In Change Management How Does One Define Sustainability?

Change management looks a lot different today than even 5 or 10 years ago ,. The key difference is organizations are seeking sustainable business results. No longer is the bottom line revenue less expenditures, but now most look at revenue and the decisions from three different areas: People Processes (Operations) Environment For each of these…

Change management looks a lot different today than even 5 or 10 years ago ,. The key difference is organizations are seeking sustainable business results.

No longer is the bottom line revenue less expenditures, but now most look at revenue and the decisions from three different areas:

  1. People
  2. Processes (Operations)
  3. Environment

For each of these areas contribute to the sustainability of all decisions made by each individual within the organization. Collectively the impact of their decisions can affect any change management initiative and therefore determined whether sustainable business results have been achieved.

So how does one define sustainability? That is a good question. As each organization is different, the definition will change. However, there are some shared or common elements embedded the sustainability definition. These are:

  • Long Term Growth
  • Systems Thinking
  • Profitability
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Stewardship

To further peel away this somewhat confusing definition helps to look at one of the key areas mentioned earlier, people.

Within the this component, when there is a lack of alignment, these outcomes may be present:

  • Reactive management
  • Fire fighting
  • Repetitive problems (result of what some might call “kicking the can”)

Yet when people are aligned to processes, these sustainable business results may happen

  • Innovation
  • Proactive problem solving
  • Increased efficiency or speed
  • Understanding and support for sustainable vision
  • Culture of collaboration
  • Improved employee loyalty or retention

Then when people are aligned to the environment organizations may experience the following:

  • Improved employee engagement
  • Better public image through communication
  • Culture of proactive behaviors when it comes to decisions that may negatively affect the environment such as not recycling paper
  • Sustainability becomes part of all decisions respectable to profitability

One of the best frameworks is to look to the Star Model for change management and therefore sustainable business results. This model is truly one about identifying what I like to call the “readiness gaps” between the following 5 areas:

  1. Strategy
  2. Structure
  3. Processes or systems
  4. Reward or incentives
  5. People

By closing those readiness gaps supports change management initiatives as well as sustainable business results. For the goal of any change management direct is to create sustainability and therefore avoid those very expensive OOP $ For OOPS always cost resources than can be translated into dollars in some way or fashion.

To define sustainability with the change management process is the first step to maximize profitability. By taking a systematic approach and ensuring alignment between the five key areas of the Star Model as well as people, processes and environment can only help to strengthen each organization from the very smallest to the largest.