The risk side of change is not changing!

Change can be daunting, and it is natural to feel hesitant when faced with the prospect of leaving behind familiar routines and patterns. However, there is a crucial aspect of change we often tend to overlook when discussing sustainability: the risk side of not changing. When debating the risks and opportunities in transitioning your business to become sustainable, the biggest risk often lies in staying stagnant and resisting change.

It is human nature to seek comfort and stability, to cling to what we know and to avoid the unknown. But in doing so when it comes to sustainability in your business, you increase the risk of going obsolete in the marketplace and miss out on opportunities for growth and progress. When we resist change, we run the risk of becoming complacent with our current success and can easily end up falling behind the expectations and standards of the marketplace and regulation.

There are countless examples of companies, organizations, and individuals who have suffered the consequences of failing to adapt to change. We all know of the infamous cases in the technology industry like Kodak and the digital camera. But the same thing happens at a smaller and less dramatic scale all across Europe every day. A company lose an important client or miss out on a contract because they didn’t fit the bill when it comes to their effort to make the world a better place.

If you are not on it, this will be you too in the not-too-distant future. Could be tomorrow, could be later this year. In most sectors at least within 1-2 years.

You are either part of the problem or part of the solution

In seconds of a potential client looking at your business they decide – are you part of the problem or part of the solution? It is not a fair judgement. Just a natural unconscious process of our old brain (the limbic system).

If you only do a little on sustainability or what you do is detached from the core business, it is obvious that you operate in the old-fashioned way that is coursing the environmental problems we are facing today.

If you on the other hand clearly are changing the way you do what you do and are on a mission to make the world a better place, then you are perceived as part of the solution.

The two boxes give you a very different starting point for your engagement and conversation with the potential new customer.

Take an honest look at your company from the outside. Will you be judged as part of the problem or part of the solution?

How to make your business a force for good

Every day people are exposed to the degradation of our climate and natural systems. They want solutions and products that they can buy knowing they themselves don’t make it all worse. The risk of NOT being able to give to them is bigger than the risk of the change. Especially if you follow a proven model for how to do it. I have created the “Impact Blueprint” which is such a proven model. It consists of five steps or principles to master. Here is a brief introduction to the model.

Mindset – What you see is what you get. Where focus goes, energy flows. There are many ways to express it, but your mindset determines what you see, what you take in, how you react and your ability to create solutions. I have created what I call the Five to Thrive – five components to a successful mindset as a response the typical approach I have seen again and again. They are:

  1. Begin with Business:Start sustainability initiatives by identifying the three to five biggest challenges in your company and among core customers. Let sustainability be the innovative solution to these problems, linking it directly to cost reduction, increased sales, customer loyalty, and talent attraction. It’s about creating a business with a built-in environmental impact, ensuring the integration of sustainability in strategic planning and problem-solving.

  2. Prioritize Positive Impact:Move beyond just reducing negative impacts. Aim for creating a positive impact with sustainability efforts. Transform the perspective from minimizing harm to enhancing and creating good, aligning the sustainability goals with business aspirations for growth, profit, and innovation. This approach aligns with the human desire for progress, fostering creativity, innovation, and a more compelling narrative for sustainability.

  3. Green is Affordable:Challenge the assumption that sustainable solutions are inevitably more expensive. Many “green” solutions create direct value e.g. through saving resources or prolonging the lifetime of products and equipment, so expect and demand that your sustainability efforts are cost-competitive or even cheaper from a total cost perspective. It raises the bar from an innovation point of view but is often possible and many times it will lead to high-value breakthroughs.

  4. Embrace a New Business mode:Strive to develop a new and better version of your products or services that contributes to making the world a better place. Understand sustainability as not just a project, but a fundamental way of thinking, developing, and doing business. Avoid surface-level green initiatives that risk accusations of greenwashing.

  5. Practice Openness and Collaboration:Be open, transparent, and collaborative in sustainability efforts. Abandon fears of criticism or being copied, and recognize the benefits of openness in attracting solutions, partnerships, and not least gaining credibility in your communication.

Mission – Great businesses make the world a better place! It’s that simple. The question is if you currently are on a mission to do just that or if your mission and vision need an upgrade. You need to create your strategically sound and great answer to the central question “Why is the world a better place because we exist?”. This step provides the context for choices and communication going forward.

Mapping – Once you know where you are heading you need a solid plan for how to get there. I recommend using the five circular economy disciplines as tools to spot all the opportunities you possibly can. Then filter them all based on their ability to contribute to solving some of the most pressing problems you and/or your customers are facing. Thus all initiatives will be high value on their own. When I work with clients it is quite common that this step alone generates more value than the total cost of the whole exercise. In the end, bring it all together in your roadmap for how to progress towards your mission.

Movement – Results are all that counts! So, this step kickstarts your implementation and thereby your start to create business value with embedded environmental impact. When I work with my clients we create a brief (two-pager) implementation plan that can be shared in the organization for accountability and make sure to take steps to avoid some of the common pitfalls of change processes. This is the first of the “earning-steps” as I call steps 4 and 5.

Magnify – Maximize the value of your effort by going out sharing and inspiring others with your specific results. This step tackle the elephant in the room; communicating about sustainability. Why you must do it today, why you already have what you need and some tools to help you get a crisp pitch that gives you clarity and the ability to spread your message effectively and with low risk so you start to harvest the credits and inspire others to go down the same path. 

It is a predictable model that delivers predictable results. If you like to get an introduction to this low-risk model for making sustainability profitable I invite you to join one of my free workshops on it.

Read more about the free workshop here:

Look up

The world is constantly evolving, and new technologies, trends, and challenges emerge all the time. Those who are resistant to change risk becoming irrelevant and left behind.

On the other hand, those who are willing to embrace change and take risks are often the ones who come out on top. Of course, change can be risky. It can be uncomfortable, and it may not always lead to success. But in many cases, the risk of not changing is far greater.

Do you find it risky to transition your business to become a force for good?

1)      Yes

2)      Quite risky

3)      Less risky than not doing it

4)      No