Sustainagility

Is your organization ready for the challenge of Sustainagility?

April 1, 2019

Sustainability, in the context of business, is the mega-process whereby an organization creates long-term value across three integrated parameters; environmental, social and economic, which at the very least, will lead to reduced costs and ensure greater efficiency.  However, the modern business should consider also utilizing agile techniques in this process, therefore creating a new hybrid; sustainagility! This combines the benefits of sustainable structures with rapid adaptability, ensuring that both finances are used optimally and an organization is better prepared for unpredictable expectations and is able to adapt to needed challenges.

Why Sustainagility Matters

 

It’s a firm belief that sustainability reduces both financial and non-financial risks. It saves money, drives revenues, stimulates innovation and enhances brand reputation. While agility ensures that an organization can flow easily and operate in all settings. Sustainagility helps business leaders take into account unforeseen obstacles to an organization and engage with clients and customers, gets the right kind of attention from the investor community, address current concerns of the globalized world, and at the same time is a mind-set to incorporate the millennial/startup culture of adaptability and moving quickly to take advantage of existing opportunities.

 

The future for business is unpredictable; markets fluctuate, currency inflations are unexpected and economic recessions have a global impact, affecting all organizations in the given market. As challenges and obstacles are constantly evolving, businesses that embrace sustainagility will be able to adapt faster, operate in more difficult environments and tackle issues that may have not been on the radar by other organizations before.  

 

Challenges

 

Adapting to this new culture can be difficult and challenging as many organizations may already be unfamiliar with this dual sustainagile approach. Ensuring that costs are low, resources aren’t wasted and that all personnel are strategically placed in the most impactful positions is essential. This is not only relevant for a company’s shareholders — but for their stakeholders too. All personnel are affected whether they are clients or customers, employees, the communities within which they operate and serve, as well as governments (whether local, national, and/or global jurisdictions). Therefore creating ‘shared value’ is essential to providing the sharpened focus required to deliver long-term sustainable growth for ALL entities affiliated within and external to an organization — including its shareholders.  

 

How to Structure Sustainagility

 

For many organizations, employees are increasingly seeking “employers with a Purpose” and not merely a pay-check.They are craving meaningful careers that not only provide an income but also have a positive impact on the global community and address critical challenges facing our society.  For example, today, employees demand business and brands ensure against the fair trade of commodities, unethical production or impact on the environment. And these are merely a few of the questions business leaders should ask themselves to better structure their organization and attract a workforce of the future.

 

Additionally, sustainagile changes to a company include IT departments that engage in a “Digital Transformation”, adopting opportunities like blockchain and showcase a more transparent supply chain; Marketing departments that have a purpose-centric narrative to enhance brand values; strategic partnerships with like-minded corporations and/or NGOs and Civil Society to deliver to a more diverse and inclusive world and ensure success for all (not only for a few) are all the modern trends to restructure a sustainagile business. Lastly, ensuring that board membership recognizes that “Business is a subset of Sustainability”, is willing to adopt to any paradigm shift, and provides critical leadership in ever changing circumstances is also essential.

 

A goal of KMPact, a multi-dimensional growth advisory firm, is to help condense this journey of creating both sustainable and agile structures and help leadership ensure that this mega-process is pervasive throughout the organization; and in turn open-up a myriad of possibilities, allowing businesses to optimize their shared value, propelling revenue and returns. The real trick to this organizational design is that every function recognizes — and plans for each opportunity AND that they do so as a team that is both responsive and able to operate in various settings. Imagine the agility of a cross-functional leadership team equally aware of each and all opportunities upon which an organization can deliver!

 

Likely, some culture transformation effort would be required— yielding a laser-like focus throughout the organization to deliver an understanding of why the organization does what it does.

 

Is your organization ready for the challenge of sustainagility? Let’s see if your business can adapt to a rapidly changing world, take into account modern cultural attitudes, all while meeting the needs of a growing market.

Geoff is a purpose-driven, impact-oriented capacity builder, who founded KMPact, an independent Leadership Advisory Firm, to focus on “the Business of Sustainability”. He has undertaken various CxO roles with leading organizations– in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors including as a Partner with Ernst & Young in Asia: his mission being to leverage talent to empower and inspire teams to achieve multi-dimensional growth.
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