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Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 2 Building Buy-in : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

Increasing employee involvement in workplace sustainability programs is one of the top challenges for organizations. This is not surprising as most businesses face issues with competing priorities, while implementing programs that are informal and voluntary. This post is going to make a departure from the usual topics that are discussed about sustainability buy-in. It will focus on three key questions and strategic approaches that are effective at building sustainability momentum within an organization.

So, let’s take a step back from sustainability specific issues and ask a couple of deeper questions and do a bit of exploring possible approaches.

What motivates us at work?

Dan Pink, an expert on human motivation and the author of the New York Times best seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, shows us that there is a huge disconnect between what science knows and what business does. He discusses how 40 years of proven research on human motivation goes largely ignored by companies. Dan outlines, with case study examples, that using intrinsic motivators, across the board, increases engagement, productivity, creativity and satisfaction.

According to Pink, the key drivers to increasing employee performance, productivity and satisfaction are:

Purpose – doing things because they matter and are in service of something larger than ourselves; a higher or outward looking mission

Autonomy – a desire to be self-directed; ownership & responsibility in areas of day-to-day work, life balance, career development, organizational direction, etc.

Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters – learning new skills and build our capacity to address new challenges/talks

In Dan Pink’s TED talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”, he reveals the substance of his findings from his book. He discusses how the carrots and sticks approach to incentivizing, outside of a surprisingly narrow set of circumstances, largely never works and often destroys creativity. The proven secret to high performance is intrinsic motivation, the drive to do things that matter.

Practical Application: The key here is weaving these 3 drivers into your programming to inspire employee involvement and commitment. I often hear people say, “I tried that once and it didn’t work”. One-off and ad-hoc attempts at fostering buy-in do not work; it’s necessary to use strategic, consistent and embedded approaches to build commitment, community and a supportive culture. Creating momentum may take a bit of time, but consistency builds credibility, accountability, aids in measurement and provides a platform for effectively communicating relevant messaging.

How does being purpose driven increase buy-in and participation?

The latest trend in the corporate world is the shift to establishing a company brand promise and growing profits through purpose-driven business strategies. Research shows purpose-driven organizations that foster shared-value experience a higher level of trust, ability to innovate, employee and customer satisfaction and overall profits.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, tells us that customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Your company’s why is the larger purpose that inspires you to do what you do every day beyond the objective of solely making money.

According to John Mackey & Raj Sisodia, the authors of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”, there are four general categories to consider when determining your organization’s “why” or higher purpose:

1.   Improving quality of life through service

2.   Furthering human knowledge through discovery and knowledge sharing

3.   Achieving excellence, beauty and mastery

4.   Doing the right thing




In Simon’s TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, he discusses the why (higher purpose), how (value proposition) and what (impact and scale of your offerings) of your business and the importance of starting with and discovering your why. Successful and innovative organizations start with a clear why and create aligned experiences (how) and products (what) around their brand that inspire employees, customers and investors.

Practical Application: Sustainability and corporate responsibility (CSR) initiatives are valuable alignment points to illustrate purpose-driven brand experiences that resonate with employees, customers and investors. Aligning sustainability-related activities with organizational purpose and business objectives provide a powerful platform to foster shared value, trust and ultimately buy-in from various stakeholder groups.

How do we build momentum when implementing internal initiatives?

How does an idea get widely adopted over time? We can look to the diffusion of innovation theory, developed by Everett Rogers in 1962. In his book, Diffusion of Innovations”, Rogers explains how, over a period of time, an idea gains momentum and spreads within a social system. This is essentially what Derek Sivers was illustrating in his “how to start a movement” video that was highlighted in Part 1: Steps to follow in this post series.

The theory, illustrated by a bell-curve, is broken into segments: adopters, innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggards (16%). The theory outlines how each category of adopters acts as influencers for the next segment under the curve.  A key effect in the model, which is often referred to the as the tipping point (16%), is where the rate of adoption accelerates and takes on the momentum needed for the innovation to be widely adopted.

