Secrets to shifting company culture and the value of caring.

It’s one thing to talk about values but as a leader what is the secret to shifting a company of 400 staff, from a purely results culture to one that cares about its contribution to the community?

To find out more I asked Dr David Cooke, Chair and Managing Director Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia (pictured below) who has done just that.

1. One of your values is philanthropy and when you first started at Konica you introduced the notion of donating to some key charities. What were some of the challenges you came across, if any?

Our decision to partner with four primary not-for-profit organisations came about after we conducted an employee engagement survey across our 400 people and one point that emerged was a desire for more “purpose” in people’s work life. I am Chair of our board as well as Managing Director and so support existed at that level. It is probably fair to say that not everyone in our Tokyo head office fully understands the business case for corporate partnerships with the not-for profit sector.

2. What do you think has been some of the rewards, if any, for Konica, staff and you?

Our budget for CSR activities ‘lives’ in our People & Culture department, which probably

gives a clue as to the primary area where we felt there were benefits to be gained. There

have been many. It has formed an invaluable part of both our recruitment and retention

strategies. Many high caliber people have joined Konica Minolta Australia in the last

few years stating it was because of our commitment to CSR. Also many have stayed

in the face of higher paying offers for this reason.

3. What has been the impact on Konica's culture?

Working with our NFP partners, and giving our staff the opportunity to support them

through volunteering days off, salary matched giving, pro bono consulting etc. has

transformed our culture. We have moved from a very disengaged workforce to a

highly engaged one. Our staff regularly come up to me and say how proud they are to work for our company. This has underpinned strong commercial results as regards

increased revenue, market share and profitability.

4. In the research around Authentic Leadership one of the key qualities that emerge is being clear on your values and acting accordingly. One of the ways you have done this is through your charitable work. What advise would you give others?

My advice for any leader is talk openly and honestly to your team members and

all stakeholders about what it is you want to achieve and ask for their support and

ideas on how you can all work together to get there. When implementing the ideas

of others of course acknowledge them and thank them publicly. Be visible, be

accessible and above all be accountable. In all the strategies I have rolled out as

key business drivers of success I have not found any as powerful for gaining the

respect of staff and clients and prospective clients as that of actively working with

NFP partners in supporting those members of the community who are less fortunate

and need assistance. Upon reflection I think there is a correlation between the level

of respect errant and the toughness of the issue being tackled. Confronting the

prevalence of modern slavery, forced labour in manufacturing processes and

supply chains and human rights abuses wherever they may exist in business has certainly boosted the reputation of our company.

About Dr. David Cooke.

David was appointed as the first non-Japanese Managing Director of Konica Minolta in Australia in 2013. The company is a global firm operating in the tech sector. He is also a non-executive director of the Australian based anti-human trafficking organisation Project Futures and Cambodia’s Together1Heart. He completed his doctorate in 2008. David’s dissertation was titled “Building Social Capital though Corporate Social Investment” which dealt with the role of profit–making corporations in partnering with the NGO sector. His work was awarded the Globally Responsible Leadership award for Social Impact in 2011 and in 2014 he was awarded the Top Alumnus of the last 20 years by the Southern Cross University Business School.

David’s thesis can be found on https://works.bepress.com/david_cooke/

Charities Konica Minolta Australia currently partners with:

The Smith Family (www.thesmithfamily.com.au)

Breast Cancer Network of Australia (www.bcna.org.au)

Landcare (www.landcare.com)

Project Futures (www.projectfutures.com/Australia)

Asylum Seekers Centre (www.asylumseekerscentre.org.au)

Women's Legal Service Queensland (www.wlsq.org.au)

Sydney Story Factory (www.sydneystoryfactory.org.au)

For more information an Authentic Leadership and culture please contact Laura at laura@yellowowl.co.uk.

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