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How A Sustainability “Change Agent” Workshop Works

| Wednesday October 14th, 2009 | 2 Comments

change-agent-300x225By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

Ever since I studied adaptive leadership with Ronald Heifetz at Harvard, I have been interested in the intersection between organizational change, systems theory and sustainability issues.  Many sustainability professionals seem to lack an understanding of what it takes to create enduring, lasting change within an organization or system. As illustrated with the recent departure of Van Jones from the White House, a change agent needs a strategic understanding of how to navigate the dangers of leading change without getting scapegoated or sidelined.

I recently learned that Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) is offering a two-day Sustainability Change Agent Training with Alan AtKisson, November 16th and 17th. I’m excited that I will have the chance to attend (I will be attending to cover the event for Triple Pundit).

I realize many of us have “workshop-itis” these days after attending a few too many workshops and conferences.  But I feel this topic has not been well covered at past green trainings. And Sustainable Silicon Valley is offering Triple Pundit readers a discount of $100 off the registration fee (applies only to SSV partner and non-partner rates). Go to the registration page and use the code “triplepundit” when registering.

AtKisson and The ISIS Agreement

AtKisson is a strategic consultant and author of the recent book, The ISIS Agreement:  How Sustainability Can Improve Organizational Performance and Transform the World. I’m still working my way through the book, which is not a quick read. It is chocked full of information on global trends, practical guidance, systems-based analysis, case studies and profiles of successful “change agents.”

Hunter Lovins, president and founder of the Natural Capitalism Solutions says of the book, “AtKisson’s Accelerator tools and ISIS Method are powerful–I’ve seen them in action.  This book is the essential guide, while also being an inspiring and informative read for just about anybody.”

As a consultant, AtKisson works with large companies, business associations, governmental initiatives, cities, foundations and global NGOs, helping them to find new and accelerated strategic pathways forward. His clients have included Nike, Toyota and Levi Strauss.

What the Workshop Covers

The course, based on his new book, has two goals:  to deepen your understanding of sustainability and provide you with the tools necessary to facilitate real change. The workshop will teach participants a suite of tools aimed at breaking sustainability down into its essential elements in order to identify levers for effecting change.

AtKisson offers, “Not only will you learn the ISIS Method and get hands-on experience with the ISIS Accelerator tools — I am quite sure you will come away energized and inspired. Do you know what the most frequent complaint is about our workshops? Participants complain, I wish it were one day longer!”

At the end of the two days, participants will have a deeper understanding of sustainability indicators and assessment strategies, be introduced to systems thinking and change agent skills and have a better  ability to lead and facilitate change.

Who Should Attend

This training is appropriate for anyone who wants to accelerate the adoption of sustainability in their company, organization or community. Corporate leaders, sustainability officers, green team leaders, governmental agencies, sustainability professionals, educators and elected leaders are the ideal target audience. To date, a diverse group has registered from both the public and private sectors.  Representatives from NASA, Yahoo!, Intel and the City of Palo Alto will be attending.

Testimonials From Past Workshops

Julie Weiss, an environmental specialist from the City of Palo Alto, recently attended one of AtKisson’s trainings in Europe and enjoyed the combination of technical skills, organizational change theory and personal reflection time. She believes the tools will be very useful when she is wearing her sustainability hat. “I really loved the class–it was very positive, rejuvenating and inspiring.”

Registration Details

I mentioned this earlier, but it is worth repeating again here.  Sustainable Silicon Valley is offering Triple Pundit readers a discount of $100 off the registration fee (applies only to SSV partner and non-partner rates). Go to the registration page and use the code “triplepundit” when registering.


Deborah Fleischer is founder and president of Green Impact, a strategic environmental consulting practice that helps companies strengthen their relationships with stakeholders, develop profitable green initiatives and communicate their successes and challenges. She is a LEED AP with a Master in Environmental Studies from Yale University and over 20-years of direct experience working on sustainability-related challenges in both the public and private sectors. She brings deep expertise in sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, program development and written communications.

You can follow her occasional tweet @GreenImpact or contact her directly at Deborah@greenimpact.com.


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  • Peter Fagerstrom

    For those of you out there that are thinking about taking part in the workshop, stop! Get your spot today! I took part in a workshop in january together with students, professors, professionals in big business and other large organisations as well as consultants from several countries and I everyone I talked to after basically confirmed what was said in this post. It was just too short ;o) well worth the time and then some.

  • Francesca Avery

    Yes indeed, I read his book and attended one of his lectures online via International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) – http://SustainabilityProfessionals.org. Very enlightening.

    Mr. AtKisson transmits the kind of sustainability literacy many sustainability “experts” actually lack.