What Are the Leadership Qualities for Sustainable Change Management?

image: changeIn business, every function has a purpose and every job requires a unique set of skills in order to fulfill on that purpose.  When it comes to defining roles for a sustainable business future, what skills and leadership qualities will your business leaders require to meet its purpose?

More companies today are looking to ‘sustainability’ leadership as a competitive core competency.  Defined formally by some as Sustainability Officers, these leadership roles are often tasked with a singular purpose: identify and manage potential environmental, social, and economic risks.  While this may sound straight forward, these concerns can vary greatly across industries.  However, the skills required for change management and implementing a corporate sustainability plan spanning the full spectrum across an organization rest not only in Sustainability Officers but all all levels of the organization. 

So, what do employees want to hear during change

  • Vision: A high level vision of the outcome that will result from the change.  
  • Passion: A passionate, heartfelt point of view about why the change is needed for the organization's continued success.
  • Support: This goes with passion and is about leaders showing continued support for the efforts needed to make the change.
  • Benefits: Tell them what is in it for them and the company as a whole. 
  • Acknowledgement: People want to talk about this and be told their feelings about the change are valid. 
  • Specifics: Details about what the changes are, when they will happen and what they need to do to make it a success 
  • Updates: A commitment to planned communications at regular intervals to inform them of the progress of the changes.
  • Declaration of Completion: They want to know when it's done. If it is a positive change, a celebration is always welcome. If it's a change that is difficult, tell them it's complete so they can breath that sigh of relief and move forward.

Leveraging these examples, there is a clear relationship between purpose and need. Sustainability leadership should be aligned with the business sustainability goals and objectives of the organization.  In seeking to define required competencies of your own sustainability officers, our sustainability consulting provides information and resources to companies seeking to redefine traditional business sustainability strategies by aligning business purpose with sustainability leadership across all areas of their organization. 

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