Imagine my shock and surprise when I was asked to write an article about our “Social Responsibilities” and how we can embrace our responsibilities to each other and our environment. I am the least “politically correct” person on the face of the planet! Yet, because I am an avid fisherman, hunter, and outdoorsman, I am also a strong advocate for conserving our outdoors. So I said I will be glad to write my thoughts and you can see if they are usable or printable! Only you the reader and time will tell if I have achieved that goal…

I have given this a tremendous amount of thoughtful consideration to truly understand how I reconcile my desire for World-Class Performance in the business world with our significant responsibilities to be faithful stewards of our natural resources and our impact on others in our communities, our country, and the world at large. The more I consider this, the more I realize they are NOT mutually exclusive enterprises! In fact, our social obligations are a significant part of our struggle to eliminate waste, reduce variation, and increase the velocity of our business process cycles. Once you get past the “buzz words” and the “propaganda”, you realize that smart business people have been doing this successfully for years!

Each of us has a responsibility to ensure we use the resources at our disposal in a way that maximizes the ROI…in business this means money; in terms of Social Responsibilities, ROI means having as little long-term impact on those around us as possible with the most efficient use of those resources either through recycling, alternate use, or increased usage of renewables in our business practices. Taking the time to truly evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it just makes good business sense. This is no different than any other LEAN Six Sigma or Business Process improvement initiative that allows us to optimize flow and value…we are simply widening our “optics” to take into consideration all of our resources that we use and consume in the course of our activities.

Most of us have implemented a lot of the easier examples like going paperless wherever possible, and using computers to minimize our impact on trees and forests, installing new light bulbs to reduce our consumption of electricity where applicable, and encouraging our employees to car pool when it makes sense. But how many of us have used our LEAN Six Sigma tools to truly “map out” all of our resource utilization to see precisely what we consume, where we consume it, and most importantly, why we consume it? Using our quality tools on ourselves…what a novel idea! I believe our Business Excellence tool sets can and should have a significant impact on how we see and manage our businesses and our organizations. As in most things, resource utilization is “hidden” from those not aggressively seeking it out and relentlessly attacking those sources of waste and excess!

While I may not yet be ready to jump on the “kumbaya bus” to become a wild-eyed “eco-warrior” yet, I have definitely begun to see some significant mutual interests. The business community and the eco-community have a lot of commonality where we can work together for the greater good in order to mutually benefit ROI’s for our business bottom line and provide tangible benefits for our environment and fellow man. Who would have thought I would have traveled so far from my initial position on this subject? Certainly not those who know me! And that just goes to show you we can all learn something that helps each of us as we travel this journey together…businessman and environmentalist. Now THAT is change we can believe in!

Author's Bio: 

J.R McGee managing partner and CEO for xstreamlean has written many articles about Executive development program and leadership development program