InsightsStrategy DocumentsI05/2011Public AffairsHow to manage CSRprograms efficiently andconvert them into feasibleproject...
How to manage CSR        In fact, to create a process we initially create a project,   With regard to the dimensions of a ...
How to manage CSR        •	 Search for a guilty person: with                     Depending on the phases, the problems ten...
©2011, Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation LeadershipBusiness foundation created by large companies to profession...
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How to manage CSR programs efficiently and convert them into feasible projects


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What is key for successful implementation of CSR programmes? Why do CSR projects often fail to achieve their objective? What are the criteria that can be used to select the best CSR projects?
Projects tend to expand their scope. Therefore, it is important to set the limitations from the very beginning, to define what can be included in the project and what has to be left beyond its scope.

Selection is key for deciding which projects can be developed and instrumental for overcoming the typical contradiction between the project scope and the time for its execution. The CSR criteria can help us to choose wisely, they have to be as precise as possible, adjusted to the needs of every organisation.

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How to manage CSR programs efficiently and convert them into feasible projects

  1. 1. InsightsStrategy DocumentsI05/2011Public AffairsHow to manage CSRprograms efficiently andconvert them into feasibleprojects Which Project Management codes should be applied in the direction of Corporate Social Responsibility programs? Why and where do projects which do not end well fail so often? Which possible criteria or indicators are the most appropriate for selecting the best CSR projects to be carried out? Frequently, we develop projects within an of Britain Winston Churchill said: “I am just organization: the company or business directors preparing my impromptu remarks.” This is plan their programs annually and fill them with planned improvisation. projects to be executed with the objective of 2. Processes: these are repetitive sequences of putting such projects into action, converting them actions which we often carry out, as a response to into reality. But usually there are initiatives that something continuous and specific. Professional do not fit into this framework, isolated initiatives, routines in each area or sector fall into this results of improvisation, or processes that are category. The processes are essential in order to repeated one after the other. carry out 80% of work in many organizations, but within them lies the seed of a failure or Company directors undertake 3 fundamental types difficulty to innovate. It is important to discover of initiatives in their day to day, according to Jaume which tasks are being processed needlessly, and Ribera, Professor of the Department of Production, the other way round. Technology and Operations Direction at IESE: 3. Projects: these are drawn up or developed periodically, in a single sequence. What is 1. Improvisation: without responding to any plan, important is how we do not prepare for them. they are difficult to follow, to learn from and, Projects, as well as processes and unlike therefore, to teach at a later stage. In order to improvisations, can be analyzed, followed, learnt improvise well, with a guarantee of success, and taught, we can form an opinion from them you must be a great expert on the subject. In and undertake a continuous improvement. the current cycle of accelerated disruptive Projects represent a coordinated effort within innovation and the appearance of highly the entire organization which extends over a innovative companies, the space for innovation determined period of time, they start and they and no preparation has once again opened up, finish, to achieve an objective under certain although in a different and, to some extent, specifications, involving a complex series of planned manner. As the once Prime Minister elements and resources of a differing nature.
  2. 2. How to manage CSR In fact, to create a process we initially create a project, With regard to the dimensions of a CSR project, programs efficiently that is to say, companies that propose drawing up their according to Professor Ribera we can describe 5 and convert them into feasible projects first Corporate Responsibility report initially prepare a different ones: project, the first Sustainability report, which thereafter must become an annual process, repeated every year, 1. Efficiency: meet deadlines, honor the schedule not necessarily a routine but a permanent collection, set initially. analysis, selection and publication of data. 2. Impact: to third parties, be they consumers, employees or other stakeholders. Obviously the projects show a greater interest, they 3. Team: impact on its members, especially are more interesting than the processes, as there is on their commitment with the project and an intention of achieving something more specific possible desertions. and they form part of a complete program, in this 4. Results: return on investment, increase in the value case the global CSR program of a company. of the brand, capacity to attract better resources, etc. 5. Preparation: for the future, new technologies What dimensions do projects have? and tools to apply, new capacities and talent to Ultimately, we can describe 3 key aspects which incorporate. every project must include and which must be managed correctly: The cycle and processes of Project Management 1. Cost: what is the economic cost for drawing up the There are four technical phases through which all first report, following on from the last example, or projects should pass, bearing in mind, as we have for updating of the workspace and converting it defined, that it should always have a beginning ‘One of the into a healthy and sustainable area? and an end: key skills 2. Time: how many weeks, months or even years are needed to implement, develop