examples of making change happen and applying sustainable development are useful ways
to learn new ideas that can be adapted for different situations
These examples focus on three areas using a variety of
methods as indicated below:
|Social and cultural change
||Methods used by skilled people
learning about sustainable development, what it means for people and
organisations, how it is applied
||Awareness raising, learning events and methods,
skills development, leadership development, coaching and mentoring
teamwork and how to work co-operatively with people from mixed disciplines/organisations
||Teamwork development, managing across boundaries
where different loyalties are involved, appreciative enquiry, working with large groups on
visioning and consensus building
transformation: applying sustainable development, re-aligning organisational
purpose, changing organisational culture, and adopting new performance indicators
||Conducting organisational reviews and audits,
reviewing values, strategies and policies, changing organisation culture,
identifying and using new performance indicators
- Awareness Raising
- A large motor manufacturer initiated a wide
ranging cascade learning programme in 1995 as a part of their drive to improve their
environmental performance.This learning has also been passed down the supply chain. A
working paper drawing out the lessons from this programme & expanding on what was done
is available from Suzanne Pollack. [See
also second item under Culture Change]
- Roots of Success: creating human sustainability at work is a model of personal and
organisational sustainability which illustrates how to create growing, renewable output
and satisfaction both now and in the future. The model has been developed by Working
Vision, a small specialist consultancy committed to sustainability at all levels. This
model is now being introduced to businesses in the UK and Europe. More information from Alan Heeks.
- Learning Events and Methods
- Southampton Environment Centre (SEC) gained
sponsorship from the EU for the ADAPT Project to develop training materials to encourage
small and medium size businesses to adopt environmental policies and to implement them.
The idea is to run a short course for people in small and medium size businesses in a way
that can be followed up with computerised support and guidance. In the initial stage the
emphasis was on the design of the approach and the materials. The first stage has been
completed and the materials are in use. More information from Nick Hutchinson or the SEC.
- The Call is a
new programme providing a powerful learning experience about the ecological and social
elements of sustainable development. It can be designed as a 'taster' half day experience,
or a longer two or three day event which can be run in-house, as a module on a longer
course or as an open programme. It has had a considerable period of development with
a variety of different groups and is fast gaining a sound reputation as a powerful
learning experience for people at any level. It is a highly
participative programme that taps in to peoples spiritual and
emotional responses to the natural world as well as their desire to
intellectually and practically understand how to improve their environmental impact.
The Call is designed and marketed by Andy
- Ride For Your Life has
been in the development stage for 5 years, as an open 2-day programme. Its themes are self
awareness and personal effectiveness. Pioneer clients include: Sedgwick, IBM, Videotron,
Saab, Marks & Spencer, Oxford Instruments, Avis, Microsoft, Whitbread, Ashridge
Management College and various small companies. Recent In-house programmes with the themes
of coaching skills, teambuilding, managing and supporting self and others
in challenging, unfamiliar, uncertain, continuously changing conditions. Handling
'empowerment'/ greater freedom and responsibility. Clients include: Ashridge,
Tarmac, and Beiersdorf. Results include: waking up to the ability to go beyond what their
'mindemotions' say is possible. Receiving valuable feedback on issues and patterns and a
big increase in team spirit. Participants appreciate being connected to 'life' via
wonderful animals! The programme includes elements of skills building, teamwork
development and coaching. More information from Paul Hunting.
- See also Roots of Success under awareness
- A radically different approach to management development,
called business-led management development or real time management development
(RTMD) was undertaken with a large commercial service organisation. The
approach is similar to "Action Learning" but involves a group of senior managers
who work for the same organisation. They tackle live business issues with
a view to developing solutions and achieve significant personal development at
the same time. The stages involved include individual consultations, meetings with
participants, visioning workshops, problem solving, implementation and review. Over a period of several years, the intervention had a profound effect on many
senior leaders in the organisation and the way they managed their businesses and this had
tangible results. We also learned a great deal from the experience about how to do this
kind of work and some of the pitfalls to avoid. We believe the approach we developed has a
lot of relevance for dealing with the complex
situations that face many organisations as they grapple with a turbulent environment and
strive for sustainable development More information from Bruce Nixon.
- Developing environmental engineering standards - see Environmental Protection Bulletin No.33. Developing an emissions and
waste inventory and reduction plans. Organising and running a range of environmental
training courses - see "Environmental Training - an expensive waste of time?" web site. More information from Jim Hopwood.
- BP Amoco and Electrolux have
developed their own educational programmes for use within their companies and brief
summaries are provided on their entries on the company statements
on SD page.
