What if your boss doesn’t get Sustainability?
Regular readers will know my opinion that the one difference between the best and the rest at sustainability (or any other organisational priority for that matter) is leadership. In fact I wrote a book about it – the Green Executive (available at all good on-line bookstores and even some real ones).
But what if your boss doesn’t get it?
In my experience this rarely manifests itself as overt hostility, but more often as ambivalence or a slightly patronising punt into the long grass – “Yes, we really should do more on that, why don’t you run along and write a report on it?”
All is not lost, however, there are some crafty ways of ‘managing up’ to get your boss’s attention.
- The killer question: how do we respond to compulsory carbon reporting? Here’s our competitor’s CSR report – how will we compete on this? Our energy bill is £2m pa – should we be tackling it?
- Use Green Jujitsu to reframe sustainability to align it to company goals and other priorities. For example, a discussion of security of supply of raw materials could end up leading to circular economy solutions.
- Volunteer them to give a presentation on sustainability: this may sound less than thrilling, but in the case of the late, great Ray Anderson of Interface such a request was the trigger for Mission Zero – probably the greatest corporate sustainability programme ever.
- Develop a critical mass of activity demonstrating great results and then give them the opportunity to become the face of such success (see above).
What doesn’t work is the standard default response – passive-aggressive indignation. Don’t get mad, get clever!