Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Eating Workplace Culture One Bite at a Time – Part 09

Today’s workplace culture is changing and part of that is due to the continued emphasis on sustainability.  Being green has always been prevalent far more in the operations of mid-size to small businesses that had far less resources than the big firms.



To not only survive, but thrive, small businesses had to maximize all resources.  For many this meant reusing paper, carbon paper, file folders, adding machine tape, etc. before technology came into the picture. Today the emphasis is still on not wasting resources from printing emails to recycling paper and other such products. The shift is younger employees within the workplace culture want to be involved in setting the policies and being part of that overall process.

Now with millennials entering the workplace culture, they appear to be even more concerned about sustainability specific to the business operations’ impact to the environment. They believe according to many surveys including one by Deloitte in being employed by those firms that have high sustainability practices along with high business ethics.

These young entries into the marketplace want to be part of the sustainability activities within the organization. This involvement extends to understanding the specifics of any pro-environment policies.

Now for some older employees within the workplace culture, many look at sustainability to mean will we have employment until we retire? Sustainability is about longevity in the market place and not necessarily around recycling or reusing.

Both viewpoints can be embraced within any workplace culture as both contribute to sustainable profitability.  Actions from turning off lights to recycling paper refuse not only are good for the bottom line, they are good for the environment and do reflect the values (business ethics) of the organization.

If your small business employs those under 40 or will be shifting its workforce in the short term to more under 40 employees, now is the time to identify how your small business reacts to sustainability.  Your workplace culture is changing and this is a change executive leadership must understand to be sustainable in the future.

Please feel free to check out this holistic cultural assessment tool that allows even the smallest firms to start identifying the barriers to effective execution of current business growth strategies including sustainability.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Sustainability Is Small Business Common Sense

Sustainability is a popular word in today’s small business climate.  We hear of being green from radio to television commercials not to mention all the articles and blog postings.


What we do not hear as frequently is that sustainability is small business common sense. Most small businesses who suffered through the lean times employed sustainability behaviors as part of their daily routine. These smart small business folks recycled paper, recycled adding machine tape and recycled carbon paper. Delivery routes were planned to conserve as much time and fuel as possible. These forward thinking leaders looked through the sustainability lens to leverage their limited resources including people. (Thanks to Resource Associates Corporation for this graphic and used with permission.)

Just think for a moment is not promoting from within a sustainability strategy? Existing employees know the small business operations and thus do not have to be trained or educated as to these policies and procedures.  Additionally, many employees already have established relationships with both internal customers (fellow employees) and external customers (paying clients.) Promotion from within saves dollars (green) and has a greater chance of sustainability (employee retention) than taking a change on hiring from the outside.

This common sense approach can be easily translated into this simple formula:

People + Process + Environment = Profit

Sustainability is an internal strategy and consequently a habit of thought translated into a specific behavior by the employees within any small to mid size businesses. This internal strategy works with the external strategy to secure a competitive advantage. What happens is the small business moves from just conformance (internal) and non-competitiveness (external) to alignment of innovation and stewardship. An internal transformation happens allowing these mid size businesses to be viewed as the external visionary, forward thinking leaders.

So if you are considering a sustainability initiative or as some may call it social corporate responsibility, then consider this common sense approach where you definitely get more bang for your buck.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is the Heurist for ADVANCED SYSTEMS the Next Generation of Talent Management. She advances sustainable solutions that unite people with management operations to catapult mid-size to small businesses to that desired next level of the status quo. Call her at 219.759.5601.

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The New Competitive Advantage – Business Sustainability

Some may read this headline and think of course business sustainability has always been a competitive advantage. If your organization can outlast everyone else, so much the better for you. Now tell me something I don’t know.


However business sustainability today involves more than just longevity.  There are several new elements in the mix.

Possibly this is why business sustainability is considered a megatrend as I explained in my weekly business column at the Post Tribune of Northwest Indiana.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to be certified by The Institute for Sustainability. This certification allows me and my firm ADVANCED SYSTEMS to be ahead of the flow specific to business strategies especially in today’s global marketplace.

Business sustainability looks at 3 key areas:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Environment

Within these areas, there exists  three overlaps

  1. People/Process
  2. Process/Environment
  3. People/Environment

All of these areas converge in the center where Sustainability exists in terms of:

  • Long-term growth
  • System Thinking
  • Profitability
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Stewardship

By uniting people, process and environment allows for greater profitability and hence this is why this is the new competitive advantage.  In the past the environment and probably people did not have the same importance as they do today.

For my firm that unlocks results in people, processes and strategies, business sustainability is a natural extension as this has always been part of the solutions I deliver.  The key difference is in the language of environment and how it now is integrated into the strategies of people and process.

Many of the Fortune 500 companies have embarked on the creation of sustainability plans. Yet given most businesses are small (under 500 employees), there is a tremendous opportunity for these organizations to get a jump start on their competitors (beyond the status quo) through the understanding and then adoption of business sustainability plans.

The new competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace is 21st century sustainability.  And what is so great is any firm can achieve sustainability with in many cases just some better alignment, awareness and clarity.

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