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Redo Your Business Model to Make Functions in Your Organization Obsolete

Feb 27, 2008
One of the most reliable ways to see what's unnecessary is simply to develop a new business model that eliminates some functions. Perhaps no area has been as profoundly influenced by this approach as has been environmental stewardship by manufacturers and those who deal with wastes.

The original social model for dealing with environmental problems was to create legislation that mandated what was required of those who could sully or impair the environment. Scientists spoke before legislators who usually were lawyers and didn't understand the science involved.

Since the scientific research was limited concerning these subjects, the scientists often found it difficult to know what to recommend. Expert witnesses would differ more in their conclusions than they did in the schools they had attended and taught at, and in the awards they had received.

Those who were on the receiving end of this legislation faced large bills to make big changes in their operations. The organizations who were polluting lobbied for delays in implementation.

As time passed, the organizations that didn't want to make the changes got better at advocating their positions. Regulators sometimes agreed with them, and public interest nonprofit groups began to step in to pursue litigation to stop this cooperation between polluters and government. Environmental stewardship was soon bogged down in a quagmire of disputes where the only winners were the lawyers who billed by the hour.

Gradually, polluters began to notice that their neighbors often favored solutions that had little to do with what was legally required. The polluters sometimes also found that government regulators were willing to provide variances if the neighbors were happy. Environmental groups might still have other complaints involving environmental interests that were not being considered.

The breakthrough came when polluters began to realize that they could make faster, cheaper progress by simply bringing neighbors, regulators, and environmental groups together and hammering out agreements that were acceptable to all parties. Everyone liked this approach better because pollution was eliminated sooner and less expensively. From these experiences, polluters next began to find out that eliminating pollution often meant saving money. Fewer raw materials were needed. Less equipment to deal with emissions was required. The expense of dealing with waste was reduced.

Gradually, consumers began to favor companies that had better reputations for avoiding pollution. These companies began to see their sales and profits rise because of consumer-friendly habits that were more considerate of the environment.

Beginning in the 21st century, the most advanced companies figured out that not creating any environmental harm was a more profitable way to operate. And a few began to sense that moving beyond doing no harm to improving the environment could actually be an even more profitable approach.

As a result, the most effective global organizations are now in the process of installing advanced technology that does not pollute even in places where there are no regulations that require such technology. In many cases, the recycled raw materials they release from their facilities are cleaner than when they started. Why? They make more money this way.

If everyone adopted this new business model, regulation wouldn't be needed for many situations and the enormous social costs of prodding these changes would soon go away. In addition, there wouldn't need to be a cleanup crew for when a spill occurs because there wouldn't be any spills. The legal departments of all the organizations would become much smaller as well.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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