The mantra of business today is: ‘If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed’. The problem that we are facing is not the decision to measure or not to measure, since measurement is a fundamental aspect of business management. We have to rethink our understanding of what measurement is, and how it relates to…

Sometimes when confronted with new ideas we are tempted to use familiar and comfortable paradigms to make sense of things. This is human instinct and the way we have learned to survive. It is also true that innovation and learning has helped our species evolve and thrive. These two, often conflicting, modes of operating are ever more stark in business.

In our sustainability practice at Expressworks we’ve noticed that sustainability is one of those topics that can cause profound consternation because of the complexity and business implications for successful transformation from survival mode to innovation culture. In the review of the book “Profit Beyond Measure” by Johnson and Bröms, the question at hand is about sustainability metrics. We are all familiar with the notion of “if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.”

“Holonomic organisations have a true ecosystem, where all of the parts belong together, helping to sustain each other. This can only be achieved with a common purpose and a sense of human values that comprehend the need for cooperation as well as competition.”

Why Culture Change When It Comes to Sustainability?

Creating sustainability metrics requires new ways of thinking. I especially like the discussion around the difference between “Mechanistic Business Thinking” and ”Holonomic Business Thinking.” The first is business thinking as usual. The second is one that incorporates “new mental models inspired by living systems.” Any time an organization changes the mental models that make up its cultural assumptions change management is needed. Why? Because the shift from the familiar and tried and truisms of “business as usual” to the adoption of new ways of thinking about and doing business is fraught with resistance. Add volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) to the mix and you find a perfect storm from those who are impacted by this change.

Please contact us if your organization needs help in navigating culture change or creating sustainability metrics.

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