Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Sustainability and Change Management – Some Thoughts

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

In last MCLP session, we had some interesting discussions around Sustainability and Change Management. Both topics are somewhat related and one can look at them in different ways.

For example, Sustainability discussion needs to heavily focus on technological innovation and role of businesses. Typically a lot of emphasis seems to be on how some of the problems are caused by businesses. However, over last many years businesses have systematically stated focussing on Corporate Social Responsibility. Recent article by Michael E Porter in HBR squarely puts CSR in middle of existence of corporates. I am also reminded of the graphic example cited in Levitt & Dubner’s SuperFreakonomics. They discuss ‘parable of horseshit’ in nineteenth century. NewYorker writer make astute observation

“According to Levitt and Dubner, the story’s message is a simple one: if, at any particular moment, things look bleak, it’s because people are seeing them the wrong way. “When the solution to a given problem doesn’t lie right before our eyes, it is easy to assume that no solution exists,” they write. “But history has shown again and again that such assumptions are wrong.”

Bottomline – Climate and sustainability challenges are real and grave. In the past, we as human have handled big challenges with ingenuity. what tells us we won’t be able to do it again?

Of course, we have to manage changes appropriately. One of the most interesting approaches I’ve come across for change management is the metaphor I first came across Jonathan Haidt’s book Happiness Hypothesis and this metaphor was later made more popular by Heath brothers in their bestseller Switch. Metaphor is directing an elephant on  journey. The framework outlined in Switch is three simple, may not be easy, steps:

  1. Direct the Rider – focus on rational side
  2. Motivate the Elephant
  3. Shape the path – update the environment.

You can check out some excellent resources on their website. Please let me know what you think!