Whether it's within your work environment or in your life at home or the local community, being an effective change agent requires careful thought and agility. Following a few simple steps can help to deliver the change you're looking for.
To start with, it's vital that you demonstrate you know the business or situation you want to change. Only by establishing a track record of making good, informed decisions and being committed to the business or community can you expect others to have confidence in you. You can do this by connecting your ideas to the business or community strategy. When sustainability is viewed as something that helps take this forward, you'll find a lot more attention is paid to it.
Timing is everything. You need to know when to bring ideas forward and, equally, when to wait. Seize the moment when public opinion is shifting or when your business is most likely to be receptive. In order to hone your skills, keep abreast of what's going on in the world around you, in your business sector and the community. Find out who the thought leaders are and follow them!
Change can be daunting, so don't try to achieve everything at once. Instead, break things down into manageable chunks. When people can see the purpose and path to delivering change, and feel that it's something that they can do and benefit from, they'll engage with greater enthusiasm. Make change to a more sustainable future a fun process, a stepwise journey that sets out a challenge that's achievable, which empowers others to play their part.
Challenge yourself and the way you think, while being prepared to challenge the views of others who may disagree with you. It's certainly far from easy, but if you're able to harness your passion while keeping your emotions in check, people will respect and listen to you. However, it's crucial that you keep sustainability from being perceived as a pet project. Open yourself to having your own views questioned.
You can't play it safe - sustainability requires changes that will disrupt, asking people to fundamentally change the way they've been navigating their professional and personal lives and habits for years. however, you can use behavioural nudges - personal, simple and small changes that require minimal effort to be adopted. Make sustainability personal - what does it mean for them, their job, their community.
Believe that you have the capability to bring people with you, as these steps have the potential to enable significant change. As Socrates said: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new". So, find your vision - today is the day to make it happen.