By Robyn Henderson

A global citizen could be defined as someone who looks at the bigger picture – the global picture, and adapts that world view to their own community or organisation. Master networkers all share that global vision. As Anita Roddick says ‘Think globally, act locally’. Global citizens individually are conscious of their own triple bottom line. The triple bottom line – another buzz word or faddish jargon or is it the answer to the corporate world profits today. Many companies reviewing their poor results for the year are considering that possibly striving for profits above all else is, in fact, backfiring on them and driving the profits down. As a citizen is it just about how much money we can make and spend or does quality of life matter a lot more than just $$$.

So what is the triple bottom line? Companies or individuals consciously focussing on a combination of:

People, Planet and Profit

Rather than making profit or money their sole motivator, enlightened organisations and individuals are looking beyond the dollars and creating preferred working environments. Places where people seek employment, not just for the salary packages but rather for their company’s commitment to the community as well as the environment. Companies that are aware that 10-12 hour days are not healthy for the company or the individual. Mistakes are made from fatigue and lack of concentration. Preferred workplaces where senior managers literally chase their managers out of the building after 6pm – encouraging them to get home and have a life. For some this new way of thinking is frightening and needs some major adjustment in their life. For others they talk in high praise of the organisation that they feel part of. The community, that they, as individuals, share.

So let’s look at what has triggered this movement. In the 90’s we saw dramatic retrenchments, downsizing, re-engineering, call it what you will, the bottom line was there were less and less people to do the same amount of work.

Even high salaries weren’t enough to keep good workers; they started to look for more balance, more company caring. Networking events abounded with speakers talking about ‘finding balance’, ‘looking within’ and saying no to increased demands from employers. Many resigned only to be invited back as consultants at often a much higher rate of pay and hours to suit the individual rather than the company.

Television shows like ‘Sea Change’ shot through the roof with their ratings as people considered how they could make their own sea change and many did.

Astute investors are looking for ethical investments; putting their money and energy behind supporting companies who are clearly showing support of the environment and the community. Some organisations are seconding their staff to work on a part or full time basis with community groups- a very humbling experience for many.

Visibility is critical – Be Seen, Get Known, Move Ahead

The basis of the triple bottom line is the basis of networking – treat people the way you would like to be treated. So how can we do this on a practical basis, how can we become master networkers and global citizens, with our own triple bottom line awareness?

Here’s a few simple ideas you may consider:

Do your homework on your service providers. Do they support the community?, How well are their staff treated? If you don’t agree with all of their policies, look for an alternate provider, even if it costs a little more.

How much money do you spend in your local community? The ripple effect from spending locally provides employment, keeps businesses trading and most of all keeps money circulating locally.

Where do you make your larger purchases? Would paying 5% more make that big of a difference to you if you were able to purchase within 10 minutes from home?

What about travel and holidays? With the weakened Australian dollar, more travellers are realising the magnificence of their own country and region. A travel agent recently told me that most Australians have seen more of the World than they have of their own State. How well do you know your own neighbourhood and city, let alone state or country?

Do you recycle? Most homes these days are equipped with recycled garage areas and are well supported. But what about recycling larger goods, like books, outdated computer equipment, mobile phones and furniture? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Many charities can often arrange collection of sizable donations of goods.

Is buying Australian made goods and products important to you? Sometimes you may have to ask many questions to find these products, maybe even write to a supermarket or department store requesting Australian made items. Global citizens know that long term it’s about short term pain for long term gain for you and the country. What if all CDs, books and videos made and produced in Australia, bore an ‘Australian Artist’ sticker?

As the triple bottom line becomes the rule rather than the exception, global citizens will network more and more with like minded individuals and support organisations who realise that it’s not up to the Government or the boss, it’s up to me. And as a wise person once said IF IT’S TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME.

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