2017 SCC Conference

Working Lunch Interest Group Summary

“Sustainability as Change Management”

Becki Hack facilitated the discussion group on “Sustainability as Change Management.”  Participants’ interest areas fell into several categories: Stakeholder engagement/buy-in, communications, incorporating “change” in the classroom experience, the difference between change leadership and change management, engaging students beyond the classroom to connect curriculum to learning outside the class, and changing the “growth” paradigm. We did not have time to explore the latter two topics, but we discussed the rest within Green Whys’ key tenets of sustainability change leadership, which requires systems thinking, leadership (21st century leadership skills and sustainability generalist knowledge), and management (the ability to implement using change management and project management methodology and tools):

Systems Thinking
— Understand the (Whole) Elephant Of Sustainability Change Leadership
— Use System Levers

— Sustainability Changes the Paradigm
— Design with the End in Mind

— 21st Century Leadership is for All
— Ideal Change is Top-Down / Bottom-Up

Change Management & Project Management
— Plan for Both People and Technical Change
— Know Who You Need to Succeed
— Create a Change Leader Coalition from Inception
— Focus on “The Energy” to Accelerate Change

The message?

We (faculty and students as change agents) need both management and leadership competencies (embedded in systems thinking) to become the sustainability change we wish to see in the world (see Venn Diagram of Sustainability Change Leadership).

Management: 66-75% of change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives, so we must provide better skills and abilities to “DO THINGS RIGHT.”

Leadership: But even the best management skills will not help us achieve our sustainability change vision if we do not have the skills and abilities to “DO THE RIGHT THING.”

All of this, of course, incorporates the five competencies we continued to revisit in conference discussions:

— Systems Thinking / understanding of interconnectedness
— Long-term, foresighted reasoning and strategizing
— Group collaboration
— Action-orientation and change agent skills (Wiek; Redman, 2013)
— Creativity and Imagination