“It’s a question for the ages — or, at least, the age of sustainability: If sustainable business practices create profits and shareholder value, why aren’t mainstream investors paying attention?”
This is the lead-in question to a new GreenBiz article, Why Sustainability Leaders Don’t Impress Wall Street. The post leverages recent research from McKinsey & Company, which discusses the disconnect between business sustainability value and investor interest. As the author goes on to explain, the problem may lie in simple communication. “Investors don’t have the data they need, or understand how sustainability connects to creating shareholder value. And companies don’t know how to tell a story that’s relevant to Wall Street.”
Adding to the discussion, our sustainability consulting practice finds that executives are embracing a more comprehensive definition of business sustainability. They are closing the traditional gap between business planning and corporate action through effective stakeholder engagement and business sustainability alignment. As we follow these actions, we find ourselves asking: What are the keys to effective communication?
- Get personal: Understanding what is valuable to those you are working will guide you to make better decisions on their behalf or when relating to them.
- Get specific: Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing.
- Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways: While we participate in events to gather information from the other party, we also want to ensure that both parties leave the conversation with a clear concept of what the end goal was at that instance as well as what is next to come.
- Have an open mind: Simply put, do not enter into communications guarded or with too many pre-conceived notions..
- Replace ego with empathy: There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance so tread lightly.
- Read between the lines: The most effective communicator can absorb subtle hints of inspiration simply by having a heightened awareness.
- Speak to groups as individuals: Tailoring your message to the audience as best you can in any situation involves knowing something about the audience and what they are expecting from you.
Evidence has shown that stakeholder engagement is critical to a company’s ability to capitalize on its eco awareness, product stewardship, reputation, and overall business sustainability. In addition, the rise of social media engagement has led companies to form new relationships with their stakeholders. Stakeholders are increasingly looking for authentic, transparent, two-way communication with organizations. Taiga Company’s professional consulting can help your business extract increased value from its stakeholders by enabling your communications with social media strategies.