Stakeholder Engagement: The Gateway to Social Responsibility
Presenter: William Ingram, Director of Lean Product Development, Interface, LaGrange, GA, USA
Keywords: Stakeholder, Engagement, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Interface,
Industry: Aviation/Space, Construction, Manufacturing
Advancing sustainability concepts in the area of social responsibility has been one of the more nebulous talents in my career. Like all things nebulous, social responsibility is hard to act on much less explain why you should be involved to others. Yet we can all agree that people fall into the social realm of sustainability. Intuition and experience have shown that people are important game changers. How do I know? People continually outwit cutting edge technology, superb business plans and innovative marketing strategies. Hard and fast examples are abundant. If people really possess this innate ability, why don’t we treat them like they do?
Harnessing the diversity of people and their ideas can be tough. I believe it’s because most of us lack the skills to approach this opportunity with the confidence that we can succeed. It’s easier to doubt and not speak up. Diverse solutions are not always easy to define or communicate. They are often messy and interpersonal. Also, the chance for misunderstandings and being unintentionally offensive are a bridge too far for some. We are awash in a sea of political correctness. Diversity inclusive social innovation is not for the faint of heart. However, for those willing to learn it is a new world full of opportunity.
The practical application of systemic stakeholder engagement has the potential to create this new world. If you consider the needs of others, as you consider your own, you can attain both while minimizing risk. This can be accomplished by engaging your stakeholders using Lean and Six Sigma principles which many of you already understand. Using these principles with an aligned purpose and a few new tools you will learn to confidently accelerate your sustainability journey.