Generation Flux is a new distinction introduced in several recent Fast Company (FC) articles. This notion builds on terms, such as, Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials, used broadly to describe generational characteristics. I learned about this evolving idea at the AIHA Fall Conference this past week in San Antonio.
This term, coined by FC’s editor, Robert Safian “is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates – and even enjoys – recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.” Safian’s articles provide an overview on how numerous large traditional organizations (e.g. Nike, GE) and newer, smaller start-ups are embracing Generation Flux.
A recent survey of leading European companies, conducted by the Ashridge Business School and University of St. Gallen and reported in the MIT Sloan Management Review (Spring 2012), suggests that links between corporate functions and the CEO could be stronger.
Some of the reported consequences of these weak links include: mixed performance, more bureaucracy, a sense of C-Suite interference, lack of cooperation from operating managers, and a focus on transactional issues as opposed to value-added ones.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will see that there are many exciting advances in our field that go way beyond our compliance and technical roots. With the evolution of CSR, sustainability, and systems thinking, for example, there are many ways EHS/S can contribute and make a difference in organizations, beyond traditional compliance and risk management. There is a new context evolving; a new EHS/S space is available for capture.
To do this, at some point you will need to think about how you will reintroduce EHS/S.
Let’s face it, the EHS/S department, function, and staff is not always popular. With our background in regulatory compliance and with a technical focus, we can be viewed as enforcers, cops, nags, etc., and we don’t always do a good job in communicating purpose and value. This history needs to be addressed and the evolution from it needs to be demonstrated. Another challenge is that even within a new context for EHS/S, there are very real compliance and risk management requirements that must be met. Even so, there are ways to do this and provide leadership. Read More
At its core, EHS/S (environmental, health, safety, and sustainability) management is a risk management endeavor and there are numerous ways these activities can be described and reported. Even though many companies have robust EHS/S risk management practices, it is sobering to hear risk professionals continue to report pessimism about their organization’s overall risk management efforts.
The February 2011 issue of Internal Auditor reports on three studies that indicate while there is continued focus on the importance of robust risk management, more times than not, it is not being done well. Research conducted by the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Institute at North Carolina State University found that only 28 percent of 460 ERM professionals surveyed described their current state of ERM implementation as “systematic, robust, and repeatable”; 42 percent described the process as immature; and 60 percent described the process as mostly informal and ad hoc.
Corporate board oversight of ERM is hit or miss. The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) reports that while directors give their boards high marks for ERM, less than one-half of the boards have ERM accountability assigned to a board subcommittee. Further, a survey of directors, conducted by Protiviti Inc., showed that only 13 percent consider ERM robust and mature. Internal Auditor reports that both of these studies point to challenges with risk reporting to the board. Read More
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are always an option when developing and executing corporate strategy. They provide the means to quickly increase market share or expand technology that could otherwise take years to develop internally.
As an EHS/S (environmental, health, safety, and sustainability) professional or executive, how well do you support M&A activities? More likely than not, you cover the basics of conducting phase I or II assessments, determining basic regulatory compliance, as well as characterizing the overall EHS/S risk profile of the entity under consideration.
But have you or your leadership examined whether the EHS/S information being collected is enough and whether a change in the M&A assessment practice could increase the chances of a successful M&A event? An article in the current issue of the Harvard Business Review (March 2011) suggests not.
At the Pegasus Conference 2010: Systems Thinking in Action, held last week in Boston, several pioneers—including Daniel Kim, Robert Fritz, and Peter Senge—presented nuggets of wisdom for EHS, Sustainability, and CSR professionals. I’ve shared a few of them below.
Senge presented some of his current research on the characteristics and qualities of people who have initiated and maintained systematic change over a 10- to 15-year period. He outlined a newly formed body of knowledge that encompasses two broad domains: learning what life is, and cognition or consciousness. Through several case studies, Senge demonstrated that systems thinking and actions, based on what he termed the “heart-space,” could have a powerful impact on teams and communities. Read More