Facilitating Dialogue Drives Engagement, Trust, Business Results

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Facilitating Dialogue Drives Engagement, Trust, Business Results

by Sandy Nessing
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Facilitating Dialogue Drives Engagement, Trust, Business Results || Read: http://3bl.me/g7h26n via @CSRwire

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Sandy Nessing has responsibility for managing sustainability strategy, corporate stakeholder engagement and annual performance reporting for American Electric Power (AEP).

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 12:30pm

CONTENT: Blog

Through my career, I have learned that leadership sometimes means being in the background as more of a facilitator than the one out in front. My oversight of corporate stakeholder engagement, for example, has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career and continues to make me excited to come to work every day.

My favorite stakeholder meeting was the very first one when I arrived at American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP). Our executives had never participated in a stakeholder meeting, so sitting across from environmental groups, talking about the inner workings of the company was wholly uncomfortable for them. 

Looking back that first encounter was a bit of a sparring match; the nongovernmental organizations would challenge us and we would defend. Back and forth it went. At one point, we called a “time out” and reminded our folks that we were there to listen as much as to engage in dialogue. A few days later I brought the AEP team back together to ask them what they heard and what they wanted to do about it. At first, they got defensive, but before long one of our vice presidents stopped the discussion and told the group that they were seeing this all wrong. 

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Sandy Nessing has responsibility for managing sustainability strategy, corporate stakeholder engagement and annual performance reporting for American Electric Power (AEP). She oversees annual production of AEP’s Corporate Accountability Report, including a dedicated sustainability web site and companion iPad app (“AEP CAR” in the iTunes store). This is the sixth year AEP will produce an integrated report that combines financial with nonfinancial performance. Click here to learn more about Sandy.

Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | CSRwire | Employee Engagement | Leadership | blog | stakeholders

CONTENT: Blog

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