Going green has been one of the mantras of the day in the business world. Businesspeople increasingly feel compelled to be good corporate citizens. Therefore, among the multiple factors assessed in every decision is how will this affect the environment?”
Dont get me wrong. I do believe we must be good stewards over the resources with which we have been entrusted. Nevertheless, what strikes me as funny is when going green isn’t going green.
Case in point: Most people try to maintain a paperless office as much as possible in the interest of not killing more trees. On the surface, one can understand the strategy. Unfortunately, what many people do not realize is the more paper is used, the higher the demand for paper, the more trees are planted to replenish and further support the growing demand. I had a paper-trade expert share this with me at a business meeting recently. She explained higher paper use directly leads to more trees, and less paper use directly leads to fewer trees.
Many additional examples exist. The bottom line is in each case not looking at the whole picture can put you in the predicament of thinking you are going green when youre not.
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I chuckled at Sarah Goodyears article (link below) in which she bemoans our fate when we become overly dependent on our GPS devices and our technology. Goodyear affirms although technology is a great tool, perhaps when we allow ourselves to become overly dependent on it, we usurp our cognitive and existential prowess.
I love technology. I love what it can do for me. I love the increasing number of benefits and conveniences it provides. Simultaneously, I continually remind myself how dependent I am on technology.
This awareness drives me to three continual objectives:
1). To remain technologically astute so I can continue to benefit.
2). To build redundant backup systems to protect my data and my processes.
3). Never to fear doing something the old-fashioned way (such as pen and paper), because, after all . . . . they dont disappear when the power dies.
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I have been amazed to observe the generational differences with respect to social media. I have seen both good and bad.
On the good side, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Increasing numbers of baby boomers and beyond are gravitating toward the online universe. Savvy business professionals understand they must keep up with the times and the technology if they want to remain relevant. Generation Y folks, having grown up in it, navigate seamlessly between their online world and the supposed real world. (Which world is more real? one might ask—shades of The Matrix?)
On the bad side, there are baby boomers who choose to limit their potential and their career by virtue of ignoring the online world. Pretending it does not exist does not make it so. Some generation Y folks remain oblivious to the permanency of their online tags and tirades, thereby inflicting lifelong negative marks on their virtual resumes and reputations. This speaks to the recklessness of youth and the obligation of the more experienced to set the example and lead the way.
For good or for bad, we can never go back. But we can take what is ours today and make it better by our actions and by our example.
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[These links and my commentary were originally published on my Facebook page on the dates indicated]
LOCAL NEWS, BUT LIKELY WITH A NATIONAL IMPACT
Kansas City Star 12/8/11.Hyatt Hotels will not contribute to skywalks memorial — KansasCity.com
Hyatt Hotels Corp., which no longer operates the hotel at Crown Center that was the site of the 1981 skywalks collapse that killed 114 people, will not contribute to the memorial planned for a park across the street.
So let me get this straight. Hyatt Hotels Corporation (that used to run the hotel at Crown Center, site of the 1981 skywalk collapse killing 114 people) has decided because it is no longer in Kansas City, it will NOT donate a single penny to the planned Skywalk Memorial?
Can you spell public-relations disaster?
12/23/11Check out the latest development on this story.
I am thrilled that Hyatt finally decided to do the right thing. Perhaps they decided to donate as a public-relations damage-control measure, or perhaps they finally woke up to the fact that this donation is the moral, ethical, appropriate, and kind action to take, or perhaps they cunningly calculated the long-term image of being the hotel without a heart.
Regardless, it is sad that Hyatt did not simply step up to the plate immediately. That still boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but to me, this one was a very clear Public-Relations 101 situation.
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The once-mammoth, Eastman Kodak Company, is now threatened with extinction. This month the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
I worked at Kodak in its heyday in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. I was in the research and development labs in Rochester, New York. At that time, a million dollars a day went into R&D. This investment paid off with a new or improved product or process every three days. This approach kept King Kodak constantly on the cutting edge.
Sadly, in spite of Kodaks 132-year run, even in its heyday, I could see signs of the fat-and-happy blindness evolving. As the concept and the technology of digital imaging began to emerge, tragically, Kodak somehow refused to believe its eyes. Ironic for a company that relied on images for its lifeblood. More than once, I encountered leadership that flatly stated there was no way possible for digital imaging ever to replace wet chemistry film. That attitude laid the groundwork for the history we have witnessed. By the time Kodak woke up to the realities of the technological landscape, it was too late. In spite of valiant efforts to turn the battleship, the company had run out of time, and it was too far behind the curve.
Kodak illustrates for us the truism that businesses must never assume things will remain the same. Being fat and happy can feel good, but it is bad. Complacency and groupthink collude to destruction.
Businesses today must never assume things will always be the same. Study your landscape, capture the trends, remain self-alert, seek alternate viewpoints, constantly innovate, and always be willing to change. After all, as some have wisely observed: change is the only constant.
But how do you imagine a future you cant imagine? Well, youd better learn quickly because the ones that do will be the future success stories. And the ones that dont, wont be here.
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