Social Media as a Persuasive Change Agent Tool

image: change agentsLanguage is power... Language can be used as a means of changing reality. ~ Adrienne Rich 

A challenge with corporate sustainability has been all about changing mindsets and systems.  Businesses often try to sell change to the organization as a way to attain agreement and accelerate sustainable business implementation. Selling change to people is most often not a sustainable strategy for success.  It creates resistance.  

Think about it.  When somebody tells you what to do, do you do it?  Probably not.  No one likes to be told what to do - even when they are up for it.  While sustainable business strategies may further the corporate vision and simultaneously create meaningful work for employees, the employees actually have to be engaged and involved for it to be meaningful.

The post, Consider Consequences Of Language In Organizational Change, illustrates the power of language in managing organizational change.  "In his paper 'Discursive Positioning and Planned Change in Organizations,' Kevin Barge, professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, states that our experiences regarding change are influenced largely by the words that we say and the impact of those words on our coworkers. According to Barge, if people are conscious of the effects their words can have on others, they will be more likely initiate successful change efforts and build productive organizational relationships."

How can this be applied from a business sustainability perspective?  Social media, used internal to the organization, enables employee engagement by pairing the corporate sustainability plan with employee values.   What do Employees Need to Know about Sustainability at Your Company?   What are your employees saying about your organization?  Are they equipped with information and engaged in your company’s business sustainability programs to passionately communicate the message you would like the world to hear?  

The post, Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8, suggest there are different social media messaging types an organization can repeatedly share to engage employees with information and create pathways to exercise eco action in daily practice. 

•    Engage sustainability leadership at all levels in the business

•    Encourage stakeholder engagement as company culture

•    Link environmental, social and economic responsibility to all business processes

•    Educate and bring eco awareness through ongoing training

•    Rewrite process and procedures to reflect your sustainability initiatives and social media communications

Pairing the power of language and the engaging, viral nature of social media, it's easy to be a persuasive change agent.  Additional resources to get you started are here: 

  1. Social Media Training Videos for Sustainability 
  2. Social Media for Sustainability Professionals
  3. Green Business Guide to Social Media Success

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