Was financial alchemy invented? To answer this question that interests CFOs, constantly on the lookout to reduce the fixed costs that plague company accounts and turn them into wealth, I must go back in time. Over thirty years ago, my mother Chantal, a tall brunette with green eyes and a sincere smile, stunned us, my brother Renaud and me, one winter evening. She came home accompanied by a refrigerated Portuguese tramp!
This remake of the beauty and the tramp, version ‘raw’, first grabs our nostrils, I still remember the scent emanating from the man. We learned that ten minutes earlier, our mother had spoken to him in the street, saying: “You can’t stay here, it’s so cold, you’re going to die, you have to go”. ” No thanks “, he would have answered politely. She then added “If you have nowhere to go, would you like to come over to our house for dinner to at least warm up? “. Faced with this woman who considered him as a human being, while everyone saw him as a “naughty” being, he had accepted.
My mother invited her to wash while she threw a washing machine. He only gave her his anorak, not weighing down dozens of pieces, but no switchblade (this knife that fascinated me). He stayed a long time in our small bathroom and after a hot dinner, unable to imagine that he would leave to die outside, we were rather embarrassed about what to do next. He then asked us if we had… a cellar, thus relieving my brother and I to know which of us would offer his bed if he decided to stay. “Yes and it is even very heated” we answered sincerely before going down in family to install it on a cot. After a dilemma between locking him up for his safety or leaving it open for his freedom, we left, with his agreement, our individual cellar open and closed the access to the cellars which would have attracted attention.
The next morning, at dawn, with a thermos of coffee and the anorak which had dried, he told us that he had enjoyed it so much that he would like to settle there the following nights. Why not ? What a great idea, I thought, already motivated to help him survive in better conditions. But anxious to find a median solution with our neighbors, we asked the guardian, Madame da Silva. While we expected an empathetic mediator during this New Year’s Eve we encountered a categorical accuser. She despised him in the “original version” for shaming his roots and in the “French version” she told him to leave and never come back, glaring at us as if we were sorcerer’s apprentices of kindness. Thus ended the initiative of the “caves of the heart”, initiated by chance by my mother. Our one night guest never returned to the neighborhood. If he survived and if, by a miracle, he reads these words that he contacts me because this story is not over.
I’m telling you this story because I discovered a surprising article on LinkedIn that professes no lessons and no winners. It simply puts in the spotlight the offices of the heart where a top leader, Pierre-Yves, offers his office at night to Souleymane a “homeless” (they say in the US) which bounces back.
For my part, I remain disturbed by these experiences, because from a young age, I thought that giving… cost. I even considered that the generosity was proportional to the euros committed. The heart offices initiative shows me that housing a homeless guest costs nothing, is undeniably good and saves the community a lot of euros. In short, you can be very generous without putting your hand in the wallet.
Indeed, why do we give so often? France Gall, who I miss so much, would answer me with her famous refrain “Give everything, It’s the only way to love, Give to give, It’s the only way to live …”. France, of course, but why should the company, also called a “legal person” (that’s a shame!), Not give without expecting anything in return? Why these rational organizations, always in competition, which do not live on donations and which pay taxes in abundance, give without hoping to collect, for example, advertising or notoriety? She might answer me “Ludo is not to waste donations because in life you know that ‘All that is not given is lost’ ». Thank you to Antoinette Seillière, whom I greet here, because it is from her that I heard, for the first time, this Indian saying which still inspires me today.
I believe that companies whose leaders and managers who practice this waste hunt all year round should jump at the opportunity to make donations, because “yes”, a donation is lost forever when you do not have it. realized. Out of shyness, out of distraction, we didn’t think about it or we gave it up because we were taught from an early age “That to be too good … is to be too stupid”. Some donations also have the gift of virality. They infect you, making you want to do as much as Lydia Meziani with this one. A virtuous circle, even a butterfly effect, can affect the whole world. This generous impulse ends with recipients “immune” because they have certainly been betrayed in the past. They tell you, sincere, that this tree of generosity hides a forest of hidden interests! Their saying is « there is no such thing as a free lunch », nothing is free in life, I was told in NY city where I was doing my MBA. I did not care about their depressing ideas because I clearly felt when I invited with my half-salary of assistant to the dean (Hi Mr Feinstein), the “american girl” of my night dreams (Hi Jessica Miller) that I wasn’t calculating a return on my investment but I appreciated the chance to live this present moment.
In addition, when a donation meets an outstretched hand, human warmth spreads, smiles are born, chills run through your body. Humanity becomes more generous than petty, more altruistic than selfish and maybe the great Manitou watchmaker who plays with our emotions and our passions goes beyond his anal stage and swears to the whole earth “To hell with greed” ! He refrains from moralizing and resigning us and makes everyone fall in love, which is the best gift he can give us to make us happy. In short, galvanized by the pleasure of giving, I left a message to my friend at PwC who generously (but not for free) advises CFOs.
I told him: “You finance the day and aquarist at night, what do you think of the heart offices? PwC and The sentimental company could scan together all the fixed costs of companies … to use them to do good without costing them anything. “
He called me back and said: « Imagine that all companies think of looking at their fixed costs in this way, there are tons of opportunities for positive externalities that would be released into the atmosphere. With a trusted third party like you rather than Ms. Da Silva, I imagined these innovations for CFOs who are often, wrongly, judged to be heartless. Admittedly, the word “donation” should not be taken in an overly restrictive sense, because it can be an act requiring a modest financial contribution for reasons of responsibility, for example, but without commonality with a commercial act. which implies a profit “.
1. The use of our car-sharing company vehicles when they are sleeping in our garages
2. The loan of our tools on weekends to the company’s handymen
3. Access to our best meeting rooms, for post-communion meals for our employees, customers and suppliers
4. The use of our canteens for association meals in line with our values
5. The half-time of our employees placarded for causes which motivate them,
6. Access to the address books of our managers to open doors to all our deserving interns that we cannot hire
7. Donation (in the strict sense) of non-state-of-the-art workshop or shopping equipment to charities.
In short, let’s use everything that is already funded to do good without paying anything! We’ve all dreamed of it, but we’re gonna do it before we regret not having done it. Long live #financeforgood and #entreprisesentimentale.
Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.
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