A balmy evening at Lord’s cricket ground was the perfect backdrop for a ceremony and dinner to celebrate the sustainability successes of organisations, large and small. Kim Bailey, Associate Sustainability Practitioner and Giles Robertson Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing attended the event last week on the 10th of July.
Seeing so many people representing their companies with pride was a joy to witness. The winnerscame from an array of small-impassioned companies showcasing technological advances in energy and water management and even space technology in the case of Arla Foods. The glitz and glamour of the big companies came in the form of prizewinners, O2, RBS and Sky.
Fabulous food and drink, interesting conversations and a witty comedian made for a super evening.
And now the but ….I joined a networking group, so more facilitated networking and partnering opportunities with this interesting group of guests would be appreciated.
How about a safari style supper – swapping places between courses?
Our lovely client Buglife was keen to share how the invertebrate charity preserves the wildlife that turn the cogs of the planet, but with no name badges and penguin suits, we couldn’t find the people we wanted to speak to.
Martin Chilcott, Chair of 2degrees spoke of the importance of fun and values.
Here are Green Banana’s top tips for injecting more of both for next year:
Make it snappy – The winners had all chosen songs to collect their trophies by – great idea! How about using them for therather ‘worthy’ entry categories? Or poems, or film titles.Share – Showcase the way companies are doing business differently to conventional organisations.
Shine – Let’s hear the sustainability champions talk. They will all have a tale to tell. The case studies should be available on the night.
Stars – Funny’s great. Inspirational is better. There are some great sustainability talkers out there who make you feel you can reach for the stars not just admire them
Fun and Games – laughing at jokes is great. What’s more fun is interaction – how about using the great Lords’ lawns for after dinner croquet. Or a treasure trail, rather than a quiz?
Smart’s great – but comfortable is better and so much more individual, so trust us to turn up looking OK.
Variety is the spice – If sustainability is going to be embedded in companies, let’s talk to the unconvinced as well as the converted. We need a few more finance directors on the guest list.
So a super evening and if we get the chance to meet a few more guests, exchange and share vision and values and have more fun next year – a truly great evening will be had by all.
The Shard is a very very high building. You forget this when the lift whisks you up to the 28th floor in a few seconds, not even a third of the way up Europe’s tallest building. Irvine Sellar (the entrepreneur behind the Shard), Ronan Dunne (CEO of O2) and Benny Higgins (CEO of Tesco Bank) gave a very frank overview of their thoughts on leadership – interviewed by the excellent Suki Thompson on the launch of Oystercatcher’s new report, ‘Tough at the top’. Perhaps the location on the 28th floor was a physical reminder of how tough it really is getting to the top (there are 92-floors in this monolith).
What did we learn about leadership – in order of importance it is about:
1. Building trust. Higgins, behind Tesco Bank, said that having ‘the courage to lean into the truth to create enduring trust’ as well as anchoring the company’s work in the truth, was essential. The Tesco mothership has been redoubling it’s leaning efforts over the last fortnight.
2. Having the courage – which few do – to pick the very best team (better than you) as well as having the courage to say when things are not going so well
3. Being a great storyteller in a way that inspires those around you to follow
4. Having the ability to make the right decisions and to learn quickly from making the wrong ones.
5. The ability to get things done. Irvine thinks entrepreneurs don’t necessarily fit the bill to be good CEOs – they are much better at start-ups and handing over to guys like Ronan and Benny to finish.
6. Conducting the team, and making everyone else’s success shine
interview, the conclusion was that marketing folk – with all their passion – could lead at the top of an organisation, but sometimes found it difficult to let go of their specialism.
When it got to what would be on each of their epitaphs – I crossed my fingers and hoped that the Arup’s ‘wobbly bridge’ bloke wasn’t the PM on The Shard! Ronan said he wanted to leave a positive legacy. I loved O2’s ambition of getting the UK’s one million youth back into work (is that really in O2’s business plan?). I wanted to ask Irvine how it felt to build the tallest building in Europe and yet forget to put bike racks in anywhere nearby – it took me 15 minutes to park my bike – but at least from the 28th I could see where I park it on the Southbank.
A few interesting quips and anecdotes from our CEOs but if you want to see truly inspirational leadership, look at interviews with Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard or Tim Smit (founder of the Eden Project) – they are real game changers.