Community Building, Energy, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Inner Ecosystem, Insights, Local Economy, Systems Thinking

Trust as a Leverage Mechanism

When looking to create a thriving system it is important to consider the leverage points. For instance, in our work with Berlin BetterBuildings we discovered that one of the most important leverage points is in one’s ability to be trusted. When we first came to town many looked at us skeptically. Through our partnership with the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire energy efficiency program, ably coordinated by Joseph Lajewski, we were able to help fund the energy audits required to create a scope of work. People were able to see exactly what work needed to be done, approximately what that work would cost and what the estimated payback period would be based on the savings. However, much of the time, the cost of implementing the work, usually a large capital injection, was beyond the reach of our clients. RMANH had a generous incentive for implementing the work, but we at first did not. It was only after we developed our incentives that our commercial clients became truly committed.

There were many times over the year and a half between when I first began promoting this program and when we offered the incentives. Each time a new deadline needed to be met, the clients took a leap of faith and submitted the required paperwork, never really thinking they would be going through with a project. You can imagine how good it felt to see their faith rewarded with valuable incentives.

There were many tough conversations, but we at Berlin BetterBuildings never promised something we couldn’t deliver. We were responsive, respectful and confident that our clients would benefit from the program once they were able to participate. Earning their trust directly affected the success of this program, and will contribute to the economic development of this North Country mill town. It is an honor to work to support a community like Berlin NH.

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