Gaining ‘Buy-in’ to Going Green

Mary Curtiss
Energy and Sustainability

Most people want to do the right thing and feel good about the way they do their job; however, change isn’t always easy.  Our sustainability team had to overcome significant resistance to change when, on behalf of a global client, we started integrating sustainability criteria into processes for site selection, operations, management and build-out. Even some members of our own account team were reluctant to make changes that they felt might require more work, increase costs or create confusion.

It’s hard to fault people for wanting to maximize productivity and minimize cost, so our team demonstrated how the sustainability initiative would advance rather than hamper those goals. Even after the same messages were communicated from senior management, many were slow to adopt changes. 

Here’s how we accomplished buy-in:

  • Site Scorecards that are incorporated into each site manager’s performance goals (which also affect bonus compensation).  The Site Scorecard measures the progress of four programs types: waste management, water management, energy management and communication.  Performance of these programs is reviewed on a quarterly basis.
  • Global weekly team meetings of all personnel responsible for each program type, where we discussed progress of ongoing initiatives and solicited new ideas.
  • A system for tracking progress of each new initiative to advance one or more program types  The tracking system provides transparency across all locations, allows us to roll out initiatives more quickly, and streamlines reporting to client executives.

This combination of strong organization, visibility and consistency proved to be a winning formula to break down pockets of resistance. People eventually saw that their cooperation was necessary, their input was beneficial, and the results we could achieve by working together were impressive.

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