Forest for the trees

forrest

 

The following quote comes from a popular business magazine (to be revealed later in this post):

“as customers and other stakeholders increasingly express interest in sustainably produced products, …organizations are paying more attention to the big picture

Yes. That’s the point of our whole book – Driving Project, Program, and Portfolio Success.

bookazon

Ha!  Indeed, our book even features a forest on its cover!  Or are those trees?  Well…in fact it really comes down to that final word – success. What is success? If success is more than a quarter-to-quarter affair, then getting the organization, importantly including the project managers, on board regarding longer-term viewpoints, is going to be critical.

And…

 

 

 

Here are some examples.

  • Kimberly-Clark, manufacturer of Kleenex™ tissues (for example) has set (and met!) a goal to procure 100% of its wood fiber from certified sources – a goal that drove many project to meet this goal in 2014.
  • Carillion, a global construction firm, has a three point plan regarding timber sourcing:
  1. A sourcing policy, tied in with the Forest Stewardship Council
  2. Partnering with key suppliers to educate them on their sustainability goals
  3. Added a review step at the portfolio level to make sure that each project was in compliance with the above.
  • Williams-Sonoma is partnering with its suppliers in Indonesia to build a nursery to grow plantation wood for its furniture lines
  • McDonalds is ending deforestation in its supply chain by procuring items (including beef!), coffee, and palm oil only from sustainable sources
  • Procter & Gamble will break its supply chain links to deforestation completely by 2020

See the connection to project management? It’s multi-faceted. In some cases, it’s direct, such as Carillion’s case which is actually making this part of their project compliance process. In some cases it’s a project “engine”, such as the case with Procter & Gamble; you don’t completely revamp the supply chain without launching a gaggle of projects – all of which will need sustainably-minded project managers.

Another thing to note: these companies are not Ben & Jerry’s or Patagonia, or Helen’s Whole Wheat Kelp Flakes… they are big MNCs (Multi-National Corporations) which have bought into the principles of sustainability not (only) due to a sense of what’s right, but because it makes good business sense (cents).

Consider your company. What sustainability goals have they set? How “outside the box”, how “long-term”, how “holistically” do they think? Can you as a project manager be a change agent to prod them along? Perhaps. After all, projects are indeed about change. Oh. And by the way, did we tell you where the article came from? Well, it comes from the current (December 2015) issue of PM Network magazine, the monthly journal of the Project Management Institute!