How my CSR duty helps build better leaders


As a member of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) workgroup I was challenged to look beyond our immediate business to see where we could make a difference in the community during lockdown. SalesSense is a founding partner of LIFT Ireland and recently I had trained to become a Facilitator, so my suggestion was to take some of this transferable knowledge and reach out to local non-profit organisations in my area. This idea was well received. I have personal connections with the local scout troops so I contacted their leaders to see if they would be interested in participating. Thankfully they were keen, and our first “roundtable” session was booked.

Many people know of the Scouts, with over 50,000 members in Ireland, but perhaps fewer are aware of the 19,000 adult volunteers who actively participate in support. As with all community organisations what often gets underestimated is the dedication, time, hard work and tireless effort that is required to be a Scout leader. In thinking about the Social side of our CSR programme my anticipation was that LIFT, with its themes of Listening, Positive Attitude, Respect, Competence, Determination, Empathy, Accountability, Honesty, and Integrity, could serve as a platform to promote these important values across the Scout leadership team.

A roundtable is a very simple concept. Over 8 sessions the group explores each of the individual LIFT themes, not through general discussions, but rather through a shared space to reflect on what each theme means to the individuals involved, and on how they can improve in these areas. There is no comment or judgement and there is certainly no right or wrong answer. I hoped that the discussions would align with and underpin the existing values that are integral to the culture within the Scouts. What I also hoped was that with this being lockdown, our first session would actually work when delivered online!

On the first evening I joined the Scout leaders’ Zoom call just after they had finished their weekly online meeting. I was met with slightly apprehensive looks. However as I explained and clarified what the guys had signed up for the atmosphere quickly relaxed and we haven’t looked back since. As we have moved week to week exploring and sharing thoughts and feelings around each theme the response from the group has been fantastic. The roundtable participants are from different backgrounds and I have found that this mix helps to build a culture of equality and understanding and in turn better communication and work relationships across the group. Feedback is great and the group has informed me that the LIFT themes are very much in-line with the principles of the Scouts and with its ethos as an organisation, which of course I was delighted to hear. As we conclude our sessions, I hope to see this group of leaders become facilitators and start to incorporate roundtable sessions themselves with their fellow leaders and the scouts themselves.

The last year has been tough with the lockdowns and restrictions. However LIFT has been a fantastic respite and for me personally, an exercise in wellness. It provides me with an awareness of how I am interacting with others, in work and my personal life, how I am behaving and my general attitude. Through my voluntary work with the Scouts, I have been proud to work with the support of the CSR team at SalesSense to bring the LIFT values that have benefitted me into the wider community. We have kickstarted something special in the Scouts and this has been a real opportunity for me to grow as a person.