Impact shows itself in differing ways. The longer you are in business, generally speaking we could say that the greater the impact it would produce. This is not always true, especially when we look at the hundreds of businesses that have closed after 20-30 plus years.

To create a lasting impact… learn sