Don’t try everything at once

You’ve decided to change your approach in business but how and where do you start? At the outset this can be quite daunting, there are so many aspects to consider, important areas you need to focus on. While we’re all used to plate spinning this can appear even more challenging, rushing around to stop the china crashing to the ground.

My advice – don’t try everything at once. The sustainability journey is a long one, which if properly conceived and executed will reap rewards. But these rewards won’t all be immediate, realised in one-quarter. This is not about introducing a new way of thinking, sitting back and watching it unfold. It’s time to move away from the fixation of achievements made each quarter. Your commitment is long-term and should be ongoing, identifying new opportunities to grow your business once others have been completed.

Take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. What does success mean to you? What’s the end result you’re striving for? What’s your agenda, what do you want to do? Break you plan into easy, manageable steps by reviewing the different impacts on your business. Is your company complying with all relevant environmental legislation? Do  your staff have the necessary skills for the business to make the most of a gap in the market? Where can you make your quick wins?

How are you going to get to the top of the mountain?

mountains_vichie81

Photo: vichie81

Writing a policy is your next step, demonstrating your  commitment to staff, suppliers and customers of your intentions. But this is just the first stage, it should  be accompanied by an action plan, detailing how the policy will be implemented. Your plan should include objectives that are achievable with measurable targets, the people responsible for overseeing different elements, set within a relevant timeframe.

These plans are no different to other documents put together to help develop the business. Regularly reviewed they mark progress on projects as well identify areas that need more work on. Most larger firms didn’t tackle everything at once when they first started, concentrating on one or two parts of the business, learning as they went along. And a lot of the work was carried out internally. Marks and Spencer, for example, worked on its policies for two years before it launched Plan A to the world.

Change is a scary prospect for many businesses and the people who work in them. But we’re seeing too many companies faltering or going to the wall because they’re carrying on as usual. It’s time to change and make a difference.

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