How to get to "yes" or "no" in business today

A successful manager recognizes arriving at a decisive “yes” or ”no” regarding internal or external requests is not as easy as it was once. As the complexities of global commerce increase and stakeholders are given more power, getting a definitive answer can be a challenge. However, a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ still needs to be given in order for business goals to be met and for the strategic direction of any program or business function to stay on track. In our most recent webinar, Focus and Flexibility: The strategy of 'yes' and 'no', two of our member companies spoke on how they are able to arrive at a point of decisive direction while maintaining the ability to be flexible to new opportunities.

Amy Casavant, AVP Volunteer & Work Life Programs Manager at Old National Bank, was able to provide us with her “how-to’s” for assessing different proposals and opportunities, then determining what is best for Old National Bank and their community. Amy and her team direct their main programs towards financial literacy education as it provides the perfect synergy between the core of their business and corporate citizenship activities. However, Casavant also recognizes the “need to have a degree of flexibility to foster the relationships that are needed for business success,” which is why they constantly conduct assessments within the community and their own employees. Specifically, Old National Bank has a Community Investment team in place to lead these assessments in an effort to find out the true needs of their community. For example, the Community Investment team learned one of the small towns that they operate in is struggling with hunger, so they created a program which matched employees with a passion to help with this cause to that particular community. Casavant has found being able to tailor to certain situations has made their brand stronger in that people will start banking at Old National Bank simply because they heard of the good work they are doing for their neighbors. Customers are looking for that local community feel.

Similarly, Nicole Robinson, Senior Director of Community Involvement and President of Mondelez Foundation at Mondelez International spoke on how they were able to use their business’ historical context to develop a framework for evaluating different community opportunities. Robinson emphasized the point that this framework can be used to say yes or no to anyone—from the CEO of the company to local non-profit organizations—making it an integral part of Mondelez’s corporate citizenship strategy. Much like Old National Bank, Mondelez chose to support an important societal issue closely related to their main business objective of combating obesity. They have taken a multi-prong approach to help eradicate this prominent issue though nutrition education, active play promotion, and access to fresh and healthy foods. Because obesity is an international issue their program is relevant across all of their global operations, and needs to be particularly flexible due to its broad goals. Robinson explains they are able to increase their global impact by using their framework to stick to their strategic direction and being able to relay this consistent message and goals to senior management. They have created allies throughout the organization to help strengthen the program and promote the vision and purpose of their corporate citizenship programs. She has found through consistency, strategy, and finding allies they are able to grow their internal programs effectively.

To learn more about Old National Bank and Mondelez International’s corporate citizenship programs and the strategies these leaders use to get to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ please visit the webinar on-demand here. Also, be sure to explore the details of our 2014 International Corporate Citizenship Conference and register today!