The S.M.A.R.T Approach

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    Source:2ndgreenrevolution.com

    S.M.A.R.T is a basic concept any business can implement to help reduce operating cost, using “conservation to move forward”. In referring back to my earlier post, Balance Your Business Scorecard, the more levels on which we can implement this concept, the better the results for your organization. As we go through the acronym, I want to help you create value and build a basic blue management strategy tailored to your individual business plan. It’s value is not limited to the business environment, but a conscious decision using basic principles that can also be implemented into your daily life as well.

    Sustainability

    The first element I want to cover is sustainability, a decision nearly every human and business must face by the end of the 21st century. How can we be  so sure? Well, on October 31, 2011, earth’s population reached an estimated  7 billion, testing the capacity of the natural environment we are so much apart of, rely on, and are dependent on for our ultimate survival. We have started to question and evaluate whether earth’s resources will be able to provide clean water, food, energy, and shelter to sustain productive human life and business at this population. To gain a better understanding of this principle, let’s take a look at the definition from the Environmental Protection Agency:

    • “Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations” (EPA).

    Today, the principle of sustainability is at the forefront of the modern business environment, changing the way we think and do business. We are witnessing a creation of unique business opportunities which value eco-friendly principles.

    Build a green reputation within your industry and use marketing to create a competitive advantage. Sustainability practices  and new environmental rating systems are also pushing innovation, creating new industries  and advances in sustainable energies such as wind power, solar power, hydropower, and water conservation. Are you positioned to take advantage of the benefits these can offer?

    Source: Greenhabbing101.com

    Mindset Management

    The power of Blue Management is it’s driven by a mindset, going beyond traditional management that is often limited by equipment, personnel, & the external environment. We have the unique ability to create and turn innovation into value. We can implement conservation to reduce waste and power consumption, ultimately stream-lining inefficiencies and reducing cost in the external environment.

    Awareness

    Give yourself or your business the best opportunity to react.

    I hope to use an example most of us can relate to. Let’s use the weather forecast as our course of discussion for this element of the S.M.A.R.T. approach. There are many of us that manage our day-to-day activities without knowing the weather forecast and can adapt to the environment around us, but what happens if it rains? The person who knows the 3-day forecast has the capability to plan, react to the situation, and the ability to reduce risks associated with the adverse conditions. I chose weather forecast for a specific reason; it is nearly impossible to completely predict the conditions  of the natural environment and it’s volatility, but we can put ourselves in the best position to react to its conditions.

    Source: Flickr. Emilie Ogez

    “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

    If we are lazy or unable to see the forecast, we tend to use secondary sources to gain information. Most of the time the information is correct, but we begin to dilute the information supply chain. Thus, we have to work harder to stay aware in the business environment

    Are you in the best situation to react? When are you the most  vulnerable? There is no right or wrong answer, however these are just the type of questions we need to be asking ourselves to know just where we stand. If you ask me, my most vulnerable state would probably be while I’m sleeping. In referring back to my earlier post, Personal Disaster Management, we see just how quick adverse conditions can arise. How many people can confidently say they would  be able to adequately react to an adverse situation in the middle of the night with no power.  With the simple solution of a flash light next to your bed, it’s a rather easy problem to solve–but how many people do? Without the proper tools, the situation becomes extremely difficult. This element can be implemented  at any level from business finances to personal time management and planning.

    Lastly, you are not the only one striving to be aware.  The social web is changing the way stakeholders evaluate your company as a whole. Are you aware of America’s top 5 Environmental Performing Public Companies in 2011? What do you think a consumers opinion of these companies is? Or for that matter, how does your company compare?

    Resources

    Resources are an element to consider when evaluating the  longevity of your program. They also act as a tool to reach long-term goals.  When using the S.M.A.R.T approach,we need to identify and focus on  renewable resources of energy and resource reduction. We can also diversify our resources in energy consumption, to reduce operating cost and lower risk.

    Resource availability changes quickly. Your business must adapt to these changes just as quickly. Keeping your company at the forefront of new research and innovative techniques can prove to be more cost-effective than you may be aware of. As technology develops, renewable resources are not only improved but also tend to be less costly. Because natural resources are eventually depleted, technology must step in to provide new techniques replacing those less effective.

    Antique alarm clock. Flickr

    Time Management

    If there’s one thing in the world you can’t stop, it’s time!

    It’s easy to get disorganized and we often have little trouble rationalizing how it happens. In fact, organization, or lack of it, is one of the biggest critical factors in effective time management. Time management is the best foundation for effective planning. Most people use some form of time management while getting ready in the morning. What time to wake up and what time to leave the house results from back logging your time. For example, if you need to be at work by 8:00 am and you know that it takes at least 25 minutes to get there, you subconsciously back log and decide to leave at 7:30. Back logging establishes a timeline of events; we highlight key objectives, from finish to start that we want to get accomplished and plan backwards. So what’s with the extra 5 minutes? Leaving a little wiggle room always insures that you are on time and professional.

    Now lets look at how time management affects the success of your business. Deadlines are a constant worry to any business. If the makers of  product A set a release date for February 8, 2012, you expect product A to be able to be purchased that very same date. Not doing that may threaten the reputation of the company, threaten the value of the stock, and threaten sales of that item. Not planning ahead and allowing yourself the time to effectively market, and make adjustments to your business may result in failure.

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