WANTED: Strategic roles for sustainability managers

I saw an interesting-looking role advertised recently: Sustainability Strategy Manager.  From the title, it seemed like it could be interesting.  Sadly, when I read it, it wasn’t what I’d hoped.  The role reported into Marketing and seemed to be more to do with external communication than with building strategic sustainability capability within the business. Describing what you DO want When I …

5 tips for effective listening

The first step in innovation success is listening – really getting to know the people you want to influence.  NLP’s model of primary interest filters provides a handy checklist of 5 things to listen for to help you  influence.  Use this list to identify what interests different people have and how you could interest them in the results you want to achieve. Neuro Linguistic Programming …

Regenerative business: sustainability's Third Alternative

Stephen Covey’s new book “The 3rd Alternative” showed up in my library this week.  My first encounter with Mr. Covey was in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People ” and his distinction between “urgent” and “important” tasks has been a key time management tool for me for ever since. To me, “The Third Alternative” is what Regenerative Business is all …

5 Whys for strategic sustainability success

Wandering the web the other day, it occurred to me that the continuous improvement process “5 whys” could be a powerful tool for sustainability.  I was watching a LinkedIn conversation on the challenges of consumption, and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of depth to the conversation. There was a lot of blaming and complaining going on, but …

Smart business is service thinking

Behind the products we buy is a complex web of businesses that collaborate to make, transport, store, sell and deliver everything that goes in to the final product. This web is often (simplistically) described as “the supply chain”. Each business in a supply chain is a group of people combining a range of skills, ideas and resources to deliver their products …

How can understanding Anxiety increase your sustainability success?

When fear continually lives in the background of our existence, even though there is no obvious impending threat, we are likely to be trapped in a mood of anxiety.” – Dr. Ainslie Meares Anxiety is a powerful emotional contributor to human behaviour and a root cause behind greed and selfishness. The history of the past 100 years can be interpreted …

Recovering meaning: language tools and sustainability

Listening to a passionate sustainability campaigner recently, I suddenly found myself back in class – more than a decade in the past.  I was in my NLP Practitioner Training and we were talking about language.  Whatever your background, if you’re into coaching you understand just how much the language we use limits our experience and the possibilities that we perceive. …

Three keys to successful innovation

So you’ve got a great idea, and you’ve come up with a proposal that will meet the needs of the people you want to use it. Your work here is done… isn’t it? Well, no – not until you have your invention turned into an adopted practice – that’s the real work of innovation. Your proposed change requires a community …

Developing Optimism

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way you explain it… The difference between optimists and pessimists lies largely in how they explain the negative events in life. The quality of your explanations is the key. “But I’m a positive person” I hear you say… Really? There’s an underlying pessimism that’s in epidemic proportions at the moment. Take a moment to check on …

Letting Your Product Go!

Marketing basics – products and value A core concept in marketing is the difference between your product and it’s value. What’s the difference between the item you are selling and its worth to your customer? If you sell someone perfume, are they buying the scent in the bottle, the promise of romance, or the prestige of your label? An accountant’s product might be tax returns. What’s the value …

What good is it to FEEL good?

The power of positive emotions The research purpose of a laboratory at the University of Michigan has been to identify the benefits of positive emotions beyond just “feeling good”. Their research found that positive emotions enhance your ability to: See the big picture Stay receptive to new ideas Integrate diverse sources of information Discover novel and creative approaches to changed situations. …

Martians to save planet Earth?

Breakthrough leaders come from Mars In the classic business development book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins describes the special type of leaders that create sustainable, breakthrough results as “leaders from Mars”. They are a unique combination of personal humility and professional will – quiet and unassuming, shunning the limelight. They have time for family and friends and time to make …

Ducks and mad koalas at the Commonwealth Games

I watched the opening ceremony of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games on television. I’m a local girl and I love Michael Leunig, so I “got” the boy and his duck. The koalas were confusing. There were several different teams of frantic koalas, all vigorously in action. The koalas were all working really hard in their groups, each team desperately trying to save the hero “their way”. …

Thorpie, our Dawn and business in the 21st Century

There’s talent and there’s science When Dawn Fraser was Australia’s world champion swimmer in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she did it on talent and hard work, strategy and gamesmanship. In the 21st century it takes a lot more to get world class results. Stretching, weight training, nutrition, mental strength, biomechanics. A high tech suit it takes 20 minutes to get in to. Absolute commitment and self discipline. …

White Roche takes the positive sustainability challenge

Saving paper saves money and the environment Lilydale accountancy and financial services group White Roche and Associates has taken up the positive sustainability challenge, working with Balance3 to make positive sustainability part of their long term strategy. Environmental issues were added to their regular planning meeting in May 2005. Their first focus was paper – a substantial cost in an accounting …

Strategic Purchasing

Some of our downstream impacts around the world can be difficult to see. Coffee and chocolate, for example, are mainly produced in third world countries with little or no labour and environmental protection. One difference that even a small business can make is in their purchasing. Getting informed and acting strategically about regular purchases can be a way of making …

Designing the Sustaining Organisation

Making new assumptions As human beings, what we see is in many ways a result of what we are looking. As Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right”. If we assume that green business is a fad, that our Environmental Management System is an overhead and that being sustainable is expensive …

Greening the Health Sector

Eastern Business and the Environment (EBATE) is a network group that has been helping businesses to reduce their impact on the environment AND improving their profitability. EBATE is supported by Least Waste (the Regional Waste Management Group for the Eastern Region of Melbourne) and holds seminars on issues such as minimising waste, efficient energy use and water consumption. In October 2004, Manningham …

Country businesses for living built on passion

What do I love? = What’s my business? One of the fascinations of our recent outback road journey was some of the unique businesses we came across: the coffee farm near Mareeba where the coffee is (almost) organically grown by Bruno, Maria and Mama; the fossicking tour on the road to Karumba that taught us how to find topaz; the woodwork workshop …

Back from the bush

So how long is 12 weeks? It has been 15 weeks since our last newsletter was published. For 12 of those weeks, we’ve been on a camping/caravanning tour of Northern Queensland. During this trip, as in previous trips, our experience of time changed dramatically. Time stretches… Getting up with the sun (and going to bed soon after); lazy evenings by the …