Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Building the Fundamentals

When I was interviewing for my new position, I was informed that my role would be to build a program from scratch. So, I expected to think through some of the company's risks, review processes and work toward making recommendations.

Little did I realize that I'd have to take a few steps back!

In my first week-and-a-half of work, I've been working with our Sourcing and Supply Chain teams to build very basic processes such as onboarding a new supplier and determining a scorecard of metrics to rate supplier performance. It's been a very steep learning curve and I've had to not only learn the company, but I've had to familiarize myself with the industry and the intricacies of a global supply chain.

Even though I'm completely out of my element and trying desperately to understand our quality standards, purchase order processes, product capabilities testing, costing and production processes, I've realized this gives me a very unique opportunity. It's been frustrating at times, but I actually have a seat at the table during these discussions and I'm responsible for ensuring that social and environmental factors are included in processes and measurements.

From my past experience and from speaking with other CSR practitioners, I think it's typical for CSR to be "layered" onto existing processes and systems. We focus on finding ways to integrate CSR into business processes and finding opportunities to influence process change. Here, we're building processes and systems together, incorporating CSR considerations from the outset!

While it's forcing me way out of my comfort zone and while we're moving at lightning speed (much faster than I've had to work in a long time), I'm very excited at the possible outcomes and having a voice at the very beginning.


  1. it would be neat to put your experiences and insights into a series of chapters leading into a "how-to" book on learning, connecting, networking, listening, taking many steps back before taking foward steps, etc... on CSR journey

  2. Thanks for your comment, Ann. I wish it were that simple! I don't think there is a straightforward way to approach CSR, since different industries and companies can behave so differently.

    I know that my counterparts at other companies have different challenges, areas of focus, etc. than I may, but I hope sharing my own experiences is helpful!