How to Avoid the Tragic Fate of the ‘Green’ Messenger

image: greenpathMany companies claim to have an open door policy, but few actually exercise it when it comes to things management simply does not want to hear.  Fearing this negative reaction, the common phrase ‘don’t kill the messenger’ can become a real scenario for employees.  Specific to business sustainability shortfalls and resulting suggestions, how does your organization react to the ‘green’ messenger?

The CFO.com article, The Myth of the Open Door, examines the key distinction between ‘accessible’ and ‘approachable’.  While many organizations practice an open door policy that allows accessibility to management, a smaller percentage of work environments actually implement a true approachable culture.  Under this scenario, business improvement suggestions become shelved until they become unavoidable business risks.  However, there is a simple solution.

“Best-in-class organizations have solid working relationships that are built on trust and communication, led by manages who are both accessible and approachable. They are eager to discuss issues before they become larger problems. They spend time developing relationships with team members that go beyond the occasional office visit. They lead by getting out of their office and proactively speaking with staff about numerous topics, both professional and personal. They show concern for the well-being of their staff and, in doing so, create a sense of esprit de corps within the team”.

Referring to Characteristics of Top Sustainability Cultures, the post describes how open culture implementations recognize communication, learning, and applied sustainability concepts to be critical success factors.  By allowing for flexibility and promoting innovation across the value chain, these organizations capture the interests of stakeholders and ensure their active participation.  A few characteristics that differentiate the good from the best-in-class include:

•    Retailers are considered to be a step ahead in stakeholder engagement, communicating their sustainability goals up and down the value chain.

•    Top performers utilize technology to monitor and communicate sustainability results.

•    Best-in-class companies are transparent and communicate sustainability progress to external stakeholders.

•    Leading businesses promote an open culture, engaging employees in the business sustainability direction of the company.

Management’s ability to remain ‘accessible and approachable’ to receive new ideas and different strategies will often payoff in the long run.  These ‘green’ messenger engagements will allow businesses to address changes in the market and build a path toward greater business sustainability. 

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