Sustainable Business: Til death do us part

In preparing for this event, a number of parallels have surfaced between matrimonial vows and, well, a solid sustainable business plan (or plan for sustainable events).

Maybe such parallels are evident only for those whose wedding anniversary happens the same week as the event in question, but we persist with the analogy. In the points that follow, we explore some traditional wisdom and some of what these seemingly disparate topics have in common (and we salute the significant others who cope with such persistence)

Success possible only with commitment of the principles involved. CSR, or sustainable business, requires business leaders to believe enough in the concept to commit to the time and resources necessary to allow the program to flourish and become integrated with the fundamental operation of the business.  A ‘toes in the water’ approach delays the success that awaits.

It takes work. It’s been said that nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  Relationships and sustainable business plans can be said to be alike in this way.  They represent new thinking and change to the familiar.  They require us to adjust–maybe even give up– long-held paradigms.  They each require us to admit our failings and to be open to help. A pursuit of a sustainable business plan brings confusion and difficulty.  Seek counseling before ditching a fledgling plan. The payoff is worth the investment.

Collaboration required. Similar to the above, but different, sustainable business requires that new networks be established.  Sometimes our old providers–the unkempt roommate or long time supplier–can adjust and make the cut to the new way of doing business, but sustainability, like new and important relationships, may require us to shrug off the weight that’s holding us back from the bright future of innovation and new discovery.

Provides a better filter for decisions “Does this sustainability plan make my asset look fat?” Rather, ‘does this decision align with our vision for a sustainable future?’ Sustainable business plans, like our significant others, equip us with important perspective for making decisions which build better business (or relationships). No fair asking loaded questions, though.

Transparency MattersHonest, forthcoming communication with stakeholders is the best policy. Share your goals and your plan to attain them.  Admit your shortcomings and any risks with the plan.  Be plain spoken and confident in the success of your venture. Share the results and seek feedback to speed performance improvement.

it’s important to take a moment to thank the people who are helping to make all that happen.  A thoughtful card, unexpected cookies.. an office party.. or, would it kill ya to clean the toilet once in a while? None costly, all appreciated and an important part of building a culture of trust and respect and esprit de corps.

So.. it’s not so odd, really, right?  A commitment to the development of a sustainable business plan brings real reward, but finding your way there can be a challenge. Thanks for making the leap.

What parallels to real life and relationships have surfaced with the creation of  your sustainability plan?


  1. Great thoughts and so clearly you explain how important it is to lead sustainable success by transparency, We will never be perfect until all mistakes are made. Therefore, let all stakeholders guide you with their feedback on your transparent actions.
    To your success! / Thomas

  2. Nancy Zavada says:

    Wonderful parallels. Sustainable business does take new thinking, work and commitment.

    Doesn’t everything truly worthwhile?

    Spoken like a new bride,

    Nancy Zavada

    • Michael Luehrs says:

      A spirited salute to new brides, especially those at the leading edge of changing an entire industry. Thank you–and happy congratulations :).. Thank you for that, and thanks for being an inspiration!
      Check out Nancy’s great posts, full of practical green meeting tips and real world wisdom:

  3. Mårten Lind says:

    Great post as well as analogy!

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