I think I may be crazy…
I’m an ardent believer that the future of our society and the overall quality of life on our planet has a direct correlation to how companies approach their business activities and outcomes through the lens of sustainability.
After several years of successfully implementing a number of smart building projects in Shanghai, I didn’t feel I was making the kind of game changing contribution that I had set out so optimistically to do in 2014 when I founded my company. I made the decision to shift my career and life to a one of ‘purpose’ vs just trying to make a lot of money as I had been doing for the previous 15 years. My focus in life became, and now will forever be, sustainability!
I have been integrating multiple energy efficiency, pollution control and IT visualization solutions in a single project for my clients. This has been the heart of my smart building integration solutions business for several years. Soon after my very first successful project, I agreed to start a parallel initiative to try to make an even larger contribution to the global sustainability movement by developing large scale Waste-to-Energy projects. It turns out these projects need a very long gestation period and a large chunk of cash on hand to properly develop over a 2-3 year period. And the odds of successfully pulling off one of these projects is depressingly low. Even taking and existing building and reducing its energy footprint by and impressive 25% takes 12-18 months from initial ideal to completion.
While I had an emotionally satisfying result only a few years from starting my company, I came to the conclusion that I simply wasn’t thinking big enough to really make a significant impact on the world in a timeline that would matter. That combined with an unexpected level of risk aversion experienced from my Board but more worryingly from my target customer based of C–Suite buyers, I realized I needed to make and even more drastic change in my approach to my new found life’s purpose.
I’m now ready to step up my game and focus on the slightly (?) larger target of helping company CEO’s really address “The Future of Work”.
So – what heck does that mean? Governments definitely have a role to play by setting the boundaries and rules for compliance. But in the future, it’s companies and the top individuals tasked with leading them, motivated by increasingly fast and competitive innovation and the objective of ever increasing profitability expectations, that hold the biggest sway in whether or not humanity actually survives the Anthropocene Epoch. This Future of Work responsibly cannot be taken lightly.
In my vision of the Future of Work, a company’s most senior leader moves from approaching sustainability as something that’s currently seen as “nice to have” to something that becomes absolutely central and strategically critical to every aspect of their operation, driving long-term bottom line profitability and innovation. From every imaginable aspect, using sustainability principles to drive down energy consumption, resource consumption and waste generation, worker productivity and wellness, product and organizational design, as well as employee attraction and retention and even customer attraction and retention.
Sustainably is the differentiating, strategic concept for the Future of Work. It becomes embedded in everything a company does until it simply becomes Business As Usual and is no longer the domain of a CSR or sustainably department. It is not a short term prospect and it doesn’t occur over-night or without significant and real commitment by the CEO and the Board.
The first CEO’s to understand this and fully embrace it will become the rock star CEO’s of their industry. Thinking about and actually acting on all aspects of energy & water usage, waste generation, pollution generation and the benefits of having and leveraging a natural environment with a long-term focus are critical components for companies future growth and profitability. This will drive organization design and company cultures to strive not only do the right thing but, more importantly in a capitalistic society, will drive long-term profit and wealth creation.
Already the leading edge and largest of the tier one financial institutions in the world are beginning to demand that their customers recognize and show what they are doing to set and achieve increasing ESG (Environmental, Sustainability and Governance) measures and to transparently report ESG scores.
Thinking about and actually acting on all aspects of energy & water usage, waste generation, pollution generation and the benefits of having a natural environment and having a long-term focus are critical components for companies future growth and profitability.
I combine nature + technology + people to impact what currently exists today and maximizing it to make it better. I work with CEO’s and help them create the strategy and an execution plan for them to achieve this better world and to ensure they take on the accountability for ensuring their company is the a leading force for the Future of Work.
This is my vision of the Future of Work. Let’s get crazy together - I look forward to taking the journey with you!