Monday, April 11, 2011

Keeping Enemies Closest

The focus on enviromental sustainablity is consistantly growing as the recognition for this type of involvement gives more value to company's name. Various contests based on progress ratings are becoming incresingly more popular within all types of organizations and serve as a tool to encourage innovation and result in desired outcomes benefiting the enviroment as well as the reputation of the company.In  "Corporate Sustainability, Competition and Collaboration", David Schatsky talks about the factors that influence the success of these project. Having enviromentaly-focused efforts directed to numerous directions, companies of all sizes are taking their steps within their power and ability to make an impact. But what about the bigger issues that require  funding, human power or legal support that average size oraganization is not able to provide? This is when combining certain assets for two or more companies is the only option to accomplish the given goal. As collaboration takes place between the companies towards a common goal, the ultimate benefits are also mutually allocated among them. Characteristics of transactional leadership are seen in the aspect of sharing or exchanging unique features to move the partner ahead while acquiring benefit that the company would not have had if had worked on its own. The two are primaraly watching out for their own benefit as transactions take place. It is important to note that the projects are chosen based on ethical standards such as "Building the Community" which emphasizes the importance of the goal being of common interest to the community affected by it. The over-all goal of making an impact in the world, depending on the scale of the project would more often be more successful with aspects of transformational leadership as bigger impact, values-based projects would take place calling for more motivational, assertive leadership in process of reaching higher, more idealistic goals; such as changing entire production plan of given products in order to support a newly implemented standards for usage of biodegradable materials only.
The article focuses on the balance of collaboration and competition. The idea of initially uniting powers, solely for the purpose of getting ahead enough to compete against each others ratings down the road may seem confusing. While it may not be the desired path for most companies, it is also initiated by ethical motifs and true virtues of the company. Choosing the more altruistic option to action supports many aspects of social responsibility and in return highlights the positive characteristics of the organization for the public.
Goals focused on the good of external agents should be lead by authentic, interpersonal leadership allowing emphasis on the passion and compassion for a great purpose generating truly transformational results.
The question is how heavily should ethics be considered? When is it okay to cross over to the competition side, bringing down the competitor along with the progress made toward previously shared goal? Is it okay to work towards a goal and follow ethical standards just for the face value of benefiting one's name but become counterproductive towards the same goal when shifting to competition mode?

Mingaile Orakauskaite

Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke implements green initiative

When Mike Duke became CEO of Wal-Mart, he knew that as a leader of such a large, influential company, he had to lead a change in sustainability.  With over 2 million employees and 4800 stores, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States. Wal-Mart is so large, than one out of every three dollars worldwide is associated with a company that does business with Wal-Mart. Duke knew that by implementing a new green initiative, he could change the retail industry. Duke developed a green initiative with three goals:  One-hundred percent renewable energy, zero percent waste, and sustainable products for customers and the environment. Within a few months of implementing this new strategy, Wal-Mart was using 4 billion fewer plastic bags, delivering 70 million more boxes, while driving 100 million fewer miles. Wal-Mart’s new transportation strategy has improved efficiency by 38%, saving the company more that $200 million annually, while also cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 200,000 tons per year. Wal-Mart has also become the world’s largest buyer of organic milk and cotton. Duke understood that the key to his strategy was not just within the stores, but within the supply chain. Wal-Mart is showing its suppliers how to change their shipping, packaging, storing, selling, heating, cooling, disposing, and recycling strategies, in order to save money while improving the environment. Mike Duke is not just a manager at Wal-Mart, but is a leader in change. He is trying to create a change for the future by implementing a new green strategy. Duke has proved that he is an authentic leader according to the interpersonal definition of authentic leadership. His leadership towards sustainability not only involves Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart’s suppliers as well. Not only is Duke expressing his strong values and a concern for his customers, he is motivating Wal-Mart’s suppliers to “buy in” to Wal-Mart’s new green strategy. 

Do you think Wal-Mart is doing the right thing by pushing its suppliers to follow its green initiaitive?

Do you feel Wal-Mart is bullying its suppliers by forcing them to abide by certain green standards?

Should other large companies follow Wal-Mart's lead?

Posted by: Jerret Baker

Is Prince Charles an Authentic Leader?

The link above is a video of a speech given by Prince Charles regarding his take on environmental issues such as low carbon prosperity and the world's dependence on oil.  The address was given to the European Parliament, and the near 29 minute speech was a plea for increased accountability and continued progress.  The question remains, however; is Prince Charles an authentic leader?  Prince Charles has been well publicized for his stance on the environment, but is it a serious concern or a celebrity ploy?

There are many different approaches and definitions of authentic leadership, but for the sake of consistency and reference I will only use the developmental approach.  According to the developmental definition of authentic leadership, authentic leaders are nurtured and developed over time.  Generally, a significant and major life event might trigger the call to leadership, and leader behavior is grounded in positive psychological qualities and strong ethics.  In addition, authentic leadership can be identified by four components:  self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency.

