The case for sustainability and business innovation.
Business sustainability has become a new mantra for many organizations, big and small as well as a new “normal” for the innovation and profitability. For this reason the increased talk at the C-Level of many organizations is geared towards how the business can make its case in organizations with non-sustainable products and processes.
The question from most employees is “How do we present the case for sustainability to management in such a way that they reason with a holistic mindset of the long term business impact “? These are some basic steps to follow:
1. Establish a sense of urgency-
- Perception, profitability, and prosperity are keys to getting management listen to your case of sustainability.
- Analyze the current status against future implications of the products, market (both current and emerging), risks and the expectations of the stakeholders.
- Explain the benefits of action and the consequences of non-action.
2. The next course of action would be to create a coalition to guide the implementation of sustainable practices-
- Educate management used fact based methods for example, use data from companies within your industry that have adopted sustainability in their business and changes in its operations and profitability.
- Include top management influencers within the decision making team of the organization.
- Use existing employees who have started incorporating sustainable practices within their work group.
- Utilize subject matter experts to make the case for sustainability.
3. Develop a vision and strategy
- The vision here is towards a bigger purpose for the organization with particular focus on the long- term gains as well as the short-term fixes.
- Then, size the opportunities for the organization
- After which comes the outline of the risks
- Project impact on business model, product portfolio, brand and business value
4. Empower broad- based action
- Outline the organizational set up because sustainability brings with it new organizational structures and roles.
- Identify new skills needed to effectively sustain new processes and the practices
- Identify the financial needs such as budget and mergers and acquisition as needed
- Outline milestone and targets which should be tangible measureable units against the baseline prior to the implementation of sustainability
- And of course, communicate the plan to all involved and also to the broader organization so they all know the why, when, and how the project is going to be implemented.