- Skills Development
- National Awards in Energy
Management are designed specifically to meet the needs of Energy Managers. This
award is one of the latest additions to the new suite of vocational qualifications (NVQ
level 4) in Management. These awards are delivered primarily as individual development
programmes, with occasional half day workshops. A number of Energy Managers are interested
in undertaking the award within Sussex and there are some staff to support the programme,
but more are needed. The staff role is effectively one of mentor/coach, developing a one
to one relationship with the Manager [candidate] and guiding him/her through the
development programme, which lasts 12 months. This involves contact by telephone and
correspondence and face to face meetings. There may also be a need for occasional
contributions to workshops. Tim Hart would be very interested to hear from anyone who has
an interest in Environmental Management and has some background and expertise in Energy
Management. Training for the particular role will be provided and paid for by the College.
More information from Tim Hart.
- High quality influencing, negotiating and presentation
skills are available from Sheppard Moscow Development Services, email.
- Leadership Development
- Leadership and decision making are at the
heart of real progress towards sustainable development. An effective simulation, Fishbanks
Ltd (developed under supervision of Professor Dennis Meadows) examines this issue in
a very practical way. Participants command different fishing fleets and make decisions
about where to fish in the ocean, when to change their fishing boats, how much fish to
catch and how to optimise their assets. During the simulation they receive feedback on the
progress they are making towards the goal of optimising their assets. When the simulation
ends a review of learning takes place. Some 25 experiences of using this simulation has
revealed the typical underlying mindsets of senior executives. Strongly held assumptions
that are prevalent in business are examined closely. These include the importance
of beating other fleets, that information should not be shared, that financial success is
often at odds with the health of the environment, and confidence that when problems become
apparent there will be time to act. David Ballard,
a director of Bath Consulting Group (web
site), runs this simulation and can provide more information.
- Coaching and Mentoring
- A Clearing Bank
realised that the organisational changes it was implementing would place a heavy burden on
its senior management and require them to lead and manage in new and different
ways. It therefore decided to help them develop and sustain their evolving
behaviours, attitudes and values by introducing executive mentoring. The mentoring helped
them improve their ability to be leaders of the change process; enabled them to exemplify
and embody the corporate vision and values; and increased their personal and business
performance. More information from Dr Mike
2. Group development
- Teamwork Development
- Boundary Management
- An effective design for learning about managing the
boundaries between teams, improving cross-functional cooperation and understanding how
intergroup dynamics affect performance has been run several times in different large
companies. It works best when it is part of a four or five day course covering teamwork
development, intergroup learning and skills awareness raising. Learning is more effective
if 12 to 20 people attend, there are two trainers and video is used to aid learning. More
information from Colin Hutchinson.
- Appreciative Enquiry
- Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to organisational analysis
and learning that is uniquely intended for discovering, understanding, and fostering
innovations in social organisational arrangements and processes. The art of appreciation
is the art of discovering and valuing those factors that give life to an organisation or
group. The process involves interviewing and storytelling to draw the best of the past to
set the stage for effective visualisation of what might be.
- We discover and value those factors that give life to an
organisation or community;
- We envision what might be. Dream together;
- We engage in dialogue to help the individual appreciation
become collective appreciation;
- We construct the future through innovation and action. We
design how we will make it happen.
The benefits of how this works in practice are summarised in
the extracts from participants' comments:
"I have learned that participation helps to find the
reality. Participation is the pre-condition of real learning; Learned how to reach to
constructive dream/vision through creative group work and portray how and what I feel
about us; Group work can be really fun and at the same time constructive by sharing the
same Dreams; People are always ready to find flaws - not enough "Constructive"
criticism going around; We all are very innovative and we can contribute more in this
process; ...Our participation together for our future. Everybody could decide anything; I
learned that if we take initiatives & are ready to make decisions as well as take
responsibility for them while "Enjoying" ourselves we can make a difference and
bring about change for the better; How to minimise a 'Large' amount of work in a short
time by providing input from different levels. We could follow it in future for
"Dreams"; I learned that if you want to develop something, you have to draw a
It was a fantastic experience for everyone who participated.
They were surprised by what they came up with: a vision, strategy and plan which is the
best it can be, utilised the best of what is and challenges them in the coming years. More
information from Patricia Lustig and from
the online newsletter.
- Large Group Meetings
- Audits and Reviews
- See work with a Borough Council on
Community Development page.
- See auditing of safety health and environment example under
- Strategy, Policy and Values Development
- A programme to introduce whole-system principles
and a range of participative methodologies to Andersen Consulting was
used to create "communities" within the firm's 55,000 people worldwide: this
included providing training in large-group technologies. More information from Romy Shovelton.
- Rank Xerox have a long history of
environmental improvement. A case study entitled "Energy & Environmental
Management in Rank Xerox " is available from the European Case Clearing House at
Cranfield University Tel:01234 750903 (Strategy). The case study was
written by Suzanne Pollack
and Richard Tapper.
