Fostering trust effectively allows a team produc tion approach where the

Fostering trust effectively allows a team produc tion

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ple become more engaged and productive. Fostering trust effectively allows a team produc- tion approach, where the efforts of multiple stakeholders are crucial for the company’s success, to everyday operations in which employees are willing to make company-specific investments without fear that their efforts will not be recog- nized and rewarded. By enabling and encouraging these investments, the company cultivates the foundation for a competitive advantage in the mar- ketplace: engaged employees who are able to cooperate in order to drive corporate performance. Starting the Journey to Sustainability Today companies must choose whether to start the journey to become sustainable or to adhere to the more traditional model. Although each company must make that choice for itself, we believe that changing social and investor expectations will only increase the pressure on companies to adopt the sus- tainable model. Doing so requires unswerving leadership commitment, without which the journey cannot begin. In reframing its identity, the company must learn to engage openly with external stake- holders. Maintaining transparency without recourse to defensive strategies is integral to a sustainable strategy. As this strategy is implemented through broad-based employee engagement and disciplined mechanisms for execution, a new identity can emerge: that of a sustainable company. Robert G. Eccles is a professor of management prac- tice at Harvard Business School. Kathleen Miller Perkins is president of Miller Consultants Inc., an or- ganizational consulting firm in Louisville, Kentucky. George Serafeim is an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Comment on this article at , or contact the authors at [email protected] REFERENCES 1. For more information, see D. Kiron, N. Kruschwitz, K. Haanaes and I. von Streng Velken, “Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point,” MIT Sloan Management Review 53, no.2 (winter 2012): 69-74. 2. R.G. Eccles, I. Ioannou and G. Serafeim, “The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behav- ior and Performance,” working paper 17950, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 2012, papers/w17950. 3. M.W. Toffel, R.G. Eccles and C. Taylor, “Interface- RAISE: Sustainability Consulting,” Harvard Business School case no. 611-069 (Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2011). 4. R.G. Eccles, G. Serafeim and S.X. Li, “Dow Chemical: Innovating for Sustainability,” Harvard Business School case no. 112-064 (Boston: Harvard Business School Pub- lishing, 2012). 5. D.C. Esty and A.S. Winston, “Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Inno- vate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). 6. Interview with Bruce Bremer, Dec. 10, 2011.
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