If your goal is to be sustainable and gain a sustainable competitive advantage with your company, then you need to create an open company culture which facilitates embedding sustainable thinking into employees’ daily routines. Why? Because employees are the linchpin of organisations’ strategic operational success and therefore determine whether sustainable ambitions succeed or fail.
By encouraging employees to take responsibilities, providing freedom, and stimulating their attitude towards undertaking sustainable projects, employees feel inspired and an action-based behaviour is developed. The emerging commitment does not only lead to voluntaristic sustainable actions and strategic alignment, but plays a crucial role in gaining and maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. However, creating the right company culture is closely linked to using the right communication techniques, leadership style, and providing the right incentives.
Research confirms that companies need to communicate their sustainable strategy extensively to all stakeholders, internally and externally. This not only builds trust in a company’s sustainable ventures and catalyses cultural change by reducing resistance against a new course, but increases employees’ knowledge and understanding regarding their role within the sustainability strategy. Using the right communication methods enables companies to appeal to employees’ personal values and thereby encourage employees to take initiative and create interest in sustainability strategy implementation. However, the success of a consistent sustainable message is dependent on the people mediating it, particularly their leadership style. In order to communicate effectively and influence staff and colleagues to act in favour of a sustainability strategy, leaders and superiors need to act as role models. By employing honest and authentic action-managers, who create strategy supporting environments, reinforce norms, and set expectations, companies are able to create a comprehensive and inspiring leadership style. This proactive leadership improves the morale among employees and hence boosts the sustainable attitude among employees.
These eight books help you to get the right mindset about sustainable business and to sell your sustainability strategy internally, which results in a more efficient as well as more successful sustainability strategy implementation. Taking the advice and applying the ideas given in these books will result in employees, who personally identify themselves with the values behind a sustainability strategy. Doing this right and authentically in turn lays the foundation for a sustainable competitive advantage.