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“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
~ Stephen Covey
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Decisions, decisions, decisions – and they don’t stop with Sustainability. In fact, they place executives and executive decisions on the carpet each time they make financial corporate decisions. Although the complexity of the enterprise can be simplified, decision-making that considers more than financial consequences can put social and environmental levels in a tug of war – moving away from a financial centric decision to a Sustainability decision that reflects a holistic perspective.

Most of today’s executives were indoctrinated under the economic doctrine of Dr. Milton Friedman. Friedman, who has argued that the primary responsibility of business is to make a profit for its owners, albeit while complying with the law. According to this view, the self-interested actions of millions of participants in free markets will, from a utilitarian perspective, lead to positive outcomes for society. If the operation of the free market cannot solve a social problem, it becomes the responsibility of government, not business, to address the issue.[1]

Friedman also argued against CSR. He believed that management is to make as much money as possible within the limits of the law and ethical customs. He argued that the primary responsibility of business is to make a profit for its owners, albeit while complying with the law. According to Friedman, an agency theory perspective implies that CSR was a misuse of corporate resources that would be better spent on valued-added internal projects or returned to shareholders. It also suggested that CSR was an executive perk, in the sense that managers use CSR to advance their careers or other personal agendas[2]. If the operation of the free market cannot solve a social problem, it becomes the responsibility of government, not business, to address the issue[3].

So why would any executive or owner want to take a journey that could be more complex, filled with harder decisions, juggle the tensions between stakeholders and shareholders and for what? I think Ray Anderson said it best; “And I have not mentioned the value of a tree and removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere, sequestering carbon, and producing oxygen for us to breathe, nor the songs of birds that are heard no more where the forests used to be. Neither have I mentioned the disease spreading insects that now proliferate unchecked because of the birds, their predators are gone, resulting in an increase in encephalitis in the children of the region. So you see, there are serious questions to be raised about the traditional calculation a profit on the sale of timber harvested from clear-cut forest.”[4] So, we are all products of our decisions and Sustainability is a commitment to do the right thing.

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[1] CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, Reference for Business; Encyclopedia of Small Business; Retieved: 12 Sep 2011
[2] McWilliams, Abagail; Siegel, Donald S. and Wright, Patrick M.; Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategic Implications; Journal of Management Studies 43:1 January 2006
[3] Corporate Social Responsibility, Reference for Business; Encyclopedia of Small Business; Retrieved: 12 Sep 2011
[4] Anderson, Ray C.; Mid-Course Correction, Chelsea Green publishing Company, White River Junction, Vermont, 3rd printing September 2005

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Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: Building a Bridge to Benefits –  Password: book2013  Discount: A37ZVRKK
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•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

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Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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The Future Is Our Choice
The 21st century will be a century of change, transformation, new ideas and innovation, and discoveries that will enrich our society.  We have entered a new industrial revolution.  An industrial change that acknowledges our environment, our current generation’s needs, our need to revisit best practices, our business need to transform and prepare our legacy to meet the needs for succeeding generations.

We currently have, in place, a budding Sustainability industry that will continue to grow, mature and expand in the next 20 years. This is not a siloed approach,  but an integrated solution approach that is tailored to fit each organization’s needs.

Ray Anderson, an industrialists and sustainability pioneer, once said; “I also believe that it doesn’t happen quickly … it happens one mind at a time, one organization at a time, one building, one company, one community, one region, one new, clean technology, one industry, one supply chain at a time … until the entire industrial system has been transformed into a sustainable system, existing ethically in balance with Earth’s natural systems, upon which every living thing is utterly dependent.”

Ideas will come from man-kind and “nature” will show us the path.  We will see a dance between Technology and Science that will build our economies as nothing before.  and Technological arrays, will focus on issues resolution through the use of technology. From science, biological and “natural” views, will focus on how to restore our environment. It will continue to build on array and matrix foundations, which will holistically support industries, countries and the world in the transformation to a sustainable planet.

