If you do, don’t bother calling me. Unfortunately, I’m just a beginner and wouldn’t be much use to a company that needs someone who really knows what they’re talking about. The good news for you, however, is that there now an extraordinary number of corporate responsibility experts, authorities, advisors, and consultants.
Here’s one of the most glaring ironies of corporate responsibility: On the one hand, “authenticity” is one of the foundations of corporate responsibility. On the other hand, most of the people who claim to be “experts” have only been at it for a few years, only entered the field because they thought it would be lucrative, and aren’t nearly as authentic as their clients.
The truth is that it’s impossible to be expert in an area that involves so many disciplines (i.e. marketing and communications, supply chain, HR, purchasing, operations, and so on) each of which require years of experience to really understand.
At Impakt, we know at lot about how corporations and non-profits organizations work together. Others can blend their knowledge in a particular area with a genuine passion to make a difference and be of great help to their clients. There are also non-profit organizations like BSR in the U.S. and CBSR in Canada who are highly credible and provide high value programs and advisory services to their members.
Be cautious, however, about working with others who claim to be corporate responsibility experts but don’t have the goods or the commitment.
I can’t remember where I heard this but there’s a great quotation that goes something like “An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing at all.”
Paul Klein is president of Impakt Corporation, a Toronto-based outfit that helps corporations increase the returns on their community investments.