Sustainability Sounding Board

Change: why is it so hard if it’s the right thing to do?

Many sustainability practitioners are leading changes whilst:

  • Being very busy! Not just internally focused on setting and achieving their company’s sustainability goals, but also responding alongside their fellow workers to the impact of recent disasters.
  • Setting scientifically informed targets and engaging people internally and externally, to achieve those targets
  • Managing their motivation levels as they continue to put their heart into their work and yet see reports such as the latest International Energy Agency (IEA 2022) report shares that global carbon emissions rebounded to their highest level in history in 2021 (up 6% from 2020).

We know that things must change and that the change is the right thing to do – but why is it so hard?

I’ve been researching this topic since 2003, and in a (very brief) summary of my learnings, before we can begin to make changes, let’s reconsider:

What we think change is.

How we think change happens.

This sounds simple enough, but often our traditional ways of thinking about change are deeply ingrained, and deeply unhelpful. There is a tendency to believe that:

  • Change is a tangible thing that can be project-managed, and delivered on time and on budget.
  • Telling will enable change. Those in authority have the most power to communicate necessary changes.
  • Change is always resisted.

In reality, these three points demonstrate a myth that holds us back from enabling and liberating real change. Change is an entirely natural and inherent characteristic of any living system – including human beings! 

Changing how we think about change means reconsidering how we lead change, and how we manage people day-to-day.

Sustainability Sounding Board is one step to leading change more effectively, with a small budget, and less effort.

I will walk alongside you as a sustainability practitioner with expertise in the human dimension – adding an important ingredient to your work.

Topics will include:

  • Identifying your key leadership challenge and the internal patterns that may derail you
  • Managing your own energy and that of others around you to improve creativity and innovation
  • Clarifying your vision and indicators of success to rejuvenate and expand your leadership
  • How to gauge and develop the team around you to amplify energy throughout the organisation
  • Engaging people internally and externally to adapt their perspectives so that their day-to-day work reflects sustainability challenges