I recently visited and volunteered my services to Conservation International (CI), of America's sustainability-driven non-governmental organizations with its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Founded in 1987, CI's primary goal revolves around ensuring the protection of nature as a vital source of a stable climate, food, livelihoods, and fresh water for the very benefit of people worldwide. As a non-profit environmental organization, CI works in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, including conservationists, scientists, companies, and locals to protect human communities, nature, and global biodiversity. In this way, CI places great emphasis on promoting sustainable business, fostering effective governance, and protecting natural wealth. One of the organization's major achievements involves its effort in creating, expanding, and improving the management and conservation of over 50 million acres of terrestrial as well as marine protected areas (CI). Ultimately, CI remains change-driven NGO whose sustainability efforts continue to influence people's behavior and attitude toward environmental conservation.
During my five-hour engagement with CI, the organization's human resource department (HRD)A tasked with me with the responsibility of creating awareness about the adoption of sustainable environmental practices among small and medium-sized business enterprises (SMEs). With the volunteer opportunity, I acknowledged and appreciated the importance of making a difference among my peers and critical stakeholders in SMEs. Within the short period, I had identified five different small-scale businesses, observed how they manage waste and made notes about the various environmental friendly and unfriendly practices. As part of my work, I noted that most shops still little their surroundings, some burning plastic wastes, while others had few to now water storage tanks. In essence, the report I presented to the management could be used for decision making aimed at designing and implementing appropriate waste management strategies for SMEs and sustainable economic policies.
Individual managers at CI diligently execute their managerial planning duties by defining realistic, achievable, and clear goals for their departments. Referring to what I witnessed in the HRD, the managers stressed on aligning employees' objective with the already established organizational objectives. For example, I keenly watched one of the interns respond to questions regarding what she intends to achieve in the organization by the end of her 3-month engagement. From her answers, she must have mastered CI's vision: imagining both a prosperous and healthy world free from unsustainable activities (CI).
Also, I noted that all the present managers served as active planners and decision makers, who focused on long-term goals. Contrary to for-profit organizations which tend to prioritize short-time gains, each of the CI managers often reminded volunteers, interns, and workers to embrace and integrate long-lasting strategies into their programs (UMN; Schraeder et al. 53). The managers' plans remain in line with the organization's recent decision to shift its focus from conserving the only biodiversity to protecting natural ecosystems to ensure human well-being. Equally important, I observed two managers evaluating and reviewing whether their plans proved successful. Undoubtedly, I realized that the CI management is both robust regarding goal and objective-setting, decision-making, and plan evaluation.
Separate and apart from their planning roles, the CI managers performed extremely well in organizing the various elements of the organization. In particular, all the departments have definite, concise, and uniform culture guided by six core values, including teamwork, courage, passion, optimism, integrity, and respect (CI). Additionally, I strongly admired the manner in which the HR manager emphasized on designing individual roles: interns and volunteers like myself were asked to less complicated tasks than our employed and seasoned counterparts. Typically, any given organization that makes an all-inclusive decision about the responsibilities and duties of various actors tend to outperform their competitors (Schraeder et al. 55). Most importantly, the managers delegated and distributed power, instilling confidence in employees and giving them the best possible opportunity to identify with the achievements (UMN). In essence, they acted as servant leaders by demonstrating a great deal of aptitude in their organizing function.
I established that CI has one of the most effective controlling mechanisms. The organization managers used information from metrics to identify and focus their conservation efforts in the affected places in addition to tracking progress toward and communicating goals and results, respectively (CI). At the same time, CI has a unique Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which enables individual managers to send qualified experts on expeditions with the sole purpose of exploring field sites across the globe (CI). In the HRD, for instance, the manager had performance appraisal (PA) results pending their timely and accurate release to each employee. The managers use the identified strategic HR options to ensure effective control by developing a motivated workforce.
The CI management utilizes and promotes servant leadership. When I encountered the current chief executive officer (CEO), Sanjavan, he stressed on ensuring follower development. After notifying that I had submitted my brief report, the CEO embraced me. I saw him encourage Smith and joke with his employees. As a consequence, individual managers had adopted their CEO's ethical and humble way of developing and maintaining productive employee-employer relationships. Besides motivation, they placed much emphasis on effective communication either with people in the field or within the organization premises (Schraeder 54). I realized that all these approaches culminated in stewardship and commitment to growth.
Conservation International (CI). About Us. 2017. https://www.conservation.org/about/Pages/default.aspx#mission
Schraeder, Mike, et al. The Functions of Management as Mechanisms for Fostering Interpersonal Trust. Advances in Business Research, vol. 5, 2014, pp. 50-62.
University of Minnesota (UMN). Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling. 2018. http://open.lib.umn.edu/principlesmanagement/chapter/1-5-planning-organizing-leading-and-controlling-2/
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