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Blog Archives

Risk intelligence – it’s what divided by what?

With the release of the World Economic Forum’s latest report on risks to business, risk – and the opportunity to think creatively about my workshop on the 16th of March – are very much top of mind. David Apgar is one of my risk heroes. In his book “Risk Intelligence – learning to manage what we don’t know”, he identifies risk management as a core strategic discipline that every executive must …Read More

Volkswagen – a case of tragically misdirected ingenuity

An environmental scandal saw the world’s biggest car maker yesterday lose a third of its sharemarket value – 25 billion (not million, as I earlier wrote!) euros – an eye-opener for any companies still sceptical about how consumers rate both honesty and the environment. While shares have rebounded slightly following chief executive Martin Winterkorn’s resignation, the cost to the company will continue to add up, as fines and consumer resistance start …Read More

Zero Harm – a bird with two wings – or one broken wing?

Many years ago I was involved with a government-sponsored environmental training program focused on small building sites – house lots. The impetus was that big housing subdivisions were tightly regulated to minimise soil erosion and sediment runoff and performed very well at this. But the companies doing this work complained bitterly that when they’d finished, the builders would turn up, rip open the carefully grassed sections, work with no environmental …Read More

Joining the dots between occupational health & safety and environmental management

Some of my friends and colleagues have been telling me that my success framework – the seven elements that support effective environmental training programs – could apply to all sorts of different professions. I didn’t really get it, though I encouraged them to pick it up and apply it to whatever area they wished. But yesterday evening I caught up with Graham Philps of Quality Constructive Solutions. Graham is a …Read More

Sustainable enterprise and social enterprise – complementary approaches to the triple bottom line

I’ve been thinking lately about sustainable enterprises and realised I was getting muddled with “social” enterprises. What’s the difference? Going to that font of all knowledge, the Internet, I found a definition of “sustainable enterprise” from the Financial Times Lexicon that said, “Sustainable business or sustainable enterprise are terms that are now being used by firms who are integrating sustainable business practices into their corporate and brand strategies whilst seeking to address both shareholder …Read More

Practice leads to Proficiency – but does our training allow enough time for this?

This question of allowing enough time in workshops for what is most important has challenged me throughout my training career. It zoomed to top of mind a couple of weeks ago at Beryl Oldham’s seminar on training needs assessment for the New Zealand Association of Training and Development. Taking a good look at what Beryl called “what IS” there (rather than what level of staff performance we “think” might or …Read More

Training – the temerity!

It’s always amazed me how training works. You take a bunch of fully autonomous adults in a room together – and there is an automatic consensus about the conventions we operate under. Yes, we socialise, crack jokes, make conversation, have fun. But it’s not a social situation in the normal sense, apart from in the breaks. The conventions around how we operate in a training context form an unwritten social contract. Most of us are unaware …Read More

Training that creates communities of excited professionals

The best training creates communities of excited professionals who want to communicate with each other about what they’re learning. Training is becoming both more social and more virtual as technologies enable this. It’s also becoming much more collaborative – not only amongst learners, but between learners and trainers, as trainees take responsibility for their own learning and ask correspondingly more of their trainers. Engineering ethics may not at first blush …Read More

Honour well-deserved for Nganeko Minhinnick, environmental champion

Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, are often both the first and last to stand for environmental values in this country. Let me share one of my earliest experiences of the immense value for everyone in this country of Māori environmental kaitiakitanga (guardianship). Every June on the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the New Zealand government recognises citizens whose work has made a difference in some positive way to the community. This …Read More

The nature of cities – a collective blog on cities as ecological spaces

Friend and colleague Mark Hostetler recently posted a blog about Conservation Developments with a unique web site called the Nature of Cities.  It is a blog space that hosts the thoughts on urban ecological spaces of a collective of writers from all over the world. Mark’s recent contribution asks, “How functional is a conservation development in terms of conserving biodiversity?”  He defines conservation development as “an approach to the design, construction, and stewardship of a development that achieves functional protection …Read More