The Green Business Roadblock: What’s Standing in Your Way?

Posted on 11. Aug, 2011 by in Business & Policy, Entrepreneurship

It’s hard to balance passion and profit. But it’s a fundamental necessity for those professionals who pursue opportunities in the rapidly evolving sustainability economy, either by choice or necessity. The stakes are high, and we know we need to make smart decisions and move quickly to get beyond business-as-usual.

Our bosses, co-workers, clients, and/or financial backers don’t always see the same imperative timeline (be it fast or slow), so every day we make choices.  We can get up on that tightrope, or stand by and watch. And either way, we know we need to build buy-in with internal stakeholders or get that product out to change the market (if it could just grab enough market share).

To move the ball forward, we’ll need to look at those big sustainability ideas and figure out, “What’s that next crucial step?” As a strategy consultant and professional coach, I’ve worked for years with leading Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits, and sustainability executives to repeatedly answer that question. I see regular examples of the situational challenges: the rising company star who could optimize production and the supply chain, if only he can get his CEO and his direct reports to see eye-to-eye. Or the seasoned manager who’s got a bold vision for the energy efficiency world, if only she could hand off some current projects and sell her vision to the rest of the leadership.

The question naturally arises, “What’s standing in your way?” Typically, the most difficult barriers to making change have to do with:

  1. Gaining commitment to action from top leadership
  2. Aligning efforts across departments or with external partners
  3. Clarifying marching orders (what to do and when to do it)

More often than not, pursuing sustainable business opportunities means running into more than one of these challenges, which can beat back even the most dedicated innovators. As a community invested in overcoming this challenge, we need to support each other.

So answer this question (in the comment box below):

In your own professional quest for sustainability, what’s the most critical change to make and what’s your biggest obstacle? 

As we get closer to the 5th Annual Opportunity Green Conference (November 10-11 in LA), check back on the this blog for more advice and insight from Professional Coach and Opportunity Green Insights Contributor, Doug Wein, on making positive change in the world of professional sustainability.


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3 Responses to “The Green Business Roadblock: What’s Standing in Your Way?”

  1. PHCHSoap

    13. Aug, 2011

    Your article raises some very timely and imperative questions for any business who is serious about going green! Thank you.

  2. KristallLutz

    22. Aug, 2011

    The biggest obstacle always seems to be ignorance or un-informedness. How do we make top leadership understand that small steps lead to huge strides. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and not every effort is going to lead to overnight success (or failure). How do we get people who ‘just don’t get it’ out the gate?

  3. zeesha

    04. Sep, 2012

    comScore recently announced a milestone: 3 millionth tree was planted as part of its “Trees for Knowledge” panelist recruitment program. (link to introduced this program in 2008 in partnership with the non-profit organization Trees for the Future. For every qualified participant (link to in research panels such as RelevantKnowledge, the organization plants a tree in a developing community in Central America, Africa, or Asia. This is a good example where a simple action of an individual online can translate into meaningful results all over the world.

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