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You couldn’t be blamed for thinking there wasn’t a link between psychometric tests that profile an individual’s personality and how ‘green’ your business is. The connection isn’t an obvious one. But it might be a crucial one that provides your business with the insight it needs to ensure its environmental policy or Environmental Management System (EMS) is implemented across the business.

There are a number of personality profiling tools on the market that provide the qualified user with a practical, logical and systematic way to understand the normal differences people bring to work. Such tools include the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which is widely used in businesses, or the OPQ32 – one of the many tests from the well known publisher SHL.

So what exactly is the link between personality profiling and a green business? Well for many businesses, taking a ‘greener’ approach to business requires change, often significant change. This might start with a change in policy, followed by a change in technology, and should ultimately end in a change in behaviour. Behaviour change is a challenge for most businesses; the larger the business the more difficult it can be to embrace change.

Applying the picture of personality provided by psychological type to organisational change provides a helpful perspective on the individual differences that need handling. For example, some individuals will be really excited by the business changing into a ‘greener’ business, whereas others find the idea of it overwhelming and draining.  

Let’s take the process of implementing an environmental policy; some people will want to jump in, whilst others prefer to reflect and think it through first. There will always be lots of details, specifics, and steps involved in implementing an environmental policy, and some people want to know every inch of information. Others however, will prefer to consider the big picture and long-term goals of what the business is trying to achieve.

Taking on board a new environmental policy will have an inevitable list of tasks that some people prefer to focus on; at the same time though, it will also have an effect on staff and others will attend to this and address people’s needs rather than the practicalities of tasks. Rolling out a new system or policy will take time – it can be difficult balancing the teamwork of those who prefer tight timelines with those who prefer a bit more flexibility and fun.

With a range of reactions to a range of issues, it is easy to see how change programmes can often be problematic if people’s reactions and needs aren’t harnessed for the best. Understanding personality type – using a tool such as MBTI enables ways in which business and individuals can plan ahead to give everyone the best opportunity to get what they need and therefore to bring their creativity and energy to organisational change.

Workshops where individuals apply the understanding of personality, their own and colleagues’ personality, to the change occurring in their business are often invaluable. This is due to the facilitation of independent and external experts who also bring expertise in relevant areas: the personality tool being used, psychology, business and environmental matters.

A set of workshops with the key players in implementing a new environmental policy or EMS will provide a solid foundation and systematic focus point by which the business can effectively manage change.

Ampleo is a firm of Chartered Occupational Psychologists specialising in green change management, recruitment and development for businesses and organisations. Call Anna Kane on 0845 163 7788 for an informal and commitment-free conversation. You can also email anna.kane@ampleo.co.uk or visit www.ampleo.co.uk

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