Is Home Depot Green Washing?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 15, 2008 by andyzilch

Alot of talk by big companies has gone on lately about going green: NBC, P&G, Honda, etc. In general I’m incredibly excited and motivated by these efforts; after all I can only have so much impact, but a company that touches thousands if not millions of people each day can multiply good efforts beyond belief. In fact, I’m incredibly excited that my company has increased efforts to get employees to reduce consumption (print less, increase the temperature, turn off lights, etc) and has also stepped up recycling efforts, now including items like batteries and printer cartridges beyond the usual cans and bottles.

The one from my personal experience, though, that I find most ironic is Home Depot.

I’ve been to HD about 5 times in the past week, some times completing just one transaction (buying a draw handle) and some times completing multiple (returning a draw handle and buying a drawer knob). Each time, along w/ my list of products, HD’s address and phone number, the return policy and some marketing material about the 10% guarantee, my receipt contains a survey invitation printed in both English and Spanish that doubles the length of the receipt.

Take my visit earlier today where I needed to exchange five bags of 1 5/8″ screws for five bags of 1 1/2″ screws. This amounted to two transactions (apparently HD registers can’t both purchase and return at the same time…) each of which included a survey invitation.
Is Home Depot Green Washing
This resulted in 4 times the amount of paper necessary to make my exchange.

When he heard my comment about this, the clerk replied, “I know! And they never turn the lights off in the electric department, imagine how much energy we’d save just by flipping off a few of those incandescent light bulbs!”

If it didn’t take 20 minutes, I’d fill out each and every one of those surveys from here out… Hopefully though Home Depot will see enough blog posts like this one to get the picture.

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Out last night

Posted in Cincinnati on March 30, 2008 by andyzilch

Volunteered last night at the Fountain Day celebration on Fountain Square. We served plenty of beverages despite the brisk weather and I talked to officer Chris Thomas, a cool police officer who kept an eye on our booth. Lighting the Tyler-Davidson Fountain was really cool, I caught a few pics in progress.

unlit Tyler-Davidson Fountain lit Tyler-Davidson Fountain lit and flowing Tyler-Davidson Fountain

Thanks to our friend Suzanne for getting us in touch w/ the volunteer opportunity.

Three types of people in the world

Posted in Business, The Forward Zig on February 16, 2008 by andyzilch

Those who can count and those who can’t.

Well the certainty of change and uncertainty of reality continues at the office. It seems that there are roles, mine included, which do not easily fit into the new organizational model. These require some debate about which of several organizations will get the headcount and then how the shorted organization will manage the work. The debate seems to highlight exactly how similar things will be after the organizational change: it presumes the same number of people and the same work will continue.

My last post contained my theory of The Forward Zig in which progress is made through a series of diagonal, not lateral, moves. The irony of the debate above is that it facilitates The Zig, but isn’t taking immediate advantage of it. Rather The Zig’s benefit will be realized as the new organizational model assimulates the people and work. This brings me to a new postulate: In the macro view The Forward Zig is a straight line; closer observation reveals, however, smaller combinations of lateral-forward, lateral-forward moves.

The debate our organizational leaders are having, while on the surface considered to be one full process that will be deployed once all leaders have aligned, is actually the Lateral-Forward moves happening in real time. As each role is split new information about work is revealed and shorted organizations are forced to think of new ways to accomlish it. So to is the organization who gets a new resource forced to determine how to fully utilize the resource. Smart organizations won’t just use their headcount wins to cover their losses, but ways to rethink the work and get new value from the organization.

The Forward Zig

Posted in Business, The Forward Zig on January 28, 2008 by andyzilch

It has been a while since my last post. Mostly I think Facebook has been taking the time I previously would have spent writing, but also there hasn’t been much to post. We went to St. Louis for the holidays and while we had a great time with family none of my friends were home for the break so the visit was not as active as usual.

My job has been so-so lately. We are going through a re-organization to make things “simpler” and help me be more “effective” which is code for we have a new round of work that can be outsourced to lower cost markets like Costa Rica or Manila. So many managers use terms like “simplify” as a passive way to state these things which to me is a sign of weak leadership. Own your decision: I really respect my current director because she will use much more assertive terms. She also has no shame in explaining that “we organize for the problem we are trying to solve.” If that means we can take better advantage of work that can scale, we get more centralized around common services/technologies; on the other hand if we have exploited scale to its hyperbolic max so now local needs aren’t met, we become more decentralized.

Many people refer to this as the “pendulum swing” and dismiss it as a tool of poor leadership or senior managers “making their mark”. The reality is that progress often happens in these swings and it is not a lateral swing, but rather a forward zig/zag. I believe big companies often make progress not in a straight line, but as a series of forward moving zigs and zags each time internalizing the learning from the previous zag or zig. Perhaps someday, after I have more evidence of the pattern, that will be my book: The Forward Zig.

I’m back.

Giving Thanks

Posted in Cincinnati, Family, Friends on November 22, 2007 by andyzilch

CIMG2983While our Thanksgiving holiday didn’t turn out as we had planned, Sarita and I were quite thankful for such a wonderful year: our families are all healthy (well Mom & Dad S came down with the flu, but that will pass), we celebrated our first anniversary, we completed projects on our house, we celebrated weddings with friends, …, the list goes on. And now we add to the list that we cooked a great backup Thanksgiving meal.

When Mom and Dad S. said they were sick we understood it might be better to let them rest than to make a trip to Detroit and disrupt their recovery; after all they have a cruise in a couple weeks. We had declined an invite to our friends’ Thanksgiving dinner earlier, but one quick call and we were back on the guest list. Our job was to bring potatoes and pie. This morning though our friends called to say they too had the flu, brought to them from out of town guests. hmmm…. there seems to be a pattern here.

Luckily though we had a bag of stuffing in the cupboard and chicken and cranberries in the freezer. Together we whipped up a fabulous meal and had Thanksgiving dinner in our pajamas. Not a bad year at all.

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who might read this post!

Thunderstorms Are The Best

Posted in Cincinnati on October 18, 2007 by andyzilch

I got some spectacular photos of lightening tonight. I’m about to turn off the computer and unplug it (in case that lightening gets a little too close) but take a look at these photos. It took about 40-50 shots to get some good ones; you just have to press the shutter release and hope something happens in the next couple seconds.

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Tornado sirens going off now… time to be smart and get in the basement

Our Anniversary Present Arrives

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 29, 2007 by andyzilch

We received our anniversary present to each other today. Fedex came a little early so we almost had a mishap with the house alarm. This is Umbrella Trees by Donald Craghead from Carmel, CA.

Umbrella Trees by Don Craghead, on Flickr Umbrella Trees by Don Craghead
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