I attended a conference this week sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation on “Accelerating Sustainability." The event was designed to help companies consider what comes next after setting sustainability goals or reaching critical milestones. Representing some of Americas largest, most influential companies like Dow Chemical, 3M, Keurig Green Mountain, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Veolia and UL, attendees were deeply engaged in the dialogue, asking questions like: how do companies grow and scale with sustainability initiatives at the heart of their business? How do they work together to make greater impact? What is the most effective way to collborate? These were all questions we covered in a deep and rich series of plenary conversations and breakouts. I particularly liked the task of developing an innovative approach to solving a particular collaboration challenge that we presented before panel members in a “Shark Tank” style contest.
In one presentation, a group suggested a “Match.Com” version for sustainability practitioners, allowing companies to obtain necessary information on partners available to help manage certain challenges. Rather than relying on assumption or pure guess, companies would be able to make informed decisions about entering into the right partnership, a step all too often forgotten in partnership creation.
We don’t always know who are the right partners.
This resonated strongly with me since one of Connective Impact’s primary goals is to ensure the right partners are working together around issues of critical social, environmental and economic impact so collaboration and effective engagement is possible. I have often found that companies jump into partnership development and other collaborative work without taking the time to evaluate the scenarios in front of them, truly understand the challenges and gaps, and THEN identify the partners to address those gaps. Taking a few simple steps makes the process easier and more effective.
With the right process in place to identify partners and understand mutual goals and joint outcomes, collaboration and effective engagement with others can be made much more actionable.
WHAT CONNECTIONS CAN WE MAKE TODAY?
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