Rogers also identified, in the Diffusion of Preventative Innovation, five characteristics that directly affect the probability of adoption of a specific innovation:

1.   Relative advantage – new idea is better than what is already available or in use

2.   Compatibility – compatible with their current habits and values

3.   Complexity – relative ease of use

4.   Trialability – potential adopter may trial it on a limited basis

5.   Observability – innovation is observed in use by other members and their results

Practical Application: When creating your programming, it is key to weave the success characteristics throughout your programming. Explore the five characteristics like a checklist and identify how your program stacks up in each area and where there are areas for improvement.

This model is also an incredibly useful marketing tool. Use the profile for each segment to create a targeted marketing strategy. This approach, using each segment profile, allows for the crafting of relevant and compelling marketing tactics and messages to effectively increase the rate of momentum and adoption.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization “ series. Part 3 will focus on how to scale your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization.

Start a conversation! Please leave a comment, question or share your experiences below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy on :

Twitter: @EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.







Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience? 

Originally posted on  : thesustainabilityreader.com




Are cycling and recycling parts of a green wonderland or are they a goal towards achieving resilience?

Both activities are part of a big strategy based on the response of a sustainable system towards the relentless impact of climate change. Transport and waste management are a good summary of the best activities that describe a personal healthy “green” attitude. However, it awakens resistance because it something “new” that represents a complete change of diary habits. There is not a solid culture around the need to be sensible and make personal efforts (recycling, shopping habits, transport, etc).  In addition, we live in a historically moment in which the strong investment that climate change demands is surprisingly gather deniers and support from governments. Just to give a recent example, in Madrid, Spain the resolution to close the traffic in the centric area of this crowd city –only for Christmas period-, is generating debate and resistance. Most of the citizens do not understand the meaning even if it has a direct and immediate impact in contamination levels and has already achieved a successful 37% of reduction.

In the end, everything is reduced to a process of re-educate people that unfortunately is not being carried out in a systemic way. Is not even a struggle against climate change denials –that at least are informed of the existence of scientific material- but of raising awareness of the need to change personal habits by delivering constant information to the people.

Despite all this years of constant discussion about the need to reshape public an private policies around the environment is still seen as a matter of public decisions without personal involvement, that almost “magically” will make a reduction on contamination.

“Ignorance is the darkest night”… Indeed, and the lack of awareness of making changes through personal habits it make the goal for a green city literally impossible.

So, is it all about education and information? Yes, mainly because most of the reactions from the citizenship comes precisely because of being misinformed/no informed. Turn to a green city demands solid Education pillars as the Nordic countries have shown. A change of personal habits comes from the conviction and be educated and informed around green policies is the best way to get it.

Personal attitude has a real and direct impact on climate change and what its most important: it has a real possibility to successfully change it.

Cycling is a symbol for these changes, as transport seems to be one of the most important aspects for achieving sustainable goals. The use of fossil fuels is a big challenge that is usually associated as a matter of “public affairs”. Indeed, restrictions to its use needs strong legislation, however in a political world contaminated by corruption, private interests, and “revolving doors” not always success. Is for this reason that the pressure around individual attitude is much more powerful than any legislation and the only resilient way to push for changes.

If you make legislation without individual awareness maybe you succeed…maybe not, but if you make people aware of their own interests even in the long term you make history.

Cycling and recycling are not enough to make a world sustainable but it makes the difference from the easiest way to do it: change of personal habits. Being green is a matter of personal awareness that need to be rising by Education patterns boost by the State. Too much focus in legislation makes loss the focus in what is really important: individuals able to change systems, not systems that change through bottom up initiatives.

If there is a systemic “green education” cycling and recycling ´d be only the starting point for a tangible  wonderland! GO!






How Green is the UK’s Future?