Technological arrays will interconnect technologies for remediation of Sustainability issues (i.e.,  Transportation, Traffic, Internet, Water Purification, etc.). Environmental matrices will produce biological and “natural” views will make solutions for converting waste to bio-nutrients for the purpose of environmental restoration. This is a long-term mending and nurturing strategy to restore our planet.
We also have that heritage reflected in what Theodore Roosevelt said over a century ago; “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” We are at a crossroad to decide what direction we want to go.  Should we continue with the current direction with a dismal future or we decide to take another route that eliminates waste, understands how the environment natures us, transforms our businesses, industries and countries into sustainable societies for future generations of mankind? We do have a choice.

The Choice Is Ours To Decide
In this century, business will be the true catalyst for pragmatic Sustainability transformation.  This is a systematic approach of eliminating waste, improve efficiency,  addressing customer needs, and recognizing corporate social responsibilities. Sustainability is a systemic framework to address economic, environmental, social and technological issues, to create a sustainable world and avoid declining ecosystems and the extinction of mankind as we know it. The business community has begun to implement Sustainability and has proven that change can indeed be profitable.

What do we need? The wisdom to recognize our changing world, the understanding of the actions we need to make, and knowledge that hesitation will only prolong the consequences of a poorly appreciated and abused  resource, Our Earth.

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Organizations evolve and change with their business environment, much like living organisms do with nature. The business owner should always be aware of that change, understand its impact, and be proactive in managing change to improve performance and extract tangible benefits for his company. Most companies are not fully optimized and retain inefficiencies in day-to-day operations of doing business. Combining Sustainability and Lean Six Sigma in a synergistic approach to promote sustainable practices, reduce your corporate imprint on the environment, improve efficiency and performance, and promote brand differentiation in your marketplace. From one focused initiative, crossover benefits would almost assuredly provide significant Tangible Benefits by understanding how to retain your improvements that are measured by your bottom line. This is easier to achieve if change is planned, well managed, and aligned to the goals of the organization. Organizations often go through growth stages. Here are a couple of scenarios for change: Unknown Future for the Enterprise, Actions and Decisions without recognizing Outsourcing consequences, and Future Sustainability & Quality Enterprise Growth

Copyright by Jarvis Business Solutions - Organizatinal Evolution

No Vision | No Change Control | Unknown Future for the Enterprise

Many corporations are faced with a dilemma. In many cases, the founder of a company may not recognize the need for an organizational vision as business changes. Leadership often tolerates inefficiencies, especially when “fire drills” are often case. Often, leadership they understand the history, inception and evolution of the organization since its founding, to may not have a clear understanding regarding its next steps.

The typical “fork in the road” provides management with three alternatives: do nothing, elect to transform through outsourcing, or most effectively, efficient transformation that includes sustainability and quality. In this scenario, although management is aware – it does nothing. By ignoring unseen costs and tolerates inefficiencies, this leadership fosters bureaucracy that leads to eventual organizational stagnation. Here is why:

  1.  Inception & Evolution: This is the period when an idea is transformed into business. It may be a very small organization of one person or expanded to include larger groups to meet the business needs. An organization could vary from “vague” to a clear hierarchy with a “command and control” structure. Oftentimes, organizational evolution develops in the decentralized model.
  2.  Congeal Phase: This phase is the “critical mass” of the organizational when issues become recognized. There may be a serious decline in sales. Competition, new technologies, a failure to meet the customer needs and expectations, a history of poor product development and introduction or poor marketing may all be contributory factors in reduced sales and be the catalyst for the business owner to change the approach to the business organization.
  3.  Bureaucratization: The autocratic control of an owner may at times only be changed through the realization that bureaucracy is undesirable and can be a barrier. The policies, procedures and practices of the business may be restrictive and hinder growth, communication or efficiency. The term “bureaucratization” evolves from growing hierarchy and functional differentiation.
  4.  Differentiation Phase: Promoting products and services that are unique and possess intrinsic values for your Customers are significant in attracting “niche” markets.
  5.  Stagnation: A business owner may not realize that in order to optimize business value, changes in the way the business is run will be necessary. The delegation of responsibilities, training of staff and implementation of strategic plans may be areas that are not internalized, nor control change. This organizational model, similar to Taylor’s philosophy and methodology, renders work force pathways as limited and erects obstacles for improvement.
  6. Litmus Test: Will this organizational evolution address your business needs to meet your competitive environment? Does it provide a process to eliminate waste and variation? Does it provide an alternative for improvement and performance?

