Posted by: genevievetaylor | June 27, 2008

Including People in your Triple Bottom Line – Start with Process

We have established that it is easier for organizations to focus on the “planet” part of the Triple Bottom Line – effectively more a Double Bottom Line.

So, how do we get from the Double to the Triple?

We have to address the “people” part of the equation.

The “People” part is touted to be the hardest part of the equation. It is amorphous, fuzzy – you can see results, but have a hard time measuring them. And many organizations believe that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. But that’s another article.

Working “People” into your sustainability initiative begins with Process.

The most basic way to include People is to do just that – Include People! We talked about how you have to “see” differently in order to do sustainability well. In fact, you must look at the company from the top down, from the bottom up; from the inside out, from the outside in.

To do that, you have to engage your “stakeholders” – those people who hold a stake in the success of the company. This means – your employees. Your vendors. Your customers. Your yet-to-be customers. Your community – where your organization geographically sits. Your industry. Your government. All of those people who will be affected by the change.

So, where do you start?

Joseph McIntyre, who has been working with helping Farmers, Goverment, Activists and the Community work together on large, contentious projects (for example, water in environmentally impacted areas) says that the people who are best able to help start that process come from a surprising place.

Marketing.

Who else works through focus groups? Is constantly searching the news for trends? Is comfortable seeking input, and typically has natural people skills which build rapport? Our marketing folks.

Who else can be helpful in this process? Human Resources. Hired typically for their people skills, for their knowledge of law; hopefully their attunement to relationship can be a big boon in this process.

But really, what you want to do is to get input from the people who matter most. Here’s how your people can help:

– What do they think about sustainability? Do they think it is an important process for the organization to undertake?

– What do they see that could help the organization minimize its impact?

– Who, or what, are the key leverage points? What are the strengths of the organization that could be leveraged into new opportunities for the company? What relationships could be leveraged to create change for the company and the world?

These are all questions that it is vital for you to work with not just your supervisors or management team – but the “rank and file” staff.

Next post – I will discuss some specific strategies for making your change process work.

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