Daily Archives: March 6, 2011

Sustainability: The Math is Simple

Since ‘net years are equal to dog years, I’m getting cantankerous in my old age. It seems it only takes a sentence or two to set me off these days. I was reading a good article over on the Arabic Knowledge @ Wharton site on fashion or strategy when I stumbled across this quote from a Senior Manager at Accenture:

      We need to better understand the consumer and see how sustainability can drive the purchase decision. About 75% of people would say, ‘All things being equal, I would buy green‘. How you translate that into an actual purchase decision … is something else.”

Are you kidding me? How do you become a Senior Manager at Accenture if you can’t do that math?

75% = 3/4
3/4 + 1/4 = 4/4 = 100%

That says, if all things are equal, there are three times as many people who would buy your product if it was green. The hard part is figuring out what consumers really mean when they say all things being equal. Obviously, price is a factor since, no matter what they say, they never want to pay more. And so is quality, since they won’t buy an inferior product. But figuring out that your market will be three times as large as a competitor who is not green is not hard.

Looking to Transform? Make Sure The Organization is Ready!

Transformation, which many companies will require to survive the next few years, doesn’t work unless it’s taken seriously, and the organization is ready for it. To judge awareness, ask these six questions for company transformation from a recent Industry Week article.

  1. Where is the Organization’s Culture?
    Before an organization can begin a change management initiative, it must understand the culture of the organization. What are the beliefs and expectations of the employees? If this is not understood, then it is not likely that an initiative can be designed to change their spirit. And unless the employees get behind the initiative, there is no hope for success.
  2. What starts the process?
    Most companies want to take action right away, but action is often no more effective than reorganizing lines on an organizational chart, which is rarely effective. A successful transformation begins with knowledge — a pervasive awareness of what needs to change, why, and how it will improve the company’s situation.
  3. Whose culture is it?
    The organizational culture must be owned by the employees, not by the management team or the consultants brought in to lead the change management initiative. Furthermore, the effort must allow the people to reach their potential or the change will not be as successful as the organization hopes.
  4. How Do You Know If You Are Making Progress?
    It’s not just about the metrics, which won’t convey meaningful information for months, but about the visible changes in behaviour that signify that change is taking place within the organization.
  5. When Can You Change the Culture?
    Change can only happen now, not at some future time. Each day must be an effort focussed on meeting that change.
  6. Why Do People Change?
    There are two critical steps to transformation success. The first is to understand that organizational culture will need to change. The second is to understand why it will change, which is not always obvious. For more details, see the article or The Seven Arts of Change.