Respect, Relationship, Responsibility
Respect is the foundation of Sustainability. Respect for self, respect for others. Respect for customers and suppliers. Respect for the communities in which we operate, and the communities which we affect. And respect for our planet, which sustains all life. This fundamental position of respect acknowledges that humans need the earth far more than the earth needs humans.
Relationship arises from the foundation of respect. Relationship is what makes the world work. Contracts are necessary, but relationship is why people forgive, why they go the extra distance, why them help others succeed. And Sustainability, at its core, is about relationship. The Golden Rule (“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”) is in every major religion in the world.
Responsibility is the hallmark of healthy individuals and organizations, who accept the power that they have to change things and to be accountable for the results of their decisions and actions. Sustainability requires individuals and organizations (whether companies or countries) to review the full consequences of their decisions, and to modify their decisions accordingly.
Seven Steps to Sustainability
1. Opportunity Assessment – Go/No Go.
We meet with senior management to jointly assess the opportunities – the costs and benefits. We also assess how well a Sustainability implementation will fit the organization’s leadership style and culture, helping the executives understand any changes that might be required.. The implementation proceeds only if the projected benefits clearly outweigh the projected costs, and the executives are ready to make the commitment.
In collaboration with senior management, we design an intensive event which infuses the understanding and use of Sustainability through the organization. This event is spread across multiple days (for example, an off-site weekend), and can include representatives of all major stakeholder groups. One example of such an off-site event can be found in The Squeeze, which can be ordered on our Resources page. Major outcomes include:
- A powerful vision of the company’s future, collectively created by all participants,
- Alignment of the participants (and therefore all the company’s departments) to that shared vision, and
- A shared commitment to achieve the vision, and to hold each other accountable (and to be held accountable).
3. Initial Education.
We provide initial education during the values alignment, and then tailor additional education to the client’s unique situation.
4. Sustainability Strategy.
Based on the company’s vision of the future out of the values alignment, we facilitate the team which updates the company’s strategy to include Sustainability as a strategic strength.
Sustainability must be woven into the company’s metrics, or they will drive decisions that support the old way of operating, and will derail the sustainability implementation.
Once the strategy is in place, we help senior management and the sustainability team define the new metrics that will keep people’s decisions and actions aligned with the strategy.
6. Action Plan.
Steps 2, 3, and 4 create far more potential actions and projects than the company can possibly staff. We show the steering committee and project teams how to prioritize the various opportunities, so they can create a realistic action plan and the Sustainability implementation will succeed.
7. Team Launch.
We support the first team(s) during the initial startup, to assure success. If the team needs to learn how to be an effective team, we can provide hands-on assistance.
Or want to do a little reading to learn more? Click on our Resources tab for books, articles, courses, and blogs.
Ready to start the first dialogue with us – obviously at no cost or obligation? Contact Us