Buzz words abound in business especially when it involves how management handles change. One of the more current popular terms in the first decade of the 21st century is sustainability.This word is linked with a variety of other words such as:
- Business results
- Green business
- Improving and streamlining business operations
- Practices in business
Reading many articles on sustainability management, there is a strong emphasis on the environment specific to the 3 Rs
This buzz word has added two other Rs that being Rethink and Redesign.
Yet sustainability is not just about the environment, but rather looks to how resources are most efficiently and effectively utilized within any organization. This rethinking suggests that two additional elements present in any organization that need to be included when thinking about how to best leverage limited resources so that they will not be wasted.
- Processes (Operations)
When management expands the sustainability definition by including these two other elements or components, this rethinking helps to create a more natural alignment between the 5 areas as defined by Galbraith in his Five Star Model and truly starts an innovative process of redesign:
From the earlier work of pioneers such as Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, natural capitalism is far easier to embrace when looking at all three elements of people, processes and environment instead at just the last one. Natural capitalism is concerned about:
- Dramatically increasing productivity by better use of existing resources
- Shifting to natural products or more biologically inspired so reducing waste and toxic refuse
- Moving to a business model emphasizing “service and flow” through performance, quality and utility instead of just selling a product
- Reinvesting in natural capital through sustaining, restoring and expanding the flows of natural capital
Organizations do not function in a vacuum and the operations are interdependent. People (internal customers or human capital) may work in one department, but their efforts usually transcend into other departments or business operations. By creating awareness and uniting the entire workforce to be more efficient and effective regarding the use of existing resources can only help the bottom line.
Change management initiatives can propel any organization to new levels of productivity to profitability provided the executive managers are willing to go beyond the 3Rs and look to rethinking and redesign as they look to embrace sustainable practices in business. By taking this action, sustainability plans will expand beyond the environment and will develop responsible leaders who are stewards of their worlds both personally and professionally.