Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend an inspirational workshop run by Unlocking Potential on People, Planet and Profit. With some fascinating speakers and great discussion, there was a huge amount to process. Much of the discussion during the day was on how to successfully effect and embed change, with the focus on sustainability and the circular economy.
For me, the pivotal point of the event was understanding what role I now play in the change process. Simon Phillips from The Change Maker Group spoke about the components of successful teams for change.
For change to happen, you need a team of people with a variety of skills, from those with the ideas, the Game Changers, to the Strategists who can make sense of the ideas, the Implementers who can put the strategy in place and those who can improve and perfect, the Polishers. In addition, this team needs the conductor with the oversight of the whole process, keeping it on track and on mission – the Playmaker.
When I started out in sustainability, I ran my own business and was driven by the need to do something about the waste of energy, water and resources. My motivation was partly ethical, but also financial – I could see the benefits of operating more sustainably in my balance sheets and profits. In addition, my customers liked what we were doing which was great for repeat business.
My thorough knowledge of the business enabled me to identify opportunities and come up with ideas for change. With my team, we worked out how best to implement them and improve the business. I played the role of Game Changer.
From Gamechanger to Strategist and Implementer
I moved back into employment, where my responsibility was to facilitate behaviour change. Whilst this was challenging as I often didn’t always have overall influence in the initiatives being introduced, it did enable me to gain greater understanding on how to encourage and support people to adopt new behaviours. I had moved from being the Game Changer to the Strategist and Implementer – I had to find ways of making the ideas and opportunities work.
Behaviour change is often a long journey with lots of twists and turns along the way, but constant support and encouragement can lead to alterations which benefit both the organisation and individual. It requires patience and resilience to overcome resistance and the comfort of reverting to old habits.
Since moving to my role as Sustainability and Resilience Consultant, I have struggled to identify what my role should be, but having listened to the talks yesterday, and worked through some processes, I feel that my role now is to be the Playmaker, the conductor of events. I don’t claim to be the expert on the individual business, but I am the person that lights the fire and provides the incentive for change. I will identify the parameters and goals and can keep the team on track and focussed as well as provide an impartial review of progress to date and agree when it’s time to pause, reflect and celebrate.
With sustainability such a hot topic at the moment, and the benefits of embedding sustainable practices in terms of economics and reputation becoming more widely accepted, now is the perfect time to review and reflect on your business.