- This is the scenario
You are the director of public relations for Easy to Be Green, the innovative new company that helps homeowners, businesses, and municipalities become more environmentally friendly.
The company has been active in environmental issues in the community since its founding a few years ago and generally has good community relations. Recently EBG’s director of research, who is strongly opinionated about environmental issues, spoke in public about the environmental practices of some local companies that employ many people in the community. Lately you have found that some of your local contacts seem a little less interested in EBG’s public relations initiatives, and there has even been a small drop in sales. There may be no connections between these events, but you want to be proactive about the company’s community relations.
You also want to protect the company against charges of hypocrisy. The other day you as walked through the parking lot, it occurred to you that the majority of the employees drive SUVs, pick-ups, and other kinds of gas guzzlers. This includes the CEO, whose family car is an Audi Q7. The company’s delivery and service vans are also not the most environmentally-friendly vehicles.
After a little research, you come up with a tentative plan.
You have learned that a local hybrid car dealership has been offering an interesting deal. Employees of companies that buy hybrids as company vehicles can get discounts when they buy hybrids for themselves. You think that the company should consider purchasing a couple of hybrid vans and encourage employees to buy hybrids for themselves by offering substantial rebates for these purchases.
You want to get the CEO’s approval before you pursue this idea any further. You anticipate that he will have significant resistance. The company vehicles are not due for replacement, and the rebates to employees could add up to quite a lot if many employees take up the offer. On the other hand, if only a few employees take up the offer, a significant environmental initiative will seem like a failure. The CEO is a risk-taker in terms of business initiatives but tends to be conservative in management practices. He might also be a little defensive about the hybrid promotion plan because of his own vehicle choices.
But you feel strongly that the potential benefits of this plan—for example, in long-term savings on gas, in good public relations, in helping the environment, and in increased company esprit de corps as employees get involved in an activity related to the company mission—outweigh the risks and costs. It may be expensive and a little gimmicky, but it is unusual enough to get great publicity even if it is not a huge success. You feel that if the CEO gets behind this plan, you can succeed in getting employees to sign on
- write a one-page memo to CEO Bertrand Green in which you convince him to give you the go-ahead to pursue this plan. You are not asking for final approval at this point, but you can tell him that when you have all the details in place, you will provide a progress report that includes a complete budget. But you want to get his tentative approval before you continue working on the plan.
This question was asked on Jan 29, 2013 and answered on Jan 30, 2013.
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