C10. Skills and abilities to drive sustainability change


Helping others to rise to the challenge

  • Helping them to learn the skills and develop the understanding they’ll need, to be part of the change and work well once it is underway.
  • Acting as a coach or facilitator, enabling others – alone and in teams – to find the confidence and courage to run with new ideas and new ways of doing things, and to find their own great response to the sustainable development challenge.
  • Building and leading a change team – helping the team to recognise itself as such, to gel, to perform well. Inspiring them and giving them direction.


Communicating well

  • Listening to and understanding others’ needs, concerns and contributions.
  • Getting the most from informal communication networks, to find out what’s really happening and what people really think, and to harness others’ ideas.
  • Understanding the options open to you when communicating with others, so you can choose an approach they are likely to be receptive to.


Using tools and approaches to analyse and communicate

  • Assessing the need for change, gathering evidence and finding the ‘business case’.
  • Understanding a range of tools and models to use when analysing and communicating the need for change and the desired future.
  • Being able to switch between a wide angle view and minute details.
  • Monitoring and evaluating change as it progresses, reviewing plans as a result.


Seeing things differently

  • Understanding sustainable development, both the big picture and what it means for your organisation (key issues, short term and long term benefits). Seeing the distinction between change for sustainable development, and ‘greening the status quo’.
  • Seeing existing things in a new way, reframing them.
  • Resisting the temptation to dismiss things that don’t fit the current pattern, or to force them into it.
  • Being able to understand the perspectives of different stakeholders, whilst still holding on to your own.


Flexibility and opportunism

  • Being able to hold several strands of work at once, and keep them all progressing.
  • Connecting ideas, putting insights and suggestions from different areas together, to come up with new ones.
  • Harnessing conflict by moving towards barriers and objections, rather than away from them.
  • Spotting and seizing opportunities to work with others to further your agenda alongside theirs.


Source: IEMA “Change Management for Sustainable Development”, 2006.