While most managers jump in and try to fix issues that arise, you need to go one step further--stop the problems from rearing their ugly heads in the first place. That means being proactive--building processes and systems that generate work output. Then you can watch over your business’ engine rather than becoming one of the cogs in the machine.
School administrators in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando in 2012 formed the Urban School Food Alliance. And in May, they announced that they were ditching polystyrene lunch trays and replacing them with compostable lunch plates. It's a significant move since all together, the schools in the Alliance serve up 2.5 million meals a day.
The polystyrene used in traditional lunch trays is a petroleum-based plastic that won't break down for hundreds of years. When the trays end up in landfills — and 225 million of them do every year — they leeches pollutants into the water and air, according to the group.
The new plates, by comparison, are made of recycled newsprint and can break down within a matter of weeks in commercial composting facilities. They're also only a tiny bit more expensive, at $0.049 apiece compared with $.04 apiece for the plastic trays.