As a sustainability or strategy professional, you probably have too many commitments for 2012 already. But in case you’re in the market for a few more, here are ten suggested New Year’s resolutions for sustainability and strategy professionals:
1. Think about the long term – and act in the short term with that long-term perspective in mind.
2. Remember the “economics” leg of the sustainability stool – and not just your own economics. All our progress in social and environmental issues won’t be good enough, if we get the economics wrong. Dying communities, disappearing jobs and bankrupt suppliers don’t add up to a sustainable future.
3. If you think you’re leading, make sure someone’s following. Leaders with no followers aren’t leading, they’re just wandering.
4. Don’t confuse reporting with doing. Transparency is important, but results are more important.
5. Think about strategy before it’s time. If you wait until it’s time, it’s too late.
6. Don’t confuse journalism with history. What happened in the last 24 hours may be fascinating, but a year from now it may be the answer to a trivia question.
7. Don’t confuse history with planning. It’s nice to have data, but by definition data is backward-looking. Driving at the speed business moves at now, it’s important to look through the windshield more than at the rear view mirror.
8. Review your plans honestly. Before you ask others to sign up, ask yourself: Is my proposal big enough to matter, small enough to be accomplished, and if we do it – will it really make a difference?
9. Remember both value and values. Any time you’re thinking about only one, you’re destined to fail one way or the other.
10. Do better on your “work-work balance”. Yes, that was supposed to be “work-life” or “work-family”. A colleague recently caught himself in that genuine Freudian slip. It’s a handy reminder for 2012. My children are now in their late twenties. I don’t hear anyone my age saying: “Darn, I wish I’d spent one more Saturday at the office” (or “one more family dinner on my BlackBerry”).
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, more strategic and sustainable 2012.