Managers manage people, they’re not sustainable designers. How could the process by which sustainable buildings are realized inform management’s approach to operating a business such as Thewritemyessay.com? It turns out sustainable design and sustainable organizations have plenty in common.
Technology Transfer for Sustainable Organizational Development
One of the strategies underlying sustainable design is the practice of technology transfer. Systems originally designed for other industries and disciplines are transferred to the field of sustainable design to improve building performance. Mir M. Ali and Paul J. Armstrong discuss this analogy in their paper, “Overview of Sustainable Design Factors in High-Rise Buildings,” given at the 2008 conference of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. They demonstrate that technology developed in the aerospace industry is suited for application to high-rise buildings.
The key design factors in this transfer are a multi-disciplinary approach, integration of all aspects of the design and construction process, and aiming for ecological balance through zero energy demands. As an analogy, these same factors can be applied to the management of sustainable organizations.
Multi-disciplinary approach results in innovation in the workplace
Given the complexity of tall building design, multi-disciplinary teams have to be constituted for their design and construction. These teams consider such factors as site context and local climate, materials selection, the ecological context, and response to the surrounding community.
Organizations concerned with sustainability have to consider factors such as access to skilled labor, target audiences for products and services, availability of capital, internal and external opportunities for growth, and staying at the forefront of trends in their industries. Innovation is crucial to achieving growth and remaining relevant to markets; it requires interdisciplinary hiring practices and sharing ideas to keep the workforce adaptable and ready for new challenges.
A host of factors conspire against innovation. Managers often become absorbed in daily tasks, and planning for the long-term gets short shrift in departments that are under-resourced. The halo effect results in managers hiring people like themselves, rather than putting together diverse teams.
Sustainable organizations recognize the importance of diversity. They consciously seek to include people from different industries, as well as people who represent diverse demographic backgrounds. These organizations set time aside on a regular basis to promote cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of best practices. It’s how they remain competitive.
Integration makes for best use of organizational strengths
The sustainable design integrates mechanical systems, architectural components, and structure within a framework of ecological consciousness.
One of the hallmarks of a sustainable approach to organizational development is the adoption of holistic processes to achieve integration or alignment of business processes with people practices and organizational goals. Three processes stand out: strategic planning, collaboration and effective communications. These are ways organizations promote integration, facilitate productive team environments and solve complex problems.
An integrative approach makes the best use of the workforce’s skills and talents, and prepares a new generation of employees for future management positions.
Sustainable design has evolved beyond efforts to reduce waste and use of non-renewable energy sources, to aiming for cradle to cradle design. The office tower of the future will not only minimize its impact on the surrounding environment and community, it will have a positive impact, actually contributing energy to the surrounding grid and improving the livability of urban habitat.
The organizational equivalent translates into managing people and operations with two mantras: do no harm and invest in people. When immediate financial returns trump organizational investment, morale nearly always suffers and productivity goes down. Hiring for diversity, encouraging innovation and collaboration, and investing in employees ensure organizational agility and durability.