Ask the right questions to get the right answers - Daniel Kehoe

Environmental Perspective: In this column, I continue with a series of articles which identify how to explore different perspectives driving success related to something (the situation, your focus) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the environmental perspective. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or improve things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of environmental. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions, just those that resonate with you and your situation or focus. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. How does this situation affect our environmental policy and vice versa? What ecological sustainability values could we apply in this situation? How could we incorporate harmonious co-existence with the environment and the surrounding community? What could be the possible impacts on the environment in this situation? Where is the potential for damage to the environment? What are the risks? How could we assess those risks? What are the potentially high-risk aspects of this situation in relation to environmental damage? How could we assess the potential for adverse affects on our operation? How could we effectively manage those risks? How have we targeted the more serious potential impacts for immediate remedial action? What are the legislative/regulatory, environmental requirements in this situation? How are we at risk of infringing those requirements? How could we apply our environmental and waste management standards in this situation? How could we identify what, where and how we are wasting in our total operation? How does that affect our focus? What could we do to comply with legislative/regulatory environmental requirements and environmental and waste management standards in this situation? What are our environmental objectives and targets in this situation? What process will need to be initiated to achieve environmental objectives, targets and compliance in this situation? What does this situation require in the way of training, documentation, operational controls and emergency preparedness and response? In this situation, how are we monitoring and measuring operational activities including record keeping? How does this situation affect our ‘environmental management system’ audit procedure? How does this situation require us to review our environmental management system for continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness? How well are we working to: reduce the material intensity of products and services; reduce the energy intensity of products and services; reduce toxic dispersion; enhance material recyclability; maximise sustainable use of renewable resources; extend product durability; and increase the service intensity of products and services in this situation? In this situation, how could we assess the environmental impact of a product using the ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach, in which all life stages of the product from raw material usage to final disposal are assessed? How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? How well are we identifying and challenging our assumptions about waste and pollution? How might our current ways of thinking about environmental perspectives be limiting our effectiveness or future success? What ways of thinking about environmental perspectives might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant/facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact: Daniel

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