Dilip Barot’s focus on low income housing in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and how other leaders can find their passion for a cause that matters!
Over the last few weeks, I have shared a topic very important to me…Social Entrepreneurship. The idea of giving something back while being successful in business may sound like a conflicting ideal. But as the founder of Creative Choice Group in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; I have seen first-hand how even the smallest effort can make a significant impact on a community. Our team focuses on developing low income housing and bringing technology to those in need of access to jobs and education. As experts in commercial real estate, we have been fortunate to find investments that fit both our financial and social oriented goals. And while it is not uncommon for successful leaders to be involved in multiple causes, it is important to recognize that over-extending and overcommitting in your organization can fragment your success and threaten the achievement of your service objectives. To make a difference, it is important to pick a cause that matters to you and focus your energies accordingly.
Interestingly, the process of selecting a cause is not unlike the process used to decide your business discipline. In both cases, you need to consider your personal interests/skills with available opportunities to find the perfect fit. So where do you start?
If you are an aspiring social entrepreneur, you probably have a general idea about the issues that are important to you. You may have multiple areas of interest – education, the environment, pro bono work or lawsuit support, feeding the poor etc. But now is the time to consider which issues are most important to you.
I recommend you start by ranking the issues you care about according to personal importance. Then, starting at the top of the list, consider how each of these issues would fit with your business and industry. The goal is to come up with a handful of causes that mesh with both your personal passions and your business model.
After you have narrowed down you list, the next step is to explore the opportunities that are available in your local community. Even if your business consists of multiple locations, it’s important that each location be perceived as contributing to local needs. For example, if your business is located in Missouri, championing the cause to save the whales may be a hard sell. Once you have selected something of interest, start getting involved in a cause that seems to be the best fit for both you and your business. Your personal involvement will educate you about your cause and prepare you to communicate its importance to others in the organization.
Finally, before you act on integrating your cause into your company mission and business strategy, you should consider whether you are truly committed to all that your cause entails. It is not just about the cost or time required. But also how it may shape the decisions your company will make going forward.
I believe that as good corporate citizens we have the opportunity and even the responsibility to think beyond our pocket book. Find a cause that matters to you and see how the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference!