Managing Risk as a Business Opportunity

image: risk and opportunity The next time you have a moment, try a simple exercise: write down the five biggest risks facing your company, the five biggest opportunities on the immediate horizon, and the five most important pieces of information you are lacking that could have a huge impact to future success.  You may be surprised to see business sustainability concepts are all over the page.  The ability to connect the dots on the paper requires the right business intelligence resources to capture and leverage the information.

What is on your sheet?  In our professional consulting, the most common feedback we receive from business leaders is: there aren’t any business sustainability opportunities on my paper.  Why should I pursue action without reward?  The answer is simple: managing risk can become a business opportunity.  Consider sustainability as a profit center: crazy talk or real possibility?

According to an Aberdeen Group study, The ROI of Sustainability: Making the Business Case, top performing organizations view sustainability as a "must have" strategy for long term business viability and success.

Whether your company is just becoming familiar with the concept of business sustainability or is sustainability leader in your industry, sustainable performance can no longer be viewed as an option.  If valued by your stakeholders, sustainability can become a risk or an opportunity.  According to BSR, reviewing and reflecting on business sustainability strategies is especially important for companies with investors who care about why and how they expect to create value with their efforts.

Implementing sustainable business strategies in any organization requires a complex mixture of finesse:  realistic, achievable and measurable.  Finding that magical balance is what is required to make change stick.
• Define Value - each organization identifies value differently - what is it from their perspective?
• Bridge the Gap - Connect the dots from the current status to the vision by helping those to capture their own vision and define a path forward to live into it
• Speak the Business Language - Tie Business objectives to sustainability.  What gets measured gets managed.  Hence, identify key metrics and tie to the bottom line.
• Bridge Up - what existing programs wrap up to an overarching sustainability plan?
• Who's at the table?  Invite all stakeholders to the table to include buy in from all.

These efforts enable proactive businesses leaders to capture the benefits of sustainable business: reduce business costs, improve business reputation, and attract and maintain top job candidates.  

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