Walking the walk…
The central theme of my forthcoming book The Green Executive (did I mention it comes out this month?) is that green/sustainability/csr has become a strategic leadership priority rather than a middle management issue. Leadership has been defined as power by influence, whereas management is power by position.
Leading by influence, as many political leaders will tell you, is incredibly difficult in comparison to simply pulling the levers of bureaucracy. You’ve got to attract people’s attention, engender people’s trust and inspire them to act – and then once you have achieved that elevated position, you’ve got to hold onto it. And your worse enemy is cynicism.
One of the big shifts in thinking is from “we will do” to “we have done”. Green business leaders must get away from talking about their plans and commitments and start delivering achievements. Quick wins should be bagged, communicated and built on. Longer term programmes should be launched, but talked about modestly until they are delivering real results – only then should you go to town on the PR.
The other key issue is personal behaviour. One false note and the whole thing can come tumbling down. You can’t declare a green dawn then order yourself a V8 gas-guzzler as a company car. It doesn’t matter if the emissions from the car are miniscule compared to the carbon savings from your hyper-efficient new manufacturing process – people will see it as “do as I say, not as I do”. Get a hybrid car, or better still, a bicycle. Make the statement. Walk the walk.