Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability has become the key to unlocking opportunities. By taking giant leaps towards sustainability, organisations can accrue significant business value and implement futureproof business practices now known as “next practices”. Any organisation vision needs to be transformed and tailored to fit the future of the sustainable economy.
Organisations need to be able to transform operations to capture opportunities, mitigate risks and drive effective growth and development.
The stages of transformation.
Proper planning for adequate transformation requires a detailed road map of the business activities, practices and changes that will be made during the transformation. This may include creating a change, risk, and communication management plans for the transformation to be successfully implemented.
Transformation requires the engagement of every member involved. Level of engagement of frontline managers and leaders has a direct impact on the outcome of the transformation. By creating clear lines of communication, organisations allow employees to explore and engage with the change happening and it also provides them with greater opportunities to give feedback and input.
Boosting change can be achieved with true transparency. Setting clear goals and objectives, communicating the purpose of the change and conducting regular check-ins provides employees with a better understanding of the transformation, speeds up the process, and drives real value.
Leading the transformation requires the right conversation. Sharing the framework, structuring activities, roles, responsibilities, road map leading to the change, proper sequence, guidelines, benefits, and background all fall under leading and managing the change. Leaders need to recognise the importance of full engagement and the concept of continuous improvement throughout the process. Leaders are also responsible for creating a vision that goes beyond satisfying stakeholders’ demands for economic returns, a vision towards a more sustainable, triple bottom line, and balanced future that can inspire employees.
The transforming stage requires constant reinforcement of the purpose with a clear direction. A measurement matrix with continuous monitoring must be put in place in order to assess progress and effectiveness. Clear guidelines for delegated decision making must also be provided for those participating in the change.
Planning for sustainable value and impact begins from the start of the transformation process. Ensuring that the changes that occur during the transformation are sustainable and will drive constant value to the organisation is key to an impactful change program. Sustaining the change after the transformation is also crucial.
Transformation begins from the core of the business.
For accelerated sustainable transformation to occur organisations need to revolutionise the business in every aspect.
Renewed interpretation of the organisation’s purpose
In the last few decades business efforts have shifted away from simply generating income for shareholders. Business vision, mission and objectives now need to be re-aligned with a new purpose that aims at achieving long-term business sustainability. This can be achieved by embedding values and a positive energetic attitude that will create a common sense of purpose, thereby influencing the business and its frameworks as a whole.
Renewed interpretation of business and operating models
Business and operating models define how organisations conduct their business practices. Transformation involves optimising all business activities while considering sustainability. Organisations need to reassess their business and operational model frameworks to reframe decision making processes and include factors such as future resource availability, price differentiation, public health, and environment impact, with the ultimate aim of creating future resilience for the organisation and their society.
Renewed formations of partnerships
An organisation headed towards a sustainability transformation is one that behaves and acts in a naturally responsible approach towards the environment and society around it. Forming partnerships becomes a core factor that contributes to the level of organisational responsibility, and partnerships are created based on compliance of not only contracts, agreements, and professional standard but also on responsible and sustainable leadership.
New conceptions of transparency
Transformation can be achieved through trust and trust can be built with higher level of transparency. Business growth, trust, and the level of influence an organisation can have on the society can develop with the increase of transparency. Robust reporting mechanisms need to be put in place to help protect businesses and maintain a transparent brand image.
Development of sustainable consumption
The unsustainable existing consumption paradigm is being abandoned in favour of selecting conscious products. For organisations to go through a successful sustainability transformation they must promote sustainable consumption and focus on long-term economic growth that considers present and future needs. In other words, sustainable development and consumption should meet current consumer demands without depriving future generations and the environment in the long-term.