Triple Bottom Line

Keep a Steady Hand!

Forget the management fad du jour! Much of which is “new”, or “just being discovered”, is basically a reframing of best practices that have been around a long time. Leadership, at its essence, is very, very simple. Engage people to collectively work toward a common goal. That’s it.

However, we humans are easily distracted by bright shiny objects – the latest article or blog or conversation about “I tried this and it really worked!” And since we’re not getting the results we want, that we know our organization is capable of, we try the latest and greatest.

Unfortunately, flitting from one management fad to the next is not only ineffective, it is actually detrimental to the organization. That’s because people become numb and jaded. They know that the previous fads have not produced the stellar results that were touted at the kickoff. “Been there, done that, and there was no t-shirt. It was another mirage.” And they know that if they successfully ignore this one, another one will take its place in the near future. So they basically retire in place, doing a decent job, and giving up on any effort to make a real, long-lasting improvement.

The only truly effective way to have an organization improve is to do the fundamentals:

1. Create, WITH your employees, a clear, compelling vision of the future, and how your organization can make that future happen. The best way to do this is to ask employees how your products and services can make a better world for their loved ones (children, grandchildren, etc.). This type of vision will indeed engage employees and ignite their creativity and passion.

2. Keep that vision foremost in all decisions at all levels. The vision will help align decisions at all levels, and will minimize inter-departmental differences.

3. Then, keep on encouraging and assisting employees as they strive to attain that vision. Understand that the real purpose of management is to provide resources so the employees can do their jobs the best possible way. “Command and control” approaches remove the ownership and passion from the employees; empowering employees to be great creates the foundation for breakthrough results.

What’s your reaction? Have you tried this? How has it worked?

Gary Langenwalter

Responding to Ferguson

How will your organization respond to Ferguson?

That depends on the vision and mission of your organization. If your organization exists merely to make profits for the shareholders, Ferguson might be at most a speed bump in your drive to achieve your goal.

If, however, your organization has the goal of creating a better, healthier society while making profits, Ferguson can be an opportunity to create dialogue, asking how people of different backgrounds and cultures can form relationships based on mutual respect and trust. In the final analysis, most humans are inherently similar – we want to be treated with love and respect, we want the opportunity to do something worthwhile, and we want our children and their children to have rich, full lives. You can use these universal goals as the foundation for creating meaningful dialogue, inviting people to work together to achieve them.

If you do this, your organization can be a source of healing, of hope, in an increasingly divisive and divided society. Doing this will directly impact all your people, both white and non-white. Your efforts will also inevitably reach beyond your organization. They will also impact your customers, your suppliers, and the communities within which you operate. You will be taking one seemingly small step toward healing the chasm between whites and minorities. But even though your efforts might seem insignificant, they will be joined by countless other acts of kindness that will indeed create the world we wish to see. As Mother Teresa reminds us, “We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.”

Gary Langenwalter

Forget Efficiency! It CREATES waste!

Like motherhood, apple pie, or the Fourth of July, “efficiency” is enshrined in our culture as an ultimate good. In fact, questioning whether efficiency might not be good is tantamount to treason in many management circles. Unfortunately, blind devotion to increasing efficiency fails to question the underlying assumption: that the process that one is trying to improve actually is worth doing at all. After observing hundreds of organizations, I have concluded that approximately 50% of the effort inside any organization is waste. Because it does not add value to the ultimate customer. And therefore, instead of being made more efficient, it should be discontinued completely. Let’s create a rather silly example. Let’s assume that your organization has bought a van and hired a driver. You want to use the van and driver efficiently, right? So when there are no deliveries that need to be made, you tell the driver to go out and drive where there is little traffic. This improves at least three measures of efficiency: 1. Van utilization 2. Driver utilization, and 3. Miles per gallon And it is all waste, because nobody needed any deliveries during that time! Laugh if you’d like, but are you sure that nothing like this is happening in your organization? Call me or text me at 971-221-8155, or e-mail me at Gary Langenwalter Portland Consulting Group Helping Organizations Thrive 971-221-8155

Sustainability CELEBRATION!!

The Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN) is a growing network of regional educators, students, non-profits, political and industry leaders, and community members collaborating to promote sustainability education in the Portland Metro region, including Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.

To learn more about GPSEN click on

GPSEN has been acknowledged as a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on education for sustainable development by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Studies of Sustainability! And it’s time to have our official kick-off party!

CELEBRATE!! Please JOIN US to help celebrate GPSEN’s Launch and World Environment Day and honor our region as we work towards a sustainable future:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
5:30 – 8:30pm
World Forestry Center, Miller Hall
4033 SW Canyon Rd. Portland

To learn more about the celebration or register please click on

Sustainably Yours,

Greg Sievers

A Living Business

A living business financially outperforms traditional businesses 2 to 1. It is organic by design, so it will thrive for the long term. With this design,

· The best and brightest will clamor to work at the company

· The best customers and suppliers will want to partner with the company

· The community will actively support the company

· The risk of adverse legal action is minimized

This same approach works for other organizations as well, including non-profits, government agencies, and universities.

We can create a lunch and learn, a ½ day, or a full-day workshop. You will leave this workshop with a blueprint of a living business, and ideas about first steps you can take to help your company become a living business.

Interested? I’d love to hear from you.

Gary Langenwalter


Sustainability is Alive & Well in Portland!

Sustainability is Alive & Well in Portland!

Gary Langenwalter and I discovered a new sustainability group last week. It’s entitled the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN). We attended a Networking Social at Oregon Public House, the nation’s first non-profit pub on March 20, 2014. Don’t you just love Portland! Gary and I met with Dr. Kim Smith, a PCC professor of Sociology, who’s the organizer/coordinator of GPSEN just prior to the event to better understand more about the group and find potential synergy between Portland Consulting Group and GPSEN.

What’s very exciting about GPSEN is that the United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies of Sustainability has acknowledged greater Portland as a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on education for sustainable development (ESD). GPSEN joins a coalition of 127 RCEs around the world, striving to address sustainable development goals set by the U.N. as well as sustainability goals in our regions and organizations. There are only two other RCE’s in the United States!

GPSEN is a growing cross-sector network of regional educators, students, non-profits, political and industry leaders, and community members collaborating to promote the advancement of sustainability education throughout the Portland Metro region, including Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.

GPSEN’s mission is to increase the region’s collective impact by developing collaborative partnerships, supporting outreach, and offering formal and informal educational and research opportunities and programs that leverage our collective talents and resources to help us all achieve our sustainability education objectives.

We invite you to explore how GPSEN can help you create a more sustainable, just, and healthy greater Portland region. Their next event is….

GPSEN’s Launch Celebration

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

World Forestry Center, Miller Hall

Share in our grand celebration party, with music, speakers, lovely food, international guests, and opportunities for partners to share their successes. With UNEP’s blessing, we are thrilled to have the celebration coincide with World Environment Day.

To learn more about Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network please click on…


By Greg Sievers, Portland Consulting Group 3/24/14