No Vision | No Change Control | Actions and Decisions without recognizing Outsourcing consequences

Still, other management styles focus on expenses, only. This is a very shortsighted approach that can have substantial consequences and even jeopardize the survivability of the company. Beginning in the early 1990s, many corporations selected that option solely based on cost savings.  Often times those “savings” evaporated, in context of poor service,  poorly educated support staff, service provider’s  unrealistic service expectations, cultural and language differences that also hindered business and organizational needs. For the past 5-10 years, those poorly thought out decisions have have been reversed and aligned to marketplace needs.

Sustainability & Quality Vision | Continuous Improvement | Future Sustainability & Quality Enterprise

If your Leadership style is based on facts and broadly views all costs in your organization landscape, then focusing on how to deliver products and services in an efficient manner will reap short-term gains and lay the foundation for long-term efficiencies. Here are some potential changes in behavior:

  1.  Inception & Evolution: This is the period when an idea is transformed into business.
  2.  Congeal Phase: This phase is the “critical mass” of the organizational when issues become recognized. .
  3.  External & Internal Transformation: External leadership who bring new methodologies and enterprise planning to the business can visualize end-to-end organizational improvements, from Suppliers to Customers,  provide strategies that sensitive to the environment, enrich brand image, engage with the business community and reap tangible benefits.
  4.  Differentiation Phase: Promoting products and services that are unique and possess intrinsic values for your Customers are significant in attracting “niche” markets.
  5.  Innovation: Innovation is assembled from creativity, ideas, strategies, processes, and most important the right human elements and a spirit of entrepreneurship. Innovation can be applied to your existing business environment to increase customer satisfaction, increase profitability, decrease waste and become more in tune with the marketplace.
  6. Integration: After Transformation initiatives are executed and implemented, a leader recognizes that seamlessness may not be apparent in the controlled change. So, integration links groups in organizations, based on your new business paradigm and avoiding relapses to “old ways”, to apply their new knowledge in the “new” system with support to its stakeholders and the vision.
  7.  Sustainability & Quality: Transformation is modeled with foundations for better leadership, based on these two lessons: The leanest will be more competitive [Lean Six Sigma]. The leanest will be better stewards and create a better chance of making the future a success [Sustainability]. All resources are finite, but the journey to pursue excellence is based on optimizing profitability: Sustainability + Quality + Continuous Improvement = Optimizing Profitability
  8.  Litmus Test: Will transformation create opportunities for increased performance, reduced costs, provide for growth of brand and attract quality employees? The results indicate it will provide your organization with those opportunities and establish a Continuous Improvement process to refine and meet your future competitive landscape.

Opt For Managed Change
Competitive advantages come from Continuous Improvement. It begins with a study of the market landscape, urgent application of lessons learned, improved quality and innovation of Products and Services to gain market leadership and customer allegiance. We facilitate that shedding process to help your organization transform by investigating quality, scrutinizing costs and providing expertise in performance areas. Lean Six Sigma provides tools to integrate and improve a vast array of elements and corporate resources to align with your company’s efforts and direction. Here are a few areas:

  1.  Sustainability strategies
  2.  Corporate Social Responsibilities
  3.  Customer engagement
  4.  Employee engagement
  5.  Change management
  6.  Strategic planning
  7.  Operational efficiency
  8.  Operational redesign
  9.  Outsourcing
  10.  Strengths development
  11.  Innovation
  12.  Management evaluation tools
  13.  Leadership development
  14.  Supplier relationships and alignment

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