Interesting reader responses to my New Year’s resolutions

Readers responded with some interesting comments on the New Year’s resolutions I posted.  In addition to some great replies posted on-line, here are some of my favorite comments that came in via email:

3. If you think you’re leading, make sure someone’s following.

  • “Number 3 evokes a comical visual.” [from a risk management director at a consumer products company]:

4. Don’t confuse reporting with doing.

Several emails echoed the posted comment that   “too much time spent chasing data to report has led to putting off long term strategizing”, including these:

  • “I liked #4 a lot as reporting can take an inordinate amount of time!”[VP sustainability, financial firm]
  •  “I also wish that we didn’t have the loud beat of a CSR/Sustainability report  right now – I think we are really on the cusp of getting somewhere but it’s so frustrating to be obligated both internally and externally.” [AVP Corporate Social Responsibility, transportation]

9. Remember both value and values.

This one provoked both agreement and disagreement:

  • “I strongly support your suggestions for 2012 resolutions, particularly the focus on values driving value.” [VP corporate social responsibility, apparel]
  • “Value/value perspective [particularly interesting], as I do believe that to be the truth – when I have chased one without the other – I have not succeeded.” [CEO, marketing]
  • “The one I’m not in favor of is #9 …. I’m a big proponent of sticking to a core set of values that drives all decisions and actions.  Your values need to be your ‘rudder’ and there will be times that it results in sacrificing value or $.  I don’t see value and values as equals.  The old adage – stick to your values carries a lot of weigh in my book.” [VP HSE, manufacturing]

10. Do better on your “work-work balance”.

  • “ No 10 is very amusing, through I have a few friends who should regret not spending more time in the office.” [Strategy director, sustainability events]
  • “I can certainly do a better job prioritizing work/life balance and I should not be sending emails at this late hour!” [VP corporate social responsibility, apparel]

The biggest challenge came from Wayne Henderson, in a posted comment: “We’ll look for a six month update on progress! Let’s see where we get to in June.”


New Year’s resolutions for sustainability and strategy professionals

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.