- Roots of Success is
still being developed but has the potential to be an effective approach to sustainable
- Jacquelyn Ottman created the "Getting to
Zero" (sm) environmental innovation process, a proprietary process for
guiding cross-functional client teams in the generation of concepts for new products and
services that meet customer needs effectively and with minimal environmental impact. She
is the author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for
Innovation, 2nd edition (NTC Contemporary Books, 1998), considered the definitive text on
the subject, with worldwide distribution. More information from Jacquelyn Ottman.
- Sustainability Strategy is how Ecos describes its work with companies
to develop and implement business strategies to respond to the challenge of
sustainability. More than responding to community concerns about the environmental and
social impacts of business and industry, Sustainability Strategy is a new way of thinking
about how to do business. This approach adds shareholder value and maximises the
longterm viability of a business in an ever more complex and competitive global
market. Ecos helps companies to develop and implement commercial responses which deliver
value in the short- to medium-term while building their capacity to respond to
opportunities in the long term.
Examples of Ecos work on Sustainability Strategy include DuPont and Placer Dome and more
information is accessible from the Ecos Corporation web site.
- Appreciative Enquiry - see above - see also the appreciative enquiry online newsletter.
- When Growing Communities, a small
non-profit distributing business, was formed to buy organic produce
communally, the first years objectives were to do with proving viability and
surviving. When it was clear that the box scheme was a success and financially
self-sufficient, the time came to re-examine some of the other wild ambitions to see which
should be turned into reality next! Penny Walker
facilitated a series of open, honest but safe sessions for the management group, enabling
them to confirm their values, re-write their mission, and frame an outline five year plan.
- Towards Corporate Environmental Sustainability -
Case Study on Eastern Group. In
1996 Eastern Group decided to establish the nature of the challenge that sustainable
development posed for them and used the Sustainable
Business Forum approach based on the RIV model. The
three main drivers for the programme were complying with the law, stakeholder concern and
competitive advantage. Eastern Group have had an Environmental Management System which
focuses on "doing things right", they now focused on "doing the right
thing". The aims of the project were to inform the strategic planning process, gain
support internally and externally and initiate constructive stakeholder dialogue. The
Environment Council were asked to help and, together with Eastern Group's Environment
Business Unit, the process was devised. This involved three facilitated workshops for
managers, managers with stakeholders and managers. There was considerable surprise that
the meetings were good natured leading to constructive outcomes in the form of stated
intentions. The next phase involved converting intentions into actions and identifying
suitable indicators for measuring progress. [Source; Eastern Group Case Study]
- Culture Change
- After deciding to give a high priority and profile to
environmental management, a large motor manufacturer decided to follow up a very
successful "Cascade" programme on Total Quality with a similar programme on the
environment. A university department with an established programme of Environmental
Management courses for managers, was commissioned to develop a seven day programme
incorporating all the stages of environmental awareness. A "tutor" group
of around 50 managers and specialists from all parts of the company was chosen to take
part in the full programme, and to cascade the material, suitably adapted and
condensed, through a second "tier" of managers to the whole of the workforce,
thereby bringing about a change of organisation culture. One of the outcomes was a
programme of environmental training for suppliers, designed and run by the companys
purchasing department, which helped to "cascade" environmental awareness still
further More information from Ken Knight.
- Implementing safety excellence, a shop
floor culture change programme that reduced personnel injuries by 70% in 18 months.
Leading for Safety, a leadership workshop for supervisors. See "A New Look at Safety
Training" web site. Publication of "Our
Commitment to Safety, Health and Environment", Exxon Chemicals first public
environmental report. More information from Jim
- Indicators of Performance & Setting Standards
- Introducing and auditing Integrated
Safety, Health and Environment Management Systems More information from Jim Hopwood.
- Draft position paper on Sustainable
Development for Architects and Engineers for Social Responsibility. More
information from Jim Hopwood.
HOW TO USE THESE CASE STUDIES
Several possibilities can be considered:
Other examples are welcomed!
- Speak to the contact person to learn how the application might
be adapted for different circumstances and organisations. SKILLED PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO
CONSIDER VARIOUS WAYS OF WORKING WITH YOU.
- Develop your own tailor-made version, but getting good results
usually depends on skilful use of a particular method, which is often harder than it seems
- Seek help in designing a tailor-made version for use in your
organisation, which you can then use
- Pick up an idea that can be added to something you are already
planning to do
- Some killed people are exploring ways in which different
elements described above can be linked together to form an integrated approach from
awareness raising, through skills development, teamwork development and on to strategy
- In some cases, for example the National
Awards in Energy Management, there may be opportunities to contribute your
skills as a trainer or to join a programme as a participant.
Please describe your example on the Practical Examples Reply Form. Details about yourself can be
submitted from the form accessed from the skilled people page.
Return to top of page or Taking initiatives
Last up-dated: 25 November 1999