Corporate social responsibility of street cleaning: damn stupid leadership

Disclaimer: if you are the kind of person who gets irritated easily, do not read this blog. It contains an opinion that may inadvertently

Disclaimer: if you are the kind of person who gets irritated easily, do not read this blog. It contains an opinion that may inadvertently annoy you. Thanks.

Ring. Ring. I accept the call.

“Mustapha, how is your day tomorrow? Can you join us for our corporate social responsibility event? We shall be cleaning the street early morning.”

Since the caller is a close friend, I thank him for thinking about me. “This is a great initiative. Unfortunately, cleaning the street is not my current expertise. However, I could contribute Ugx. 100,000 towards the cause.”

“No. You don’t get it. We need your personal involvement. It is a great networking event also. Plus, when people see you involved, you lead by example. Come and join us. I will be there personally and my team. ”

How do you refuse a request from a man that is persistent like that – mixing leadership insights with a request.

“Unfortunately, I won’t make it this time”, I tell him.

I have learned to be open and upfront instead of making promises that are difficult to fulfill.

However, after the call, I went into reflection mood. In our kind of work, an hour is billed at about the US $100 to the US $1,000 depending on the project, a large proportion of which (over 90%) is due to value addition and intellectual property accumulated over time. Much as such deals my come once after a while, the focus is to apply oneself to activities where they add the most value.

The best idea is:

Engage in corporate social responsibility offering services that are your primary expertise. At Summit Consulting, we help not for profit entities and select religious institutions with free consulting services like bookkeeping, training, strategy support and digital presence (website development) free of charge. This way, we contribute so much that a month of say ‘cleaning the dirty neighborhoods.’ It may be a good gesture. But what about raising funds and having professional cleaners do it as well as having a village meeting to educate people about hygiene?

And what is most annoying, is the investment of much more money in promoting a corporate social responsibility event. You find the CSR event cost about just say US $1,000. But the media campaign goes for more than US $3,000? What is that for?

Want to make an impact? Spend time doing what you are best at. Make money and invest in supporting the causes you hold dear. That is why there is something called the “competitiveness of persons”, just as we have ‘competitiveness of nations.”

If your monthly salary is Ugx. 2,000,000. And your home cleaning and maintenance company charges Ugx. 500,000. Would you rather stop going to work so that you do the cleaning yourself to save Ugx 500,000 and lose Ugx. 2m? Yet that is what happens when a professional Engineer or Accountant spends half a day in neighborhood cleanup at the expense of raising funds to pay the experts to do it.

That is what I call, damn stupid leadership

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