Company Re-branding and Sustainability

As we move into this decade we see change all around us.  Companies are requiring more LEED AP’s to join their ranks and others are pushing for specific specialties, i.e.  St. Louis based company McCarthy Building Companies, Inc has required all its LEED AP to have BD+C specialty. The hiring of Sustainability Managers and Chief Sustainability Officers is on the rise in all forms of industry.  An article in stated that 36% of larger companies in the US have Sustainability Leaders as part of their executive teams and the numbers are growing.  With all this change moving through the industry on all levels, how is your organization handling these changing times? What changes have to be made to start the rebranding process?

First the leaders or an organization have to believe that there are positive effects of sustainable practices on their organization, employees, bottom line and overall environment. Only through that belief will the commitment be there and true change will happen.  When the president of a company believes in sustainability and is willing to change the company culture will true change happen. Adding a few LEED AP’s on the team or a few consultants here and there will not cut it in the long run for any company that wants to survive as time progresses.  Change and rebranding need to happen to propel a company as one of the leaders in the industry and have the company stable in the future. These changes have to happen internally in a company with the change in company culture, policy and standards.  Consecutively changes have to happen externally with all lines of communication showing this change.

I want to first look at Simon Sinek ‘s simple philosophy of the “Golden Circle”.  The “Golden Circle” has 3 simple ideas Why, How and What?  Simon states that most companies concentrate on What they do and not Why they are doing it.   More successful companies are opening communication channels with why their company is there and attracting people that are dedicated to their vision and creating customer loyalty.  This philosophy stems not only to external customers but to internal staff.

When starting to think about rebranding, a company has to truly see:

1.       What its vision is and why they are doing it.  Taking those elements and seeing how this new vision is different from its current culture and how to make these changes; then communicating the Why to its staff and external connections. It is also important to have staff at all levels as advocates of this new vision.

2.       Looking into what services or product it provides and how additions or modifications to these can be done to follow the new vision.  How can these modifications happen with the least disturbance to company function?

3.       Redesigning the internal communication systems of the organization to make it easier for staff to achieve this vision . i.e. by creating standards, educating staff and supplying staff with proper tool to simplify the process.  In anything designed if the interface is simplified people will be more accepting of that change.

4.       Redesigning its external communication systems to include Why they do what they do.  Part of this would incorporate sustainability, CSR and collaboration with others that have the same vision, standards and integrity of the organization.  An organization needs to start looking into who they work with, i.e. contractors, manufacturers, engineers and products being used.  Working with companies that understand sustainability and have the expertise on staff to do the job right is important.  This is important on two levels, they get the work they truly want to produce without sacrificing quality, time and you further push the message of the organization.

These are things a lot of companies are looking to do, having people that understand these processes and how to make them happen is important, as I said this is being realized in the industry as Sustainability Managers, Sustainability Directors and Chief Sustainability Officers are being added to executive staff of all types of organizations.  Also, there are a lot of conferences on the subject, such as Urban Green Council’s “Speak Green” Conference that is dedicated to the subject.

To truly be a Sustainability Company you have to have sustainability on all levels not only in the work you do.

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