Did Prince Charles ever have one of those "trigger moments?"  His life has been chronicled and publicized since day one, and I struggled to find anything that stood out as a "special moment" that could have jump-started his passion for the environment.  Does that mean that he is not authentic?  Absolutely not, as most people's breakthrough moments are internal and have special significance for the individual.  Those moments don't necessarily have to have any significance to spectators, and it is very possible that Prince Charles had that moment without anyone taking notice.  During my research, I did discover that Prince Charles has had a passion for the environment for roughly 30 years, and his life's work seems to back that up.  I can not prove that Prince Charles is an authentic leader from this, but it is impossible to disprove it either.

The first component of authentic leadership is self-awareness, and that refers to one's knowledge of one's character, feelings, motivators, and desires.  Prince Charles certainly has that.  His body of work and most recently his address to the European parliament reveals his knowledge of his position, his passion for his topic, and his clear vision.  The second component is internalized moral perspective, and this refers to someone using their own morals and beliefs to guide their behavior.  Prince Charles clearly believes that creating a better world for future generations is the right thing to do, so he spends his time donating to the cause and delivering addresses geared towards the cause.  In his private life, he owns a sustainable farm and believes in alternative medicine.  His beliefs definitely guide his actions.  The third component is balanced processing, and this refers to an individual's ability to analyze information objectively and seek opinions of other people.  Prince Charles's address mentioned a great deal of research and statistics, and he also spoke on behalf of several prominent experts and organizations, so it would be safe to say that he listens carefully and analyzes the opinions of many people.  The fourth component is relational transparency ,and this refers to being open and honest in regards to one's true feelings and beliefs.  Prince Charles practices relational transparency almost by default, as his life has been chronicled throughout his existence.  Even without that, however, Prince Charles shares his views and beliefs very openly.

After this analysis, I believe that Prince Charles is in fact an authentic leader.  Many of these points were based on speculation however, and a real answer can only be found by delving inside of Prince Charles's psyche.  What do you think?  Is Prince Charles an authentic leader?

-Jonathan Lucento


Who says it’s not easy being green? Nurses and Health care leaders Promote Healing, Environmentally Friendly Facilities

An extremely important, and often times overlooked aspect of effective, authentic, and transformational leadership is the practice of Ethics. The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, meaning customs, conduct, or character. There are many different approaches and theories concerning ethics that attempt to categorize what is moral and for what reasons. One ethical approach is Altruism, and suggest that actions are moral if their primary purpose is to promote the best interest of others. The  Boulder Community Foothills Hospital is a great illustration of the ethical concept of Altruistic leadership and shows how patients and nurses can benefit from the pursuit of environmentally conscious programs.  

Recently there has been a growing movement to change the face of health care facility design, construction and operation; the emphasis is on making these structures more people & planet-friendly. ANA and nurses are an integral part of that movement. They believe that “what is good for the environment is also good for nurses and patients,” said Nancy Hughes, MS, RN, director of ANA’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.  In addition to its own efforts to promote healthy work-places, ANA is a founding partner of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) and a member of Health Care without Harm (HCWH). Both coalitions advance sound environmental practices that protect the health of people and the environment. “New green building design isn’t just about looking pretty,” Hughes said. “There’s science behind it. Research shows that elements, such as natural lighting and healing gardens, reduce stress in patients, families and staff.

The ANA also acknowledges that certain practices that have been part of the health care industry for a long time, such as the use of mercury containing products and often the production of a vast amount of waste. These practices can negatively affect the environment, and in turn, the greater community. Robin Guenther, a leading architect in the green building movement said, “Hospitals, for the most part, are mission driven. Once administrators and staff make the connection between the health services they provide and the benefits of environmental design, they want to do the right thing."

When Kai Abelkis came on board as the environmental coordinator of Boulder Community Hospital (BCH) in Colorado in 1999, the facility already had programs to reduce its impact on the environment, though they largely focused on waste reduction. With BCH’s ongoing support, Abelkis expanded the facility’s environmental efforts, including implementing water-reduction programs and purchasing environmentally-friendly products, such as those without extraneous packaging. (H2E has recognized the Boulder Health Care Center as an environmental leader.)

As part of its water-conservation plan, the Foothills facility incorporated “xeriscaping” – meaning the surrounding grounds are landscaped with plants native to Colorado and those that require less water. Leaving no stone unturned, water-saving product choices inside the structure include waterless urinals and low-flow faucets in clinical areas. To cut down on transportation-related fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as support the local economy, much of the building material originated and was manufactured in the surrounding communities. Additionally, construction waste was reduced by roughly 60 percent. Employees are encouraged to ride their bikes or carpool to work – with accommodations made to support those activities.  The location of the building also was precisely determined to keep its “environmental footprint” small – with attention spent to preserving area wetlands and a native prairie dog population. A vital part of the building design is to keep the impact of building operations on the environment minimal, such as by having a rigorous recycling program and continuing to think forward when it comes to green practices.

