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Thought: The Ripple Effects of Giving

Reservoir resident Blake Beattie is a best selling author, speaker and management consultant with the award-winning global management consulting organisation, Quest WorldwideHe has several years’ experience sitting on boards as the Vice Chairperson of the Life Changing Experiences Foundation and as the NSW president of National Speakers Association of Australia. He is also the founder of international Pay it Forward Day, a movement that has inspired over 10 million acts of kindness in 81 countries with over 60 state and city proclamations. He shares his views on the simple, generous act of giving and the power of its flow-on effects. Making Waves The best leaders inspire greatness in other. They understand that only a few people have an opportunity to lead and that leadership is a privilege. They also understand that leaders have power. Power: to make a positive contribution; to change things for the better; and to enable individuals, teams and organisations to fulfil their potential. The difference leaders can make is phenomenal and is not limited to the company or industry he or she works in. Many leaders are able to make a difference that goes far beyond their work environment. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa Many studies reveal that companies that engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – philanthropic giving as an example, report large payoffs. An Echo Global report of over 10,000 people across 10 countries found that 93% are willing to be more loyal to the company (continue buying goods or services) and 91% would switch brands to one that supports a good cause given similar price and quality. In 2007, a number of next generation leaders of Australia were discussing ways to change Australia and the world for the better. There was lots of good conversation that didn’t seem to be going anywhere. So I focused my attention on what I could do. I had seen the movie, Pay it Forward, many years earlier and loved the concept of paying kindness forward to others without expecting to receive anything in return. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was an international Pay it Forward Day – something that inspires kind acts around the world and starts a massive ripple effect of giving in the community. The idea was born, but there was one very big problem: I had absolutely no idea on how to execute it. Fast forward to the time of writing – Pay it Forward Day has inspired over 10 million acts of kindness across 81 countries with over 60 state and city proclamations including California, British Columbia and Nevada. The growth has been phenomenal, especially considering that there has been no budget, no corporate sponsors and it has been run completely by volunteers. I’ve been lucky to learn some valuable lessons along the way that I am happy to share them with you. To create a successful, global movement that demonstrates corporate social responsibilities you need:

1. A great idea “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo Pay it Forward Day’s vision is ‘changing the world one good deed at a time.’ It is simple statement, but has proved to be very effective.  What are you passionate about that aligns with your company’s values? What is your vision in the way things could be? What could you, your team or organisation get behind that would benefit others?

2. Persistence The will to keep going when the going gets tough is vital to achieve a game changing result. Things will go wrong. The best laid plans won’t work the way you intended. Others might not rally to the cause, even though they ‘should jump at the chance.’

3. A coalition of the willing Strength comes through people aligned to a common vision. Who are the right people with the right capabilities and time to help you achieve the vision? Just like in business, you need the right people in the right roles to help you achieve your vision.

4 . Media Attention If people don’t know about you, they can’t follow and support you. The effective use of media (including game changing social media) can be a great platform to breathe life into an idea. The media has played a huge role in spreading the Pay it Forward Day message.

5.  A good plan well executed The world is full of great ideas that never see the light of day. A great plan that is actioned and reviewed regularly is critical for success. If you follow these 5 principles, you will be in good shape to making a positive change in your community. Apart from being seen by customers as a ‘company who cares’ and the business benefits that go with it, there is another good reason to contribute. Simply, it is the right thing to do. Happy difference making! To get involved with Pay It Forward Day, see here.

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