I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with business owners about the benefits of applying a green mindset to their organization. Did you know that green businesses have outperformed their traditional counterparts throughout the recent economic downturn by 15%? Not to mention that, since green is so hot right now, green-focused businesses routinely get increased media attention.
Many self-reliant business owners have started businesses on a shoestring and kept going through long hours and years of dedicated toil. So it’s not surprising that they tend to take this approach: “We’re can start a green program on our own. We don’t need ‘outside’ help.”
Yes, it is important to build a strong internal capacity for any structural change within a business. It’s never successful or lasting to simply hire an outside gun to come in and tell everyone what to do. It just will not be integrated or authentic to your company.
So, growing a green program organically from within is a practical approach. At the same time, it can be very powerful to enlist the right mentorship at the beginning. As Raymond Holliwell observed, “I always advocate that it is better to get a good start, when possible, by getting help, rather than to come over the slower and more arduous path of self-education. Then, the student . . . will be able to make rapid progress.”
Many of my clients are already deeply committed to a green path, and have taken action. They come to me feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or lacking broad support in their organization. All of these are symptoms of an uncoordinated green program – lots of small tactics, but lacking a coherent vision that sustains and inspires everyone.
How do you know if you are headed in the right direction? These seven questions will help you find any blind spots you may have:
1. Where is this goal on your list of priorities?
2. How will embarking on a greening program benefit your organization?
3. How important is it to know where you are starting from and where you want to go?
4. Do people on your green team need training in sustainability principles or effective tactics?
5. Are you selecting people based on certain qualities that you know are needed in order for this to be a successful movement in your company? Or, simply because they are enthusiastic about green?
6. Will people need ongoing leadership and accountability? Milestones, check-ins, troubleshooting?
7. Imagine if, at the end of 6 months, you’ve designed and embarked on a strategic greening program, what would that be like for your organization? How might that impact your reach, your finances, and your creativity?
Your answers to these questions will help you diagnose where you may be encountering challenges in your greening program. Are people wheel-spinning? Do you detect apathy or a general lack of buy-in? We can help. Schedule a GreenVersation with Julie. We’ll roll up our sleeves, come up with some strategies to help, and explore how you can accelerate your results. Just send an email to chris(at)serenityva.com with subject line “Green me!”