Boom! I’ll start with the great news, our brothers, sisters and fellow green/sustainability friends have just done what seemed a distant dream a few years ago. Solar just produced more energy than coal for the whole month of April. This is really a great achievements and I pass on all the complements I can muster, from my @rwscarter and @crowdleaf.

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Carbon Brief, revealed that solar generated around 1.3GW of power over April that is 50% more than the 893GWh generated from coal.

However there is slightly less good news, due in part to the subsidy cuts there has been substantial job losses in Solar, with nearly half the 35 thousand  people that worked in the industry no longer employed there. But there is a more good than bad in another way, while solar has hit its so far highest point in the UK; it has done so with less workers, meaning that the industry is out performing its in regards to its labour and so is more productive.

The feed in tariff may be greatly reduced but it is still giving a return and I urge all of you to get involved and back Solar just as you did before and for those of you that have not done so before. Join me in investing on Abundance. This particular project (warning capital at risk) is offering 6.5% and an early birds bonus.

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You may have noticed a similarity with my last post, fort those who read ‘The Leaf’ regularly. That is that even when things do not look good, people come together for the betterment of the world, green energy and sustainability, which as you know as a visitor, is among the greatest of causes. In this case the green shoots not being demoralised when the government takes away its support. So in this sense, we are walking down a path and together we are unstoppable, though government support would be welcome and we are feeling the pinch, we cannot and will not be knocked down.

 




The C02 soaking Sponge made with …. Baking Soda

CrowdLeaf, we have a problem, a big one.  A problem I do not need to tell you, your probably here reading this because you know of this problem. C02 emissions and the catastrophic damage it causes to our climate and environment. The collective problem of climate change, needs a collective response. So on this the first blog I am doing for CrowdLeaf, I would like to say thank you for joining in a collective response to this collective problem.

A news story caught my eye recently, for me it symbolises the momentum that we have behind tackling the emissions, it is a story of Carbon capture. Carbon Capture is one way in which we can mitigate the negative effect we are having on the world and we should be doing all we can to capture as much carbon dioxide as we can from the root causes as well as what we can to lower the amount of causes of emissions.

First I want to put an argument to bed, I have been told that carbon capture just allows bad behavior, or at least bad practice to go on longer. I get the angle but I put this to you, some decisions will be made around the world that we will have no power over, we have no say in and that will go ahead regardless. Only through advancements in this sort of technology can we mitigate these damages while we push for a better world. In, local, company, national, pan national or global agreements this sort of technology strengthens our hand when we are entering negotiations around emissions and lowers the cost of tackling the problems we face.




In global negotiations such as COP21 which happened in Paris recently are about overcoming a lot of vested interests and sadly about a lot of money that does quite well from the status quo. This is where carbon capture really shows its strength, the emergence of new technologies allows more uptake for less costs and the increased bargaining power that comes with a lower cost of carbon reduction technologies is a good result for us.

There is a noble and pragmatic case behind carbon capture, the world would be a lot worse if we did not try and at least mitigate the negative externalities that arise from what is the largest cause of emissions. invest in new innovations to stop emissions is still technology that can be used in other countries where our movement may not be as strong. There is not yet the capacity on renewable energy and sustainable alternatives to shut off these very dirty but very profitable industries. So for every increase in the quantities of C02 that can be captured is a minor victory.

Last year the government withdrew its support for carbon capture, but today I can announce that despite losing state backing, the C02 soaking sponge keeps going with the support of baking Soda! – Through the use of 3D printers scientists have been able to make a new sponge-like substance that captures C02 and creates backing soda. The sponge is made to increase the surface area and when the surface makes contact with CO2 they react and create baking soda through the mixing of water, C02 and sodium carbonate.

The beauty of this is that baking soda has a market, green baking soda has a far more ethical tinge to add to a future kitchen cabinet. If you’ll excuse the cliche if this works ‘were really cooking on gas now’.   CrowdLeaf wish everyone on the team the best of luck in creating the final product and hope they can get it to market as soon as.