Focus on High-Performance (not green)

nike_swoosh Being ‘green’ is a by-product of a high-performance company. If you are focused on ‘green’ as a final outcome you’re taking your eye off the ball. I will not insert a Nate Kaeding (San Diego Chargers kicker) reference here. Green as a goal will cause you too:

Spend too much money Sacrifice too much time Lose revenue, lose focus on your most important business goals

High-performance companies ultimately become green as a by-product of their efforts because they pursue high-performance. By definition, high-performance companies are inherently:

Hyper-efficient Stewards of the environment- because it makes them/saves them $$ Resourceful- leveraging rebates/tax credits/incentives available to them

Thus, high-performance should be pursued. An example: Arden Realty is one of the largest owners/operators of commercial properties on the west coast. They operate skyscrapers, office parks, etc. I met with their VP of Engineering, Duane Lappinga, in 2007 to discuss how I might help them make their properties more energy-efficient and sustainable. At the time, I was one of the only people in the field of green business strategy/eco-consulting. After a long meeting and a walk to Coffee Bean with Duane, I came to the monumental conclusion that I could not help him. They were already doing everything available to be energy-efficient. Duane and his team were using the latest building technologies and most of their buildings were either Energy Star Certified or LEED Certified. In fact (like me) they were one of the few Energy Star Partner Companies in southern California. Again, remember that this is in 2007 long before Energy Star Certification was on anyone’s radar. What was illuminating about our meeting was that Duane and Arden seemed to pursue these efforts because they were focused on being a high-performance company. Sure, they were interested in being ‘green’ but their ‘green-ness’ was a by-product of their main goal: high performance. At the end of the day, they are green because they are high-performance and not the other way around. *Side note- This was the only time I have ever left a potential client meeting knowing that I could not help them. I have worked projects and prospects from Paris to Boston to the West Coast and this was the one time I was stumped. Congrats, Duane, you still owe me a latte, though… Sustainability is a wonderful by-product. Similar to Nike (the shoe co. not the winged goddess of flight) being a by-product of Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron, sustainability will be the natural result of pursuing of high-performance. Focus on high-performance and the green will come…