Thursday, April 07, 2005

Metrics For Success

Last night I was fortunate to see my friend and associate Gil Friend speak at the Commonwealth Club, it was inspiring. The topic of his speech was ‘THE STATE OF SUSTAINABILITY’, he spoke eloquently and passionately about how Big Biz can not only make a huge difference in the state of sustainability but MAKE MORE MONEY while they do it. Gil sited a couple of instances where, by changing the definition of success, companies have made more money while driving toward a greener goal:

DuPont used to manufacture and sell paint to the auto industry. The metric for success was ‘how much paint did we sell’, the more paint they could ‘push’ the better. As part of a drive to sustainability DuPont started to sell painting services to the auto industry instead of paint. Now every drop of paint wasted is money from the bottom line, the LESS paint used the better.

I think it was a Swedish shipping company that used to measure success by kg moved across km. That seems reasonable for a shipping company, the more stuff they move, the better they are performing their business, but then, they changed their metric. They made a decision to be more sustainable and changed their metric for success to $ (krona) of profit per liter of gas. More money good, less gas good. They now act as a logistics firm helping companies make sure that they have what they need, where they need it, when they need it, in the most efficient way. After all, that is what companies need, they don’t want to buy ‘shipping’ they just need their stuff in the right places.

So my point… How can I change my basic definitions of success to change my behavior? That isn’t a rhetorical question, please send answers to…

1 comment:

Aldo Castaneda said...


If you are into this line of thinking these two books might be of interest: