Take care of society and it will take care of you

March 26th, 2013 @   -  No Comments

Allah tells us in the Quran You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind, you enjoin what is good (Al-Ma’ruf) and you forbid what is evil (Al-Munkar), and you believe in Allah” (Quran 3:110). This verse sets the three criteria that determine the best of people. Two of these criteria are based on action and one on belief. This goes to show that Islam is a religion of action and service to society, not just a set of rituals.

If we immersed ourselves in worship, praying to Allah all night and fasting every day all year round, how would that fulfill the spirit of this verse? Our worship would not mean anything if it did not lead to enjoining what is good and forbidding what is bad. The Prophet (PBUH) told us “the best among you is the most useful to others”.

This verse also leaves it wide open for people to enjoin any form of good and forbid any type of bad behavior. As a leader, you have so many options to do good. Most modern organisations have some kind of corporate social responsibility (CSR) program to give back to the society. These CSR programs come in all shapes and forms and cover so many areas. As a leader, how do you go about influencing your people and your organisation to be most useful to the society?

The ways to good are numerous and I am sure you can come up, if you have not done so already, with your own ways of giving back to society. I would suggest, however, that you stop for a moment and check the following:

How are you treating your own employees?

As the famous saying goes: “Charity starts at home”. Your CSR program will appear hollow if the people who are maintaining you in business are not being treated fairly. Ensure that your employees are looked after in terms of development and growth, promotion and remuneration. At the end, they are the people who are going to contribute to any CSR program and make it successful.

How are you treating your customers?

Your customers are the source of your success. If they stop buying from you, you will have no company. They also have a say on where your future lies. Are you listening to them? Are you taking care of their needs in the best possible way?

How are you treating your suppliers?

There are companies who take advantage of their vendors and suppliers, squeezing the best prices out of them. They believe this to be good for their business. But just think about it. If these service providers disappear, your business may be hurt. Treat them with fairness and pay them on time.

How are you treating your shareholders?

After your employees, customers and suppliers, your shareholders are your most important stakeholders. They may decide your future. If the business is not going the way they want, they may not want you around. The company you are running belongs to them and it is a trust in your hands. Are you taking care of this trust?

How do you treat your local community?

Your local community is for your company what soil is for a tree. A tree can’t grow without the soil in which it is planted. If the soil is bad, the tree may not grow to its full potential or may even die. So how are you treating your soil? Are you polluting the environment in any way? Pollution may come in different forms, loud noise, gases released to the atmosphere, contaminated liquids thrown in the sewage system, rivers or sea, harmful solids dumped in landfills or buried in the ground, or traffic nuisance in the neighborhood. Before we decide to do any good, we must first stop harming our environment.

Corporate social responsibility programs

Once you have taken care of the above stakeholders, you need to think about a way of giving back to your society. There are so many ways you can contribute. I suggest whatever programs you decide to implement, put aside at least 10% of your profits to these programs and encourage your employees to spend at least 10% of their working time volunteering in programs that support and strengthen the community in which your company evolves.

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