Four Considerations when Going Green as a Team

For both companies and individuals, it makes sense to improve their carbon footprint. Although some improvements require serious capital commitments, others only require people to change their behavior. But, of course, convincing members of a workgroup to change their behavior is rarely simple.

Improving the carbon footprint of your organization requires a team effort. As with so many goals and aspirations, a team’s level of collegiality will shape their success. Here are four points to consider before embarking on a challenge.

  1. Leader Commitment. Does the team leader have a deep commitment to the challenge? Although you can generally assume that most people will agree that environmentalism is a good thing, you can’t assume how that value stacks up against other values. People rarely behave un-green just to be mean. Such behavior often reflects a value for convenience, productivity, or habit. Are the organization’s performance evaluation criteria in line with going green? Confirming leader commitment is Step One.
  2. Core Values. To what extent do members of the team share the value of reducing their carbon footprint? The team leader can only find out by interacting with group members through conversations or surveys. The extent to which the group can share an over-arching goal of reducing the carbon footprint, the greater its potential for success.
  3. Civility. To what extent can group members carry on civil conversation with one another? Changing behavior patterns always creates some inconvenience. Open and direct conversations among team members provide the avenue through which they can coordinate their action. A good understanding of shared effort avoids the discouragement that arises when members see others un-doing the gains of their earlier efforts.
  4. Sharing. To what extent do team members share their successes with one another? Individual competition to be the greenest of the green can be entertaining for a few, but runs contrary to building a group culture.

A green initiative has a lot of appeal. It can save an organization money and improve its reputation with stakeholders. New employees have often been instilled with green values through their education. Promoting a green workplace often furthers their personal ideals.

A team’s level of civility, trust, and mutual support provide its infrastructure. These qualities increase the team’s capacity to meet challenges. Their absence imposes serious limits. Their absence does not make success impossible, but it does require that a green initiative be fully integrated into an effective strategy, such as CREW, for improving collegiality along the way.

Is your workgroup considering green initiatives?

What do you see as essential for success?

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