Real Leaders

Is Your Operation Future-Friendly? 

Follow these 4 steps to become a future friendly purposeful business that will last.

By Desirée Bombenon

Incorporating purpose and sustainability into a business operation are key components to acquiring and retaining talent as well as securing partnerships. As recently as 10 years ago, we would not have been highlighting this as a major strategic move for a company — but the shift has happened. 

We see the world differently, and only organizations that can adapt to the changing conditions and adopt the definition of future-friendly will be relevant, not because of their product or service, but because of how they operate. 

Here’s how to start the road to a purposeful and sustainable business.

1 Leadership Acceptance

You cannot have team buy-in without authentic leadership acceptance for the shift in how your business will operate. Commitments of time, energy, and thoughtfulness must go into re-imagining a different business model, and leadership is key to execution.

2 A Guiding Coalition

People will follow other people whom they have a deep respect and trust for. Develop a team of influencers who can carry the message and create excitement in all divisions of the company. When the purpose and mission are articulated by a trusted peer, they are more likely to be accepted and supported by the team.

3 Sustainability as a Strategy

When developing your company strategy, sustainable practices should be part of the blueprint. Companies normally review or revamp their strategy every three years — or fewer if working with sprint strategies. When planning the next few years, build in a budget and program for sustainability. Whether it is digitization or a recycling program, it doesn’t need to have a huge cost. Some companies have implemented roles like chief sustainability officer or sustainability champion. 

4 Measurable Impact

There is nothing more powerful than seeing the outcomes of your work. The same goes for sustainable practices. There are many ways to start measuring impact. Once you see the results and difference you are making not only in your company but with the community, share that information with your team and customers. These meaningful practices tie back into your overall corporate social responsibility and the values and beliefs by which your organization operates. 

In addition, there are many support systems and models out there. Becoming a Certified B Corporation is one way to start the process. Other steps forward include setting targets for measurable environmental, social, and governance impact and focusing on outcomes, no matter how small. 

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) also has a multitude of resources and supports to help businesses start the process of sustainable practices. The UNGC 10 Principles provide a checklist focused on four pillars: human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. 

Whatever you’re considering doing to become purposeful and sustainable, start now. Your business’s future depends on it. 

Desirée Bombenon is CEO and chief disruption officer of SureCall and a diversity board council member for the Women’s Executive Network. She has over 30 years of business operational experience.

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