed in the last month. Ask your employee what they feel their strengths and weaknesses are.

Based on your observations and your employees strengths and weaknesses, you should be able to set a list of skills you would like for your employee to work on. List out three different skills you feel that your employee could get better at and tell your employee that you plan on supporting him or her in their quest to become better at what they do.

5. Offer training

Next, support your employee in their ability to get more skills. Arrange some professional development and training for your employee. This may require you to schedule video conferencing for your employee with experts in each of these skills, or maybe send them to a conference.

Skill development is extremely important for your employee, so you should take your time to invest in professional development for your employee. Most importantly, be transparent with your employee. Tell them that you send them to training activities and conferences because you value them and want them to get as much out of it as they want to.

6. Reflection

The final step in developing your employee as a professional is to reflect. After a year, you and your employee should conference. Reflect on the goals you set a year ago and decide to what extent the employee was able to meet those goals.

If your employee was not able to meet the goals, then you should ask the employee what they felt kept them from meeting their goal. This will form the base of next years goals. You should also reflect on the professional development the employee has received over the last year.

Continued Development

This is also a great time to talk about new strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the meeting, discuss with your employee and establish new goals for the next year as well as new skills. This will allow your employee to develop continually.

Investing in the development of your employees is critical to the success of your business in the long-term as well as the success of your recruitment efforts. Start developing your employees today!

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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