Why you need to be a pain in the ass to deliver sustainability
An offhand tweet yesterday got me embroiled in a debate about the efficacy of environmental awareness weeks. This spilled onto the ZeroWasteWeek Facebook page where most participants politely tried to argue for awareness weeks (largely that this one had worked for them), but there were a couple of more tetchy contributions:
“Some people will do anything to try and create an argument.”
“If he doesnt doesn’t care for it, why bother tweeting?!”
Maybe I am just a bit of a pain in the backside, but, on the other hand, as the legendary software pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper is quoted as saying:
The most dangerous phrase in the language is: “We’ve always done it this way.”
When we are trying to facilitate massive change, we need to challenge everything – both in the system we are trying to change and the methods we use to change it. Circling the wagons around our comfort zone stifles progress.
My Green Jujitsu technique was a reaction against standard practice in employee engagement for sustainability – and the wider approach to change management. I could see that standard practice – all those drippy posters and jute bags – wasn’t working. So, I stopped and thought it through. I came up with an idea that made sense, tried it, refined it, tried it again, refined it some more et voilà!
Same with organisational systems – the most powerful weapon in your armoury is the Toddler Test – keep asking ‘why?’ until the person can’t answer.
So don’t be afraid to be a pain in the ass – a nice, polite one, but a pain in the ass nonetheless.