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We launched our In Conversation series this week, a series of frank, unscripted, personal dialogs with people who are making a remarkable difference.
My conversation partner for the debut event last night was Bryan Franklin, one of the country’s leading executive coaches.
Our topic: Cracking the Door to the C-Suite with Your Sustainability Message.
Our invitation:
“You are sitting on one of the most important opportunities in history, and your well thought-out solutions aren’t getting the consistent air-time they deserve by top management. Come learn the 5 top reasons why most sustainability business models are broken and what to do about it.”
As it turned out, we talked less about business models per se (as Bill Gates famously said, “If you can show me the business model, you’re too late!”) and more about the communication challenges that are at the heart of of any engagement process. Here are a few highlights:

We’ve got “a situation”, with powerful drivers for change: climate change and “peak everything”; sudden geopolitical shifts (with four nations in play in the last two weeks); rising sustainability expectations from customers and regulators; rising sustainability uptake — and rising competition within the green game; relentless innovation, and wholesale demolition of business models.
And yet, and yet… we’re not winning. And we may not know how to — distracted, as so many of us are, by the trap of CSR, the myth of green vs green, the false comfort of safe goals, failure to communicate, and the lack of a clear line of sight connecting understanding, actions, results, goals, mission and people’s deepest concerns.
And we may not know how to engage “leadership” in rising effectively to these challenges. (“Leadership” in quotes, because leadership lives in many places, not just in the C-Suite.)
The key: Finding Rapport, Integrating Parts and the Ouija Board (and a narrative that ties everything together).
But it’s not that simple, since there are five beings you need to bring to agreement in every organization — and sometimes in a single person: The Thief, The Saint, The Prophet, The King and The Bum. They each live in different worlds, and speak different languages — as does The Activist — and therefor so must you.

Tantalizing? Yes it was! You’ll be able to hear the entire conversation on the audio recording that we’ll make available in the next week or too.
(And we’ll pick up the ball on business models — and the mysteriously elusive business case for sustainability — in a future event.)