But sustainability can be seen as sundry to those not in the field. When we allow ourselves to be caught up in compliance and limited by language, we disconnect from the reason wee in this profession: because we care. We come to work conditioned to compartmentalise, to stick all our personal beliefs in a box, and leave our values at the door instead adopting a corporate profile of ourselves. We use KPIs, SMART objectives, policies, visions, and missions as a framework to present our personal passion and values. We all need metrics, but are we working too hard to be professional?
To paraphrase the CEO of Interface, Ray Anderson, hen you shut up shop, what have you really achieved?Ray was unhappy with the idea of his thriving business leaving behind a legacy of waste and accumulated carbon, so put steps in place to ensure that Interface was creating a positive contribution to the world in 1994 with his focus on ission Zero When you lock up for the night, can you honestly say the same?
Don get me wrong: KPIS, SMART objectives, policies, visions, and missions all have their place - but as a means of influencing an organisation purpose, they will never work. In fact, theye more likely to further cement your current business trajectory than change it.And yet the same people who respond to KPIs will undoubtedly have a personal environment story to tell, and a way in which they connect with the wider world, whether it hiking, fishing, or playing golf. Sometimes, appreciating nature really can be a walk in the park.
The focus on heavy corporate language speaks solely to the head, not the heart.Yet the art of storytelling in business can create a far greater catalyst for change and is far more interesting, exciting, and (if done properly) magical.
So, how can we push values to the forefront of the sustainability profession, and help others to connect with our personal sustainability stories? I love to hear what you think.
Posted on 3rd April 2018
Written by Tim Balcon
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