One of my favorite stories is about an executive at a major commercial bank who'd just accepted an appointment as executive vice president of corporate social responsibility. A twenty-year veteran, she had previously headed several different business units, including one of the bank's largest. Soon after she accepted the position—which reported directly to the CEO—she ran into one of the other group presidents in the hallway.

"Why in the world did you take that job?" he asked her. "It's a total CLM!"

CLM? "Career limiting move." That's often the attitude you'll find inside major corporations with respect to corporate social anything. The perception is that there's no profit and no business contribution; ...

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