Without landmarks the sustainability journey can be tough
Recently I took part in a challenge to run a marathon distance leg in a world record relay attempt around Britain. I knew my goal and the proposed route but, after an unexpected veering off-direction, found the experience psychologically much harder then anticipated. It wasn’t through lack of planning, it was just circumstance. However, it reiterated the need for clear visible landmarks: to break up the goal into to segments assuring my mind and legs, I was on track.
When running sustainability programmes this same principle applies. The vision may be clear but, in order to feedback progress to others and yourself, smaller milestones are needed to reflect the importance of each step achieved. Quite often sustainability teams try to stretch the goal to impress, thus missing out the essential steps that contributed to the objective. Maybe they’re consciously ignoring the milestones, wrongly feeling them to be insufficient for recognition.
Recognise important milestones
Take for example launching simple recycling facilities in an office. The goal could be to achieve zero waste, or increased recycling quantity/quality. What steps would you need to overcome to do this? A key step may be to achieve colleague support for removing personal waste bins or relocating general waste further away. Another step would be them to acknowledge the benefit the projects bring them and their employer. If either of these milestones fails the whole programme fails so they need to be recognised as important steps.
Keeping up energy levels
All journeys can be tough and behaviour change towards the environmental matters can feel challenging and frustrating. Maintaining momentum, focus and positivity arises from your personal feeling of steady accomplishment. So when considering your next environmental project, sit back and consider the many steps you need to take and make sure you recognise each one and maybe praise yourself too.
Published on 28th May at www.haydnyoung.com