Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Performance-Directed Organizations Are More "Green"

While it’s great that renewable energy sources, energy-efficient transportation and green office complexes are being developed, the fact is that conservation can have more immediate impact. And, a performance-directed culture (and organization) promises to improve conservation by reducing the use of many forms of energy, thereby reducing an organization’s carbon footprint.

As a refresher, a performance-directed culture is one where everyone is actively aligned with the mission of the organization, where transparency and accountability are the norm, new insights are acted upon in unison and conflicts are resolved quickly and positively. A more complete description can be found in my new book: Profiles in performance – Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change.

The average organization thrives on long work days, numerous lengthy meetings, and an inordinate number of business trips to compensate for a chaotic lack of structure and context for the work that it does. Work-at-home is a luxury and is limited because the formal office setting provides the context needed to get work done. In these organizations, their lack of structure requires the co-location of people to manage interactions and cope with impromptu changes in management direction. Additionally, since a more rational context for work does not exist, management needs the physical workplace to ensure that their employees are truly “working”. Of course most of us that have worked outside of an office for many years know that productivity is vastly higher than when sitting at a desk in an office park.

In contrast, a performance-directed organization's initiatives can be carried out with relative ease – with each contributor understanding his or her role, related tasks and their relationship to others’. Both efficient and effective, it can bring initiatives to a more rapid and successful conclusion – which translates into less office time and fewer meetings and business trips. In turn, this reduces the need for extended-hours lighting and heating for office buildings and less business travel (e.g., trains, planes and automobiles).

Not surprisingly, a performance-directed organization facilitates and functions well with a work-at-home workforce better than one that is not performance-directed. Through work-at-home we can dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels and associated pollution from automobiles used to commute to and from office parks, and further reduce the energy used to heat and light office space. In the longer term, fewer buildings would be required to be built – thereby preserving open land, reducing the use of raw materials and the energy required for construction.

So, in these times when we’re all striving to find ways to be more “green” and reduce our carbon footprint, becoming performance-directed is a vital approach. And, while you’re reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll also be improving your organization’s performance.

Of course, that's just my opinion. What do you think?



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1 comment:

  1. I think this is a very good point and right on the money. In the small company settings I have experience with I like to talk about goal "congruence" across the company. If everything is in alignment with respect to goals, there's a lot less need for "midcourse correction", everyone stays on plan, and things go smoothly. Since the watchword today in small companies is "capital efficiency", this gets to be an essential component of management.