Too often business sustainability discussions focus on pressing issues, risks, and negative outcomes as the primary drivers for change. Left to this singular purpose, our sustainability consulting practice experience has shown that these actions often lack the necessary level of engagement to be successful long-term.
“Fear-driven behavior change only motivates for as long as people feel the issues are pressing on them. As soon as the fear recedes, so does the motivation.” -Peter Senge, MIT Sloan School of Management
So rather than focus on the negative impacts of a decision point, why not focus on expanding eco awareness and the exploration of business value through accessibility to information? Our professional consulting finds this ‘positive engagement’ practice already in practice within businesses around the world.
One such example is highlighted in the MIT Sloan post, Using Creative Tension to Reach Big Goals, which explores the conversations that propel a business sustainability agenda by asking the company’s CEO:
• What areas are you focused on?
• What kinds of goals did you set to measure progress in those areas?
• Which goals were more difficult to get enlistment around?
• What kind of governance structure do you have to support your goals?
• What made you choose such a long horizon?
• Do you consider it a creative tension?
• What kinds of collaborative activities are you involved in along the value chain?
• And much of this would also necessitate internal collaboration, too?
• How does sustainability figure into marketing and brand positioning?
• How does your sustainability work help position you for the future?
• Have you seen any changes in recruitment, or retention?
Visibility to the right information can provide businesses and individuals the opportunity to make more informed, value-driven, and sustainable choices. By directing attention to the positive side of the sustainability equation, the pursuit of business improvement engages and aligns interests.