Barriers to sustainable change II: Process paralysis
Now that you have invested time, effort and capital into designing an adaptable strategy for your sustainable change programme (see ‘Barriers to Sustainable Change, Part I‘), it’s time to implement it. The journey to long-term change is however all too often inhibited by two types of barriers – ‘process paralysis’ and ‘communications concerns’.
How does a business overcome ‘process paralysis’?
Common process barriers have the potential to paralyse your sustainable change progress, so being aware of them is critical. Embedded systems and methodologies – fossils of previous processes – may no longer suit your sustainability model.
Implementing a sustainable change management programme requires integrating, monitoring, managing and reporting of energy and sustainability information at the department and location level.
Brilliant environmental efforts might be being made at one of your smaller offices, but if your head office follows an entirely separate set of processes, these opportunities won’t be capitalised upon.
Standardising your processes from the start offers your organisation the opportunity to build significant, widespread sustainability efforts and prevents process paralysis.
Communicating Change: what’s the answer?
Sustainable change is about more than just addressing design and processes – it has to be made human. Staff buy-in will be critical to bring about change and achieving this will require creative communication.
Whether or not sustainability efforts ‘fly or fail’ often boils down to how the work you’ve achieved is communicated.
Widely recognised as one of the most comprehensive sustainable change programmes in the UK, M&S’ ‘Plan A’ didn’t succeed overnight, nor were staff enthused from the start.
More than just communicating a sweeping corporate vision, M&S’ sustainability programme was successful because it created a positive feedback loop. As sustainable changes across the organisation were achieved, they were promoted. Where pitfalls occurred, they were not condemned, but used as a motivation to achieve. Through these feedback loops, staff was more likely to come on board with the sustainability programme, feel a sense of ownership and be proud of their efforts in the long-term.
By addressing the three sets of barriers discussed over the last two blogs; design, process and communication, you’re well on your way to achieving a meaningful programme of long-term sustainable change.
This post first appeared on the GreenWise Business blog.