Environmental leadership: Operating in lean times

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Courtesy of Richard MacLean & Associates, LLC

A Scott Adams cartoon illustrates the decision-making process for layoffs in dysfunctional companies: Dilbert and Wally are looking into a conference room where all the “pointy-haired” bosses are assembled to select who will be terminated. Wally is magically transformed into the proverbial fly on the wall and eavesdrops on the conversation: “Let’s focus on our priorities and make rational budget decisions.Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Back to reality, I’ll fire Ted; he creeps me out. Who else do we hate?”

While amusing, this cartoon is also painfully accurate: Personalities and popularity, not performance,can sometimes drive company decisions.Clearly, this should not be the case. But when it does happen, those responsible often try to couchtheir decisions in acceptable terms by saying “Ted does not fit into our company culture” or “He’s not a team player.”

Environmental Professionals in the CorporateCrosshairs

For environmental professionals—who maybe viewed by management as surrogate regulatory enforcement personnel—the implications are particularly troubling. As Terry Foecke, a sustainability process improvement consultant, states,“If you speak up, or are a contrarian, you are out.

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