Citizen Thinks August 18, 2015

Doing well by doing good

Doing well by doing good

I recently stumbled upon a TEDTalk by policy advisor Simon Anholt, titled “What country does the most good for the world” which focuses on the importance of international empathy and collaboration in an increasingly interdependent, globalized world. Anholt notes in his talk that problems which used to be local in scope now have the capacity to exert global influence, using viral pandemics and economic catastrophes as examples.

Anholt postulates that globalization has allowed for a widespread transition from the micro to the macro; a phenomenon that has had an impact on everything from medicine and world hunger to narcotics trafficking and armed conflict. The problem, he continues, is that while many of the planet’s problems have been globalized, we as a species, have failed to sufficiently globalize the solutions to them.

The root of this problem is what Anholt calls “cultural psychopathy”, the tendency for citizenry and governments to consider domestic and international concerns as mutually exclusive. Anholt argues that human beings are generally good at exercising empathy, but notes that limitations often emerge when people are forced to consider the well being of others from different cultural backgrounds, leading to selfish foreign policy.

The solution, Anholt argues, is to look outwards not inwards, to consider political problems telescopically instead of microscopically. In his opinion, the remedy for most, if not all, political problems can be found through an international approach that holistically considers the needs and values of all parties involved.

Anholt created the Good Country Index, a matrix that evaluates countries not by GDP or military might, but instead by the contributions a nation makes to the global community. By quantifying which countries did the most “good” for the world, Anholt stumbled upon another discovery: that a nation’s “goodness” was tied to its global appeal for trade and diplomacy.

This correlation between international contributions and domestic wellbeing is significant because it demonstrates that exercising empathy on an international scale is a win-win situation if you will. And that got me thinking: if this concept works in the political sphere, can its lessons be translated to the corporate world as well?

Citizen Relations has three simple core values – Strive for Excellence, Respect Everyone, and Do the Right Thing.

The fact that doing the right thing is enshrined in Citizen Relations’ codified rules of engagement was one of the factors that drew me to work at the organization in the first place. Now, after actually working here, I can happily report that this pillar is more than a slogan, it is a genuine commitment.

All three pillars, including Do the Right Thing, are entrenched in the corporate culture here at Citizen, and are part of everything from client relations to personal evaluations. Your success at this organization is directly correlated to embodying these values, and it’s a wonderful thing. For me and our clients.

As Anholt demonstrates in his illuminating TEDTalk, doing the right the thing is good for everyone involved. We no longer need to see personal success and altruism as completely separate. Despite what your primary school grammar teacher told you, doing well and doing good can be one and the same.

Chris Williamson is an Account Executive at Citizen Relations.

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