and finish 1. Beginning: analyze the viability, document the needed to the project, what time span are we talking case with examples of the same CSR practices in achieve about and is it acceptable by the organization, as in the case for cost? other companies, preferably of the same sector, and choose the team (internal or multidisciplinary). success in 3. Specifications: what scope does the project have, 2. Planning: draw the roadmap outlining the planthe develop- what areas are involved, is all the organization included or not, and quality as well, what level of for the project (Human Resources, Finance, Quality, Communications and Relationship ment of quality, excellence and precision? Do we want, with Stakeholders). projects, for example, to develop a good stakeholder map, including a detailed categorization and 3. Execution: create the deliverables and control the scope, costs, quality, associated risks (reputationespecially in prioritization depending on different variables? itself) and key issues that may arise, damaging intangible issues that may ruin the project. Project life cycle 4. End: reduce the project by gradually releasing areas, is people from the team, managing the deliverables flexibility at the discretion of the company and later making a complete review of the entire project. and the Initiation Post capacity to Implementation Project definition At times, projects have a different nature and we Review must know what we want to accomplish and how adapt.’ MPMM Project we want to do it: Closure Planning Life Cycle Monitoring Detailed 1. Traditional: we know the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and control Planning (Number Painter Syndrome). 2. Adaptive: we know the ‘what’ but not the ‘how’ Execution (Search Syndrome). 3. Emerging: we don not know the ‘what’ but we do Source: MPMM, 2011. the ‘how’ (Hammer Syndrome). 4. Extremes: we do not know the ‘what’ nor the ‘how’ (Lost in Fog Syndrome). One of the key skills needed to achieve success in the development of projects, especially in intangible areas Projects also go through different psychological phases, such as Corporate Social Responsibility, is flexibility depending on the mood of the team and its progress: and the capacity to adapt to circumstances or events which are necessarily changing. It is important • Enthusiasm: especially at the beginning. to prioritize, in this case, depending on acquired commitments by the Managing or Executive Board • Disillusionment: with the first problems. and other authorities in the company: CSR committee • Panic: with the serious problems and department, other departments involved, etc. and the first desertions. Insights 2
  3. 3. How to manage CSR • Search for a guilty person: with Depending on the phases, the problems tend to be:programs efficiently the negative turn of events.and convert theminto feasible projects • Blame the most innocent person: 1. Beginning: with the failure of the project. • The plan has been imposed. • There is an excess of optimism. 2. Planning: What makes a difficult project fail? • There has been no negotiation of deadlines. There are 5 factors which can lead to a project • Important actions have been ignored. experiencing different types of complications and • There is no real team. even go into a spin: • It is a linear plan, when it should be iterative (various actions occurring at the 1. Novelties: an issue derived from another that same time, not one after the other). was not initially considered, a break with what 3. Execution: was established at the beginning. • Bad management. 2. Technology: depending on the low, medium, • There is no monitoring. high or very high level of technology which we • Bad communication. are using. • There is competition to obtain resources. 3. Complexity: a need to assemble different aspects • There are no rapid results. and create interaction systems. 4. End: 4. Master copy: the most complicated issue to manage. • The project is not closed down 5. Rhythm: three types possible, normal, in time if it is not successful. competitive, critical in time. • There is no learning from mistakes made. ‘We can Indicators for the selection establish The unknown as the cause of CSR projects certain of project failure We can establish certain criteria which are useful criteria What What we know for the classification of projects in the company which have a natural link to Corporate Social which are we know we don’t know Responsibility. In any case, we must first establish useful for 2 categories:the classifi- 1. Requirements: they are qualifying criteria which cation of must be present, so that the projects are initially taken into account, pass the first screen. projects What we don’t know we 2. Facilitators: they are winning criteria that decide in the don’t know which projects finally win and become ongoing. company Possible CSR criteria:which have Source: Boston College, 2011. • Social impact. a natural • Alignment with mission, vision and values. link to Projects fail for different reasons: • Alignment with business strategy. CSR.’ • The team has been badly chosen. • Link with people and employees. • Transparency. • The project has been badly chosen (it is only an unrealizable dream). • Measurable impact. • Incorrect prioritization. • Support from CEO. • The objective is not well defined. • Innovating character. • Disregard that there is more than one ongoing project. Conclusions: some advice • Not all affected stakeholders not to be forgotten are taken into account. Projects tend to grow by nature and it is therefore • There is a lack of commitment in the team. important to limit them from the start, to know what goes in to the project and what remains outside it. • There is no common objective. Selection is key to know which projects to develop • No serious and responsible and overcome the usual dichotomy project volume/ team at one’s disposal. time to execute it. CSR criteria should help us to • Not knowing what represents choose correctly and must be as precise as possible, success in the project. also adapted to each organization. Insights 3
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