Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why Milton Isn't Green

I work in a design firm and spend a large portion of my time convincing people to change. Remember Milton from Office Space who couldn't let go of his red Swingline stapler (needless to say his office)? Imagine an entire organization of people, very happy in their current work arragements, being asked to not only move out of their office, but to share an office with someone else or to "telecommute." Their reaction varies from reluctant compliance to outright anger. What's even harder than moving into a new space is the change in behavior that is required to make it work.

As my husband reminds me, people are 99% chimp. Our DNA is just not made to change our minds (or behavior) overnight.

I don't know about you, but most of my projects involve some degree of change management. This involves finding champions in the organization and developing a strong rationale for change that appeals to individuals... otherwise known as WIIFM or "what's in it for me?"

Asking folks to go green, i.e. to print less, recyle more, work at home, use new technology and communicate differently... it just won't happen without a lot of encouragement and the most important measurement, appealing to the WIIFM. How will being green not only help the enviornment, but how will it help me do my job? Cost me or my business unit less money? Cause me less anxiety on a daily basis? The good news is that saving enviornmental resources can easily be tied to saving personal and financial resources. How so?
  • Working from home or using video conferencing means less time on the road and more time with family and friends.
  • Recycling (or precycling) means buying less paper and fewer styrofoam cups.
  • More natural light means we all look more beautiful (skin tones are much more flattering in the sun, don't let those lighting salesmen tell you differently) plus we can just see better.
  • Better air quality means less trips to the doctor... the list goes on.

Remember, we all need a little urging to resist our Milton-esque tendencies.

1 comment:

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