Effective EHS Leadership to Deliver Business Value

Wilk, P.E. , Lisa
(Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc.)

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In addition to having strong technical knowledge and experience, successful Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals also need to be effective managers and leaders. While ISO/OHSAS and other EH&S management systems facilitate “managing” the EH&S aspects of an organization, EH&S organizational “leadership” is important for achieving strong results. EH&S professionals are often challenged with communicating across varying functional areas, and need to be able to influence up, down, and sideways through their organizations to be able to successfully implement programs and effect positive changes. Clear mechanisms for communicating, driving and measuring performance are critical. A key aspect of communication is ensuring alignment with stakeholders, as well as core business objectives. EH&S professionals need to ensure that they are effectively integrated and aligned with the core business of their organizations. Understanding the overall organizational vision, and taking a bigger picture view of EH&S within the context of this larger vision, provides a framework around which EH&S leaders can think and plan strategically to ensure the success of their organization and strong transformational EH&S leadership. By proactively preparing for anticipated stakeholder expectations, EH&S professionals can help their organizations achieve a competitive advantage. Most high tech companies recognize the need for innovation to deliver products and services more quickly, more economically, and with better results. EH&S managers also need to innovate to deliver “faster, cheaper, smarter”. Moving beyond compliance and management systems, EH&S professionals need to be thinking about and acting to transform their organizations to achieve extraordinary outcomes. As the famous business writer Peter Drucker says, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. This presentation will provide a quick overview of the following key leadership concepts, review challenges and identify examples of ways in which EHS professionals can and are addressing these important leadership areas: Understanding & Aligning with Overall Company Vision, Strategic Thinking and Planning, Innovation, Communication, Influence & Motivation (with or without Authority), Driving and Measuring Success, and Transformational Leadership. Thoughts on what makes an effective leader and how EH&S professionals can be effective leaders to deliver value to their organizations will be presented. Discussion and sharing of leadership challenges and successes is encouraged during or after the presentation.

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