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The building blocks of change – 7 principles of Change for Good

On what foundation should you build your social change programmes? The Canadian social change expert Paul Klein presents seven principles for companies that want to solve wicked problems and at the same time strengthen their business.

What should your company's social change be based on? Here are Paul Klein's seven building blocks for inspiration. [Photo: JumpStory]
From CSR to lasting change – a series in 7 episodes

This is the fourth chapter in our series on how corporations can create real and lasting social change through your CSR efforts.

The series is based on the book “Change for Good – An Action-Oriented Approach for Businesses to Benefit from Solving the World’s Most Urgent Social Problems” by Paul Klein.

The series consists of the following articles:

1. Paul Klein has a message for corporations: Drop CSR Lite and make lasting change
2. So you want to create real social change? Here are 9 good questions to begin with
3. The Impakt Model: How to find your way to create change for good
4. The building blocks of change – 7 principles of Change for Good
5. This is how you get the employees involved
6. Map the risk of social change
7. 7 steps when you want to go from talk to action

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The decade from 2010 to 2020 was defining for the development of corporate social responsibility. It was during that period that companies really began to understand that gap between the performative rhetoric about taking responsibility and actually making a real difference to social issues.

In that decade, according to Paul Klein, business leaders began to realize that their CSR programs were not producing the results they wanted – for society or for their businesses – and that a change of gear was needed.

Making the difference the world needs if our biggest and most challenging problems are to be solved requires that organizations in public, civil society and business work effectively and with dedication – and that their efforts rest on a solid foundation.

In his book “Change for Good”, Paul Klein describes the building blocks on which his approach to CSR with real impact is based.

You get the seven principles here.

1. A company’s social purpose should embody the purpose of the management of the company, and management should embody the social purpose of the company.

2. A company’s social purpose should be based on a belief that social change benefits business and that business benefits social change.

3. A company’s social purpose should relate to the end (creating social change) rather than the means (CSR).

4. Having a social purpose is not reserved for large companies. All companies, regardless of their size, have an impact on their surroundings.

5. A company’s social purpose should be integrated with and inseparable from everything the company does to make money.

6. A company’s social purpose should be aligned with and support social issues in a way that fits the company’s unique character and culture.

7. A company’s social purpose should be genuine, continuous and unassailable.

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