The Quest for Empathy

Empathetic leaders are in high demand and for a good reason. Studies show that employees who view their managers as compassionate tend to be more engaged. The reason is that employees want to feel that their needs are being met, they are being heard and they are valued. They want to know that their manager has a vested interest in helping them succeed that goes beyond the company’s bottom line.

Recent research by Businessolver found a staggering difference between how CEOs viewed the level of empathy at their company and how their employees viewed it. Specifically, 60 percent of CEOs viewed their company as being empathetic, compared to only 24 percent of their employees. This huge difference points to a big disconnect between executives and their workforce. But how important is empathy to the overall success of a business? Is it really that big a deal?

Follow the link below to read my full article:

https://trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/the-quest-for-empathy-how-companies-can-develop-this-crucial-skill-in-leaders/

Change Begins With Us

"If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change" - Michael Jackson

"Man in the Mirror" is one of my favorite songs.   The lyrics are so powerful.   It resonated with me from the minute I heard it, all those years ago.  Michael Jackson's lyrics, while deeply personal, speak to the dilemma we all face as humans.  We acknowledge that there is so much suffering in the world.  We realize that so many are in need of help, that so many are alone.  We want desperately for the situation to change.  We wish for the world to be better.  Yet when it comes to taking action, we look to others to make it happen.  We discourage ourselves from acting because we doubt ourselves.  We think we're "just one person" and that our voice is "too small" to be heard.  So we do nothing.  We say nothing.  And the suffering continues.

The reality is that each of us has the power to change the world.  Each of us can do something every day to help someone in need.  No act of kindness is too small. 

Is there a homeless person that you see on your way into Starbucks or the pizza place?  Maybe you can buy them breakfast or a slice of pizza.  Do they have a pet?  Dog or cat food, or supplies for their pet would be greatly appreciated.  Many would forego a meal themselves in order to feed their pet.   Winter will be here soon, and socks are a clothing item that is rarely donated but in great need among the homeless.  Another item is thermal undergarments (long johns).  Consider gifting a few pairs to someone you see on the street.

We can all make the effort to perform one act of kindness daily.  It starts with the individual.  The person looking back at you in the mirror.   

Here's a link to "Man in the Mirror" on YouTube.  Listen, be inspired, and make that change!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PivWY9wn5ps

With Gratitude

I want to take a moment to thank all of my followers, readers, and supporters.  This journey has been incredible, and you have all made it so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the way "A Million Dollars In Change" has been received.  What's most exciting for me is the thought of all the good it can inspire.  I look forward to hearing from you as you read the book, and begin your journey of making your company a great place to work by making your community a better place to live!  I am always happy to connect with my readers and fellow writers/authors, so if you’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn give me a follow!  I promise I’ll follow back :)

To my fellow authors, those published and those who are still on the journey toward publishing their first book – have faith, stay the course, and remember the goal: write what you love.  Write because you have a story to tell and knowledge and experience to share.  Don’t write to become “rich and famous” (authors rarely do).  Do it because you have a burning desire to connect with people and make the world better.   If you stay true to your purpose the journey, even with its ups and downs (and there will be ups and downs), will be amazing.

PS – I just set up a YouTube channel for my videos.  You can access and subscribe to it here:

Alessandra Cavalluzzi - A Million Dollars In Change

Demystifying the World of Corporate Giving

There are so many different things to consider when starting a charitable giving program.  If you're new to the world of corporate giving, it could be quite overwhelming.  I recently wrote an article for CEO World magazine about this very topic.  In it I discuss some things to keep in mind as you begin your journey to help you stay the course - and keep your sanity!

Follow the link below to the article.  For more tips, pick up a copy of "A Million Dollars In Change" on amazon.com by clicking on the "Buy the Book" link on this site.  

http://ceoworld.biz/2018/06/22/fact-fiction-and-fear-demystifying-the-world-of-corporate-giving/

Purpose Is Key

How well do you know your company’s purpose, its reason for existing? Knowing your company is more than just knowing what types of products you manufacture or sell, what kind of services you offer, or the benefit plan your employees receive. What you need to know are your organization’s goals and objectives. You must understand your corporate culture, and why your company does what it does.

The reason it’s so important to begin with understanding your company’s purpose is because your program’s goals and objectives will need to be aligned with your company’s goals in order for you to create measurable and sustainable impact in your community.  You should take the time to get to know the decision makers at your company if you don’t know them already. What is their leadership style? Are they receptive to new ideas? What do they think about charitable causes and community service? It’s time to start these conversations and ask questions. Think of it as a fact-finding mission to gather intel you’ll use to create a community involvement program that will engage your employees and create impactful and measurable change in your community.