Do you think that other organizations will be influenced by the actions of BCH, and be inspired to promote more environmentally conscious building practices?

Are there any other environmental measures that could be taken to ensure the proper building of these hospitals? 

By: Jarett Diederich

The "Green Power Broker"

Since the start of this blog I've been wanting to write a post about Majora Carter. She is arguably one of the most if not the most influential woman in environmental change. After learning about transformational leadership, I've started to realize Majora fits perfectly in this category of leadership. She has many environmental projects that have been major successes but the most impressive thing about her is her ability to be a leader in ANY type of situation (private sector, non profit, etc) but to also help enable her followers. In an earlier post I questioned if there was ever going to be some type of leader that would be more effective with environmental change than others. I truly believe that transformational leadership is going to be the most successful in terms of reaching through to our society on environmental issues. Peter Northouse claims in our book that transformational leadership is ideal right now because of the uncertainty and fear our society is feeling. Transformational leadership inspires and empowers individuals and this is simply the need right now for our society as a whole. 

Here is an excerpt about her first green initiative from The Green Economy Post:

"Before going into the private sector, she founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 after writing a $1.25M Federal Transportation grant to design the South Bronx Greenway with 11 miles of alternative transport, local economic development, low-impact storm-water management, and recreational space. She has brought riverfront parks, green roofs, dramatically expanded the urban forest, created a community market,and successfully implemented the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program – seeding her community with a skilled green-collar workforce that has both a personal & economic stake in our environment.  It was one of the nation’s first urban green collar training and placement systems."

After working on the Sustainable South Bronx Carter has been president of a private, for-profit "green" economic consulting firm, The Majora Carter Group, LLC. They specialize in consulting for firms on how to go green along with also funding new green initiatives. Also, she has been in the media advocating for various issues and speaking on everything "green." She has been featured on countless radio shows, was a part of the original 6 TED videos released, and had a special on HBO. 

She is very interchangeable and can lead in literally any situation you put her in. What sets her apart however is her ability to truly connect with her followers. Currently our society has a need of shifting towards being more "green" and most of us are willing to or even want to, but no one has really shown us the way. She isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and is right in the "trenches" with everyone else on all of her projects. She has enabled the entire Bronx community and has not only provided jobs and programs for the community but has also shown her followers how to get one of these jobs or how to be a part of one of her programs. Her personality and her ability to inspire has allowed her to be a successful transformational leader. 

Majora Carter continues to be president of The Majora Carter Group and also still gives speeches frequently. She has been one of the most successful leaders in green and as others look to step up and lead I hope they take into account how she has leveraged transformational leadership into success. 

I do have a few questions to consider...

1. Do you believe Majora Carter is utilizing transformational leadership? If she isn't what type of leader do you feel she is?

2. Do you feel transformational leadership is an effective way to lead in the green initiative? 

Dan Salsinger

Steve Hoffman's HP Power Saving Initiative

                Over the past few years, Hewlett-Packard has been trying to develop new ways of decreasing carbon emissions and improving the energy efficiency of their computers.  Steve Hoffman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard, has been a leading advocate of this ongoing process.  Since the year 2005, HP has been able to improve the energy efficiency of their personal computers by over 40%. (Heimbuch,  2009).  In the year 2009, Hoffman declared that he wanted to see another 40% growth in efficiency in half the time it took to acquire the amount since the start of the project in 2005, meaning by 2011.  To put it in analytical terms, accomplishing this task would achieve the gain of an energy supply that could power a town of around 90,000 people for over a year. 
                In order to comply with this statement, Hoffman came up with four methods to reducing personal computer energy consumption.  These methods are: “designing energy-efficient hardware, improving green data center practices, working to change consumer behavior towards more efficient habits, and helping business customers improve the efficiency of HP products.”  The company has also included 150 more products under their EcoHighlights label and plans on using a total of 100 million pounds of recycled plastic items in its printing products.  One of the main focuses of Steve Hoffman is to try and increase awareness of the importance of recycling amongst the consumers who use Hewlett-Packard products.  I believe that a psychodynamic approach to this problem is the best course of action.  Utilizing the crossed transaction between an adult and another adult as described in Eric Berne’s transactional analysis, the awareness level can be thoroughly increased.  Since the adult ego-state revolves around the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that surround a person, sharing the problem with the consumer will hopefully increase the awareness of the problem and in turn invoke action to decrease the scope of the problem.  Since most of the consumers who purchase computer products are adults, using an adult ego-state rather than a parent ego-state is arguably more applicable.  Since Steve Hoffman is not performing an increasingly high amount of physical contact with the consumers who purchase his products, coming up with a formal letter or viral message from an adult ego-state perspective is the best method in my opinion.  After all, Hoffman needs to be seen as a leader in the Greenfield in the eyes of the public if he is to go further in his going green processes.
                What do you all think about this approach to Hoffman’s leadership in the green field?  Do you think a different approach is more applicable?  If not do you have anything to add to these statements?

-Jonathon Byrd