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The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability
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Fast Tracks Insight Interview
Carol  Sanford

The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability

An interview with Carol Sanford

Most businesses have really good intentions, but they have an incomplete focus for the conversation and therefore their intended results. They are conversing on the old questions, not the new ones. They have to change the conversation. 

This way of engaging organizations uses the real potential that capitalism offers- entrepreneurial spirit, individual determination, and creativity that happens every day and everywhere, not just in one function.


"I then asked the managers what they surmised about how the Kingsford business must have operated to have internalized and changed its systems so rapidly and completely. One responded, “I can’t imagine how you design a work system so that you can have a couple hundred people in a month change how they are working. I’d like to learn how you design that.” Another said, “I don’t understand how you could build a whole safety system from the bottom up, without the plant manager having mandated it. I now want to understand that.” Yet another said, “I don’t understand how the two men standing in front of me could make the technological, organization, and production changes needed without professional engineers to design them for them. I now want to understand that.” And Eric and Moose said, “Come see us again.” Three months later we made another trip, and DuPont was finally able to hear the story of the important transformations at Kingsford and understand how important they would be for their own business."


Entire interview (14:05)


What does it mean to be a responsible business? (0:51)


Why do so many businesses conduct themselves without the responsible principles? (2:27)


How is training important to the responsible business? (2:31)


Do hiring practices differ between responsible businesses and other businesses? (2:49)


What do you think is the role of hierarchy in the responsible business? (3:58)


How does essence differ from personality, characteristics, or personal traits? (3:39)


Is there a difference between marketing practice of responsible businesses and other businesses? (3:22)


Do you think one person driving the initial course of action is expected or a side effect of people in a responsible business? (2:33)


Labels: carol sanford  responsible business  sustainability  


Carol Sanford believes that business can and will play a major role in creating a better world. She has worked with businesses for four decades who have successfully done so BY building great businesses. Responsibility will not only be in the DNA with everyone contributing, but the current approaches of doing less harm, following best practices and working with fragments will have given way to working from a living systems view that makes all systems more vital, viable and able to regenerate themselves, without tradeoffs.

To that end, Carol has been leading major consulting change efforts in both Fortune 500 and new-economy businesses for more than 30 years. Her client list includes long-term relationships with Colgate Europe and Africa and DuPont Canada, US, Asia and Europe. She also works with new-economy companies like Intel, Agilent and leaders of corporate responsibility such as Seventh Generation.

Carol is a judge and mentor for University of Washington Global Business Center Social Entrepreneur Competition, Seattle.

She combines her economic development experience with her extensive business education and background when working with Responsible Governance in Community, Provincial and Regional Policy and Education. 

Carol has published dozens of works in 10 languages, including a series of articles in Executive Excellence, Stephen Covey's newsletter and At Work, a Berrett-Koehler Journal. She is the author of The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success (March 2011),Jossey-Bass, Publisher.

Central to Carol's philosophy and approach is a fresh look at what makes an organization truly responsible. "It's important to find out what differentiates your business from the crowd," she says, "and then thinking about how to do business so that communities, societies, and ecology as a whole are improved. These are not separate but interwoven pursuits. It's completely doable, and a conversation worth having."

She holds undergraduate degrees from UC Berkeley in Economics and Public Law and graduate degree from California State University, San Jose in Urban Planning. She currently lives in Seattle.

Contact Information:
carolsanford@carolsanford.com
http://carolsanford.com/

The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success