If you’re in an HR leadership role, you’ll be able to tap your senior leaders for their input and for the data you need. If you’re not in human resources, a good place to start having a conversation about starting a charitable giving and volunteer program would be with your HR leaders. First find out what, if anything, your company is currently doing on the philanthropy front.  Your colleagues are another excellent resource, and knowing what they think will help you tremendously.  Charitable giving and CSR help strengthen the connection between employees and their company. So you’ll definitely want to include employee feedback as part of your strategy. It will also help you determine the type of program that would be best received by employees. Once your program launches, you’ll need supporters, and showing your peers that you value their thoughts and opinions early on will help create that support team. Those supporters will play a key role throughout your process, from program launch to embedding giving into your company culture. Tell a group of your peers about your ideas and ask them if you can pick their brains a bit.

A word of advice: begin at the beginning. If you’re starting your program from scratch (which is where I was starting from), you’ll probably want to hold off on going the full CSR route, as that would be like going from a bicycle to a Ferrari, and it’s likely to get nixed by your leaders.  I go into detail about the difference between charitable giving and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs in my book, "A Million Dollars In Change".  Start small. Identify the resources you already have at your disposal, and build from there. The big splashes will come later. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want leadership to buy into your idea, you have to show that it’s doable, and more important, that it’s doable without breaking the bank. Remember, we’re going for a million dollars’ worth of positive, impactful change without having to actually spend a million dollars to achieve it!

Doing Something Beats Doing Nothing, Every Time

Myth: 

You need to invest a lot of money in a workplace giving program to do it right.

Reality:

Perhaps the biggest myth I’ve heard about starting a workplace giving program and the one that’s at the heart of why I wrote this book, is that you have to make a significant dollar investment to launch a program.  You will be happy to know that not only is this not true, but you can actually launch your program with little to no investment and still make an impact in your community.  How do I know?  Because that’s exactly what I did.

Many events, such as clothing and food drives, cost your company nothing and still benefit nonprofits and the people they serve.  Organizing a volunteer effort is also a no- or low-cost activity.  Starting your program off with these types of events has other benefits as well.  It gives you an opportunity to gauge employee interest, and in doing so allows you to gather data to build a case for future funding and program expansion.  Understand that there is no such thing as “not good enough” when it comes to giving.  Doing something trumps doing nothing any day. 

(From "A Million Dollars In Change: How to Engage Your Employees, Attract Top Talent, and Make the World a Better Place")

Interested in learning how your company can get started in creating impactful change in the community?  Order your copy of “A Million Dollars In Change” today by clicking on the "Book" tab and selecting "Buy".

We Have Lift-off!

Hey everyone!

I've been MIA on the blog the last few months.  Sorry about that, but I do have a good reason.  I was preparing for the launch and official release of "A Million Dollars In Change".  I'm excited to share with you that the book is now officially available for sale!  You can go here to order your copy:  http://www.alessandracavalluzzi.com/preorder-the-book/

It's been an amazing journey watching my vision come to life.  It's surreal, actually, to hold my book in my hands.  A great feeling, for sure, but I'm most excited about the potential it has to bring about impactful change both inside your company and out in the community.

I’ll be sharing some insight on the publishing journey in future blog posts for anyone who is interested in embarking on a writing career or publishing a book of their own.  It definitely requires time, patience, and a lot of hard work.  There will be peaks and valleys.   Things will go wrong, then they'll go right.  You'll create, revise, and revise again.  You'll have moments of excitement and moments of utter frustration.  Then everything will come together perfectly in the end.

More on that to follow.  In the meantime, I want to give you a heads-up about a group we’ve just created over on Facebook called "Million Dollar Change Agents".  It's a gathering place for anyone who wants to make their company a great place to work by making their community a better place to live.  We’ll be discussing how to put the tips and tactics outlined in “A Million Dollars In Change” into action.  The group is open to everyone, so come on over!  We’d love to have you.

Click the link below to be taken to the group page:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/milliondollarchange/groups/?ref=page_internal

Favorite Things: Books

When I'm not writing I can usually be found with my nose in a book.  I love to read, and winter is the time of year when I am able to catch up on my book addiction since the weather here in New York isn't always the most favorable.  What better way to spend a snow day or a frigid night than curled up with a mug of hot cocoa and a compelling page-turner?

I'm currently reading "The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  The authors describe the book as follows:  "we explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work."

I'm really enjoying this book because it's chock full of practical advice and examples of how we can create amazing moments which benefit others (and ourselves in the process).   When I stop and think on it, serving others creates many such experiences.  The act of helping another person, showing compassion and caring, making someone feel that they are important, that they are not alone, is life changing.  Community service and giving create many moments just like these for the beneficiaries and the volunteers.  I highly recommend reading "The Power of Moments" and I will definitely incorporate some of these ideas in my day to day work.

What are some of your favorite books? Share below in comments!

PS - Have some old books around the house that are gently used?  Consider donating them to this awesome nonprofit:  www.thebookfairies.org