Necessary Capabilities Are in Short Supply Interestingly most of the

Necessary capabilities are in short supply

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Necessary Capabilities Are in Short Supply Interestingly, most of the respondents in the broader survey group expressed relatively limited concern about their companies having distinct gaps in technical or operational capabilities needed to address sustainability. We believe, however, that those executives might have underestimated the challenge. According to interviewees in the thought leader group, companies will need to develop and master a multitude of new capabilities and tools—and take a number of actions—if they are to execute their sustainability strategies successfully. We highlight a few of the critical capabilities below: Adopting a broad, systems-thinking approach to their business. Actions could range from deploying frameworks that allow for the modeling of systemwide effects of sustainability initiatives over the long term to forming more-effective partnerships and alliances and working in more concerted ways with stakeholders, regulators, and other influencers. Adding scenario-planning capabilities that allow the company effectively to build resilience to unpredictable future environments and external shocks, such as sharp swings in commodity prices. Developing tracking, measuring, and reporting capabilities, particularly as the bar for transparency continues to rise. Retooling R&D, product development, and sales and marketing to reimagine how products are designed, made, used, and recycled. Enhancing capabilities in innovating organizational models and management practices. This includes reorienting incentive and reward systems to promote long-term strategic and tactical thinking and multidisciplinary collaboration. It also includes knowing how and when to partner to achieve maximum advantage. Sustainability must be an integral part of strategy—not an add-on. Ramón Baeza senior partner and managing director and topic leader in the sustainable development sector, The Boston Consulting Group We have specific metrics because in a culture of execution, which is what GE is all about, the only way that ecomagination could survive is if we put some hard metrics around it. Steve Fludder vice president, ecomagination, GE MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 13
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In the near future, these capabilities and tools may represent table stakes for managers and organizations. Already, many best-in-class companies possess these skills. We need to educate people about systems thinking and help them understand how all of these activities are interdependent and affect each other. Jeffrey Hollender chief inspired protagonist and cofounder, Seventh Generation Anticipating what’s coming, such as new greenhouse-gas regulations, is vital. Key energy technologies need to move through the 4Ds: discover, develop, demonstrate, and deploy.
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  • Spring '14
  • Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Sloan Management Review, sustainability initiative, 01_BOSS_Sustainability Report_1-16.indd Sec2

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