Why Going Local is the New Global

Companies can apply the rule of “act locally and think globally” in the communities they touch to encourage their employees and customers to be global citizens who create global solutions.

One of the biggest mistakes companies can make when picking a cause to engage the world with is focusing on national or international tasks when they should be looking in their own backyard.

I remember giving the idea to Scott Moorehead, CEO of TCC, of doing good in Zambia, Africa at a school that I had built with the help of my church, God’s House in Marion, Indiana. His response? “How is this going to connect to each of my employees so they are engaged on a soul level?” It was a moment for me to reevaluate how I was to embark on engaging his 3,000+ employees through a cause that mattered to them personally. I was going to go hyper local.

Here are several things I learned along my adventure of choosing a cause that aligned with his business and his employee’s souls. These lessons formed a Culture of Good movement that now has expanded to several other companies that are doing the same with great results.

1. Supporting organizations and people who are part of the local neighborhoods employees are serving goes a long way in building customers and employee loyalty.

Local businesses and their philanthropic initiatives are crucial to any local economy. They represent long-term stability and cultivate a sense of community in the area, as well as offer stable jobs and build long-term relationships.

2. Because a company’s employees live within the community, they care most about the impact their business has on the surrounding area and conduct business responsibly.

Culture of Good, founded by billion-dollar CEO Scott Moorehead and I, focuses on giving back to local communities rather than global causes, and as a result, inspires employees and impacts companies’ bottom lines.

3. Weaving philanthropy into a company’s core activities gives employees permission to do good while they work and allows customers to see the positive impact their dollars have on their local communities.

Scott and I’s example at TCC, a Verizon retailer with 800 stores in 38 states, has made giving back locally a priority. TCC has done everything from donating $1M to a local children’s hospital to providing 700,000 backpacks to date over the last 5 years full of school supplies to children in an annual giving program.

4. Acting locally and thinking globally urges individuals and companies to consider the betterment of the entire planet by taking grassroots action within their own communities.

To succeed globally, companies must cater to local consumers who are demanding businesses hold themselves accountable for their actions, which have an inescapable global impact. Doing good creates a positive impact.

5. Consumers increasingly believe being a responsible company is about more than good business operations. 70 percent of Americans believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to their everyday business, and 87 percent would purchase a product because that company advocated for an issue the they cared about, according to the 2017 Cone Communications study.

There’s a reason the phrase “act local, think global” is used both in terms of business strategy and for climate change initiatives. Both instances ask companies and citizens to consider the wider impact of their actions. Looking at multinational issues through a local lens is a great way for companies to get involved in world issues. Strengthening ties with local communities by doing good while recognizing worldwide responsibilities allows companies and those who work for them to transform into true global citizens.

What local cause will you choose and does it align with your business strategy? If it does, your company is well on it’s way to inspiring employees, igniting positive change in the world, and impacting your bottom line.

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