8-Essential factors for the sustainability and relevance of your organization: Survive vs. Thrive the mentality!
While many organizations have fallen into a “survive” mentality since the start of the pandemic, just trying to get through this experience, this thought process is dangerous enough for their ability to thrive. So how do organizations stay ‘sustainable’ or do you fall prey to this ‘we just have to get through this next year’ mentality? This type of thinking in the market serves as cancer for sustainability.
For decades, linear thinking and linear load positions such as analytics, finance, accounting, engineering, operations, and administration have dominated sustainability. Unfortunately, that doesn’t communicate the whole picture. Sustainability is a 360-degree conversation and application – each business unit, including the C-Suite as a whole, has a responsibility to understand and implement sustainability strategies and behaviors. Sustainability is a universal issue and is much more extensive and impacting on an organization and the human capital it represents.
Business annals are littered with business organizations and individuals who have adopted the survival mentality and no longer exist. But, conversely, the annals also count many leading organizations in the private sector and the nonprofit space that are examples of sustainable and successful organizations.
For example, in 1971, the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (aka US Jaycees) had over 500,000 members. Today, United States Jaycees’ sustainable direction is in survival mode and has fewer than 30,000 members. The organization is knocking on the door of death. Their mission statement from almost a century ago is still 100% viable, but decades of flawed execution became its “GPS” until the derailment. Another organization, The United Methodist Church, has lost over a million members in their leadership positions at the local level over the past decade due to a mentality of survival and not tackling a progressive and forward-looking mindset.
The concept of sustainability has been bastardized in business conversations lately. The term has been grossly misinterpreted to discuss topics such as “green and / or conservation” or “green and / or alternative energy” or “global warming” applications. In this context, sustainability is a simple marketing gamble to lure people into bogus and emotionally charged narratives and business plans that would otherwise be neither profitable nor relevant. People feel good when they say they are engaged in “sustainable projects”.
Sustainability in organizations is universal and needs to be considered, compared and applied in several ways. Here are some of the potential non-traditional lenses to look at when considering the issue of durability:
SUSTAINABILITY through Values = Visions = Mission Statement: This is where thriving organizations live. These three variables serve as the GPS from which all other factors are born. It starts with a deep reflection on the personal values of the organization’s main stakeholders and how they evolve towards its value system. Values guide the vision of the individual and the organization and are usually communicated publicly through a mission statement. Every effort, deliverable, decision, and every human capital movement must be aligned with this statement for the organization to survive (meet minimum business standards to remain viable) and thrive (performance standards that excel beyond that).
SUSTAINABILITY thanks to viable, scalable and real-time deliverables: Keeping people focused on a short term global perspective when the long term matters is paramount for sustainability, both now and in the long term! To be sustainable, organizations must adopt a culture and attitude of agility to ensure that what they consistently serve a real market need. The thought “this is what we have always done” should be questioned with respect at all times. Conversely, avoid implementing change for the sole purpose of change. If that doesn’t move the organization forward to a flourishing state, it doesn’t need to be.
Survival sustainability is calculated using analysis of your organization’s current deliverables, the demographics you serve, what is really profitable, what your organization should stay connected to, and what should. be derived to remain viable. Once this is done and the monitoring systems and processes are in place for constant data feedback, the organization’s C-Suite is responsible for sustaining tomorrow’s survival. They will do this by recognizing what the market will tolerate and what the market will need in the immediate, intermediate, and long term future, and then determining ways to be market ready as those needs arise. With a flourishing sustainability mindset, organizations and their C-Suite (accelerated by a committed board of directors) will know and create the future to drive the market towards flourishing sustainability.
SUSTAINABILITY thanks to trajectory codes (TC): The trajectory code refers to the values, goals, aspirations and personal and professional needs of an individual (over immediate, intermediate and long-term periods). This then needs to be determined if it aligns with the gains, buy-in, alignment, and flourishing energies of the organization’s trajectory code (as a whole). When the trajectories align, the organization can operate from a lasting foundation of trust and will thrive. Organizational TC must be supported by all business practices within that organization and by all human capital. Organizations derail and struggle daily to survive when these TCs are not aligned.
Watch the YouTube video (youtu.be/Ts Wrtgre29A) and get a better understanding of trajectory code modeling (www.barnes andnoble.com/w/your-trajectory-codejeffrey-magee/1120376074?ean=978111904 3232 & itm = 1 & usri = 9781119043232).
SUSTAINABILITY through Human Capital: Misaligned CTs need to be put aside for organizations to attract the best human capital and implement best practices, both of which are necessary to be sustainable. Organizations that go beyond survival mode have a guaranteed variable in play; they have the right human capital in the right place at the right time and cultivate a strong human capital bank two or three levels in or down! Human capital involves a deep understanding of a wide range of factors of diversity. Understand and apply generational diversity as an asset mindset, the cultural imprint on individuals and within the organization, sub-entities within organizations and how other factors of ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, socio-economic drivers, etc. have an impact on sustainability.
SUSTAINABILITY thanks to the virtual. Hybrid, E-Business and Traditional: Whether your organization is internet-based or you have traditional brick and mortar locations, sustainability is part of that same conversation. A critical differentiator of change agents is that in the electronic world there is a need to be even more responsive and nimble in the face of factors that impact sustainability. This enables proactive organizations to respond to immediate needs (sustainability efforts of survival) and enables organizations and individuals to move forward (sustainability efforts). Having connectivity with identified constituents of value, both internally and externally, will provide clear TCs for any organization in any situation to secure actions, commitments, deliverables and energies sustainable and flourishing.
SUSTAINABILITY by economy: Ensuring the management of cash flow in times of survival will ensure sustainable and successful business practices. Understanding scalability dictates whether an organization can scale to successful states such as how AR, AP, compensation and benefits, inventory control, shared partnership resources, budgeting and planning, investing in all areas of capital, etc. , are managed.
SUSTAINABILITY thanks to the next generation… Evolve or die: Another aspect of sustainability applies to pretty much anything you do. From the conference room to the C-Suite and from the front line to the customer, you must constantly look to the future. What could next-gen deliverables look like? How to develop your human capital? What programs and policies promote flourishing energies? Be on the lookout for what you can acquire, integrate, associate and create as the next evolving reality.
SUSTAINABILITY thanks to a committed C-Suite architecture: First, the board needs to be aligned with your C-Suite so that sustainability is individually owned. Establish the layout of the architecture of your C-Suite (ie CEO, CFO, COO, CIT, CLO…), with (as an example) a dotted line going from the CFO to a member of the board of directors who has had experience CFO. This should be done for each person on your board, as it creates accountability and ensures that you don’t end up with multiple redundancies on the board.
Second, each C-Suite position should be mirrored for a board member and challenged to assess and stress test the sustainability factors within their respective companies for survival, then push them to take action for flourishing sustainability opportunities!
If stakeholders with a survival mindset direct your thoughts or actions in an organization, you will limit your possible reality. These people and this thinking are the factors that will challenge the health and future of your organization. Embrace the thrive mentality and create true sustainability.