Beware the ESG Performance Gap

In the May 2013 edition of HBR, Robert G. Eccles and George Serafeim demonstrate the need for companies to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) into their core strategic innovation initiatives.

The ESG performance gap shows the effects of non-strategic implementations.
As environmental, social and governance (ESG) improves, a firm’s financial performance declines — unless ESG is incorporated through strategic and substantial innovation.

At MX Conference 2013, “triple bottom line” was an idea that came up repeatedly. I thought at the time that companies seeking to show performance in terms of profit, people and the planet are bound to venture into misguided efforts. Simply slapping a layer of ESG initiatives doesn’t make a corporation not-evil. And as Eccles and Serafeim show, the increased cost of these efforts will diminish financial performance over time because of the increased cost.

The only exception is for companies that treat ESG as a core part of their innovation work. Firms that make strategic decisions to sensibly innovate their businesses in ways that incorporate ESG will improve their triple bottom line, while most companies are sure to abandon their ESG efforts as they fail to realize return on the investment. I hate to be cynical, but ESG is sure to wind up like every sitcom that added a kid as their ratings faltered.

IxDA Cincy Presentation

I had a blast presenting my talk UX Leadership Lessons: The Hard Way to IxDA Cincinnati last night at Fusion Alliance. I really appreciate Cris Cravens inviting me to present, and Fusion Alliance for hosting the event and feeding us.

I know some of the points from my presentation went out on Twitter, but here are the slides for easy reference.

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/QVhnvf4tkj/the-hard-way-ux-leadership-lessons

IxDA Cincinnati is a good group of people, and I enjoyed meeting everyone. If you have any suggestions for my talk, please leave a comment. And if you know of a group that could benefit from my presentation, please contact me for availability.

3 Ps of Resilience

My Prefrontal Monday is off to a buzzing start thanks to this stunning episode of the HBR Ideacast – Why We’re All in Sales. Daniel Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, talks about how sales has an image problem and reframes sales as a fundamentally human activity.

I particularly benefited from Pink’s discussion of Martin Seligman’s research on resilience and will be reminding myself:

  • It’s not personal
  • It’s not pervasive
  • It’s not permanent

Have a listen and let me know what jumps out at you.