Across business types and industry sectors, sustainability initiatives have moved to the top of many leaders’ agendas. The topic continues to grow both more urgent and expansive. Within the sustainability rubric now fall efforts like reducing energy and resource consumption, meeting circular economy mandates, and reworking supply chains to address environmental and fair-trade principles.
The criticality and difficulty of sustainability initiatives
Demands in these arenas will only continue to intensify. These efforts are increasingly a priority for C-level executives, board members, shareholders, consumers, and regulators. And the stakes are high: When teams succeed with these efforts, stakeholders inside and outside the organization, not to mention future generations and the planet more broadly, stand to benefit.
While these sustainability imperatives are vital, many teams are struggling with execution. For too many teams, productivity continues to be stifled by manual chores, tedious status meetings, cumbersome roll-up reports, inefficient processes, and limited coordination across different stakeholder groups.
The either/or dynamic of legacy work approaches
When it comes to how work is managed in an enterprise, teams have essentially been left with two choices:
- Registered. Some initiatives are registered. This means there’s a formal process associated with getting work done, including authorizing plans, establishing baselines, gaining approval, and monitoring and reporting on progress.
- Unregistered. This category of work doesn’t follow any formally defined process—people just focus on getting things done. Teams use spreadsheets, slides, emails, post-it notes, and other manual tools to track work and collaborate.
Registered work is often employed for established work that falls within a particular domain. For example, a software development organization may have a formal, standardized process for how new products are developed. For most sustainability initiatives, however, no such registered options exist. Traditional domain-specific workflows aren’t applicable to many sustainability initiatives, which often require the participation of a number of different teams, departments, vendors, and more.
Plus, even if formal registered processes were established for sustainability initiatives, it would often introduce far too much overhead. This is especially true for smaller, ad hoc efforts. In these cases, the effort associated with managing registered activities may represent a bigger undertaking than the project itself.
The problem is that there traditionally haven’t been any enterprise tools for managing unregistered work. Simply winging it or building one-off spreadsheets or cloud-based checklists for each project means there’s disjointed efforts, silos, limited tracking, and many other negative implications. Ultimately, teams can’t quickly and efficiently deliver on their sustainability mandates.
A better alternative: Collaborative work management
The good news is that there is an alternative to the either/or dilemma many teams have been confronting. Collaborative work management offers a better way, giving teams the flexibility to work how they want, while providing capabilities that help maximize efficiency and productivity.
Teams simply create to-do lists, and, as initiatives grow, they can seamlessly share, automate, and report on these activities.
Anyone can start small by, say, identifying the first three steps of an effort. As the effort progresses, the to-do list is easily expanded to include new tasks and teams. The beauty of this approach is that when you start, you don’t have to know how big an effort will ultimately be, or how many people will be involved.
Collaborative work management enables you to:
- Share to-do lists with people both inside and outside the organization, without any cumbersome onboarding or permission granting.
- Alert stakeholders when tasks are completed, assigned, or delayed.
- Automate manual tasks so teams can focus on delivering customer value.
With collaborative work management, you can take charge of your sustainability initiatives, ensuring they deliver maximum benefits for the business, stakeholders, and the environment.
To learn more about collaborative work management and how it can fuel the success of your sustainability initiatives, see our e-book, “Managing Sustainability with Clarity.”
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