The Power of Words to Create a Culture of Sustainability

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
May 16, 2011 2:15 PM ET

Taiga Company blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Compa…

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.”

-Linguist, Benjamin Whorf    A challenge with corporate sustainability has been about changing mindsets and systems.  Businesses often try to sell change to the organization as a way to attain agreement and accelerate sustainable business implementation. Selling change to people is most often not a sustainable strategy for success.  It creates resistance.    Think about it.  When somebody tells you what to do, do you do it?  Probably not.  No one likes to be told what to do - even when they are up for it.  While sustainable business strategies may further the corporate vision and simultaneously create meaningful work for employees, the employees actually have to be engaged and involved for it to be meaningful.   The post, Consider Consequences Of Language In Organizational Change, illustrates the power of language in managing organizational change.  "In his paper 'Discursive Positioning and Planned Change in Organizations,' Kevin Barge, professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, states that our experiences regarding change are influenced largely by the words that we say and the impact of those words on our coworkers. According to Barge, if people are conscious of the effects their words can have on others, they will be more likely initiate successful change efforts and build productive organizational relationships."    How can this be applied from a business sustainability perspective?  Implementing sustainable business strategies in any organization requires a complex mixture of finesse:  realistic, achievable and measurable.  Finding that magical balance is what is required to make change stick.   What are the different messaging types an organization can repeatedly share to engage employees with information and insights into a company’s business sustainability program?  Click here to find out.  

Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".