So, you want to get active but you’re not sure your company will go for it? In part 2 of this interview, Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt of The Natural Step tells us what you can do.
Dr. Robèrt assures that it only takes one person—a “change agent”—to get the ball rolling toward sustainability. No matter what strata of the company you find yourself, there are some basic steps that can help you initiate change.
- Find your change agent. It all begins with someone someone who has a passion for sustainability. Is that you?
- Find Your Allies – Build momentum around you by finding people who share your interest.
- Create a Sustainability Team – As you find your allies, seek to find out which higher-up managers might be receptive to your cause and then build a team.
- Make Your Pitch – As you find managers above you to be on your team, ask them to help you get in front of top level executives to make your pitch.
So Far, So Good . . . How Do We Pitch?
The Natural Step is an open source that has many informative, free-of-charge resources on their website to help you make the pitch. In brief, as Dr. Robèrt hints in the interview, the outline might progress as follows:
- Tell the story of how the robust framework for decision making toward sustainability came about through 20 years of refinement and testing, and explain the framework.
- Assure them that the framework is not about penance or merely about doing good; it also helps us to avoid costs, be more innovative in future markets, and ultimately be more profitable as a company.
- Tell some inspiring stories about how this framework is being applied by a growing number of businesses around the world.
- And, then, humbly ask them, “after hearing this, what advice do you have for us? What would it take in order for us to move in this direction?”
Robèrt reveals his sales prowess by giving us a tip about technique: in this view, asking for their advice in a spirit of humility is better than asking for them to accept a proposal. He insists that asking top level executives to accept a proposal is not effective because it gives them the opportunity to say no. Instead, if you ask, “what are the conditions required in order for you to say yes?” people will typically give you their thoughts. If you have a contrarian who she sees you following the advice she gave you, you are more likely to win her over.
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