Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Doing good for the community, redux

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A reader (in a direct email to me) very justly pointed out that my original post had a number of flaws. For instance, my blog would lead you to believe that issues relating to ‘doing good for the community’ are recent concoctions of places like business schools. Of course, this is false, and, as the reader points out, “groups like Kiwanis and Rotary, groups made up of business leaders looking to “give back to the community through service” have been around for generations, and continue to thrive.” Moreover, my blog may have inadvertently conveyed the idea that I think all ‘doing good for the community’ is hooey or only slyly done by business for PR reasons. 

The original post certainly inadequately conveyed my thoughts on the issues at hand. The main point was intended to be: businesses do great good by being good businesses. And, as a follow-on, leaders do great good by leading their organizations effectively. And, we have suffered difficult economic times recently, in part, because many people did not lead their organizations effectively. (Of course, some very capable leaders have ultimately succumbed after waging great battles to right their businesses in these enormously challenging times, too. This is not a blanket indictment of all leaders at every failed or struggling firm.)

This poor leadership has caused devastating consequences – both for markets as a whole, but more importantly, for men and women now without employment, or with diminished savings because of lost company valuations, or suffering a host of other ills.

So, while leaders can ‘do good for the community’ (as can businesses) through a variety of activities – participating on non-profit boards, as one example – they can do tremendous good by first creating and developing successful, profitable businesses


Written by Russell S.

October 1, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Ethics

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