Many of us are sitting here in limbo (with all due respect to the reggae management guru Jimmy Cliff). Senior management faces an uncertain and uncomfortable economic outlook. It’s not a recession, but it’s not really a recovery. It’s… limbo.
In response, many companies are trying to continue growing, but caution and even hesitation are growing too. The feeling is far from smooth. Companies aren’t taking their foot entirely off the accelerator. But the other foot is simultaneously starting to tap the brakes. Inside many companies, you can feel the friction, the drag, even some jerky starts-and-stops.
So what are EHS/Sustainability leaders supposed to do in this strategic limbo? While they are “…waiting for the tide to turn… waiting for the dice to roll”? Charging ahead seems risky. But sitting still – and perhaps becoming a sitting target for cost-cutters – is even riskier.
Some EHS/S leaders are taking advantage of this strategic pause to refresh their programs and teams. As I explained in a new article in the on-line EHS Journal, they’re taking five concrete steps:
- Look backward: catch up with the changes that came at you too quickly.
- Look forward: think about what’s coming.
- Look to the bottom line: think about how you help the company make money.
- Look inside your program: in light of the past transactions, future scenarios, and bottom-line impacts, what does your program need to do?
- Look at your people: all of these actions may give you new insight into what your group needs to do and, therefore, what you need out of your team.
A client used this 5-step approach yesterday to help define his strategic priorities. We produced a practical action plan that will help him break out of strategic limbo – and may yield important improvements in his EHS/S programs in the coming year.
For the full article, and more insight into what some companies are doing, check out “Is Your Strategy on Pause?”
[Opinions on this site are solely those of Scott Nadler and do not necessarily represent views of ERM, its partners or clients.]