questions

During the 16 Kick-Ass Sustainability Ideas for 2016 webinar last week, I (inevitably) covered Green Jujitsu – the idea that we should 'frame' sustainability to match the culture, interests and habits of each audience rather than expecting people to move from unengaged to eco-warrior in the course of a single powerpoint presentation. I explained how I first 'discovered' the power of Green Jujitsu by running an engagement session for engineers where I got them solving their own sustainability issues using simple engineering problem-solving tools. In other words, I framed sustainability as an engineering challenge. They loved it.

During the webinar Q&A I was asked how I work out the prevailing culture in an organisation if I'm not familiar with it. Great question and a problem I've had to solve in practice when I've been asked to do employee engagement in sectors I'm not familiar with. There'd be nothing worse than making a presuming a particular group of people think a particular way and finding out the hard way I'd got it all wrong.

The answer is I ask the employees themselves – or a group of them anyway. This is a great job for that network of green champions who are probably wondering what they should be doing.

I simply put up a paper template on the wall with a happy face at one end and a sad face at the other and ask the group to note on post-its what turns their colleagues on and what turns them off. If you cluster similar responses together on the template, you'll get a powerful map of positive and negative drivers with which to design your engagement.

For example, when working with a media group, speed and impact bubbled to the top – there was no point in talking to these guys about 'cathedral building', their product had a lifespan of hours. When working with a waste group – who sign 25 year contracts with local authorities – quite a different mindset emerged.

Bingo.

 

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