The idea of setting up my own business applying psychology to sustainability in the workplace has been brewing in the back of my mind for a while. The opportunity to do something about it came in the form of unemployment.
It was in December 2009 and I had just completed a change project at UBS investment bank in London. The full impact of the ‘credit crunch’ was taking hold in the UK and businesses were shutting up shop early for Christmas.
With time on my hands, I took the opportunity to explore how I could help organisations take a more sustainable approach to their business. I started talking to people, reading and attending events.
I soon realised that my background in Psychology and Human Resources meant that I could help organisations with one of the big challenges that they were struggling with: behaviour change. My challenge was that no one was prepared to pay me to help them out.
So I volunteered my services to a couple of charities: Carbon Descent and Business in the Community (BITC). At BITC I had the opportunity to interview Corporate Responsibility (CR) practitioners across a range of UK organisations. The CR Practitioner Competency Map project that I worked on highligted the challenges that organsiations faced along the path to sustainability. Equally as important, we identified how sustainability practitioners had tackled these challenges, along with the knowledge and skills that they needed to be successful.
Not surprisingly, changing employee behaviour was near the top of everyone’s list of challenges. It was insightful to hear how organisations from very different industry sectors were approaching this culture change challenge.
On returning home to Wellington in November 2010, I began investigating how organisations in New Zealand were approaching the same challenges. I have heard some good success stories. Frequently though, I have come across organisations wanting help with how to bring about and maintain the behaviour change needed for sustainable business success.
I have set up Adaptation to help organisations tackle the challenge of creating a responsible workplace culture where systems thinking and resilient behaviour is an integral part of ‘the way we do things around here’.
I look forward to sharing my reflections and examples of sustainable business best practice with you in this blog. I encourage you to join the discussion by sharing your comments, questions and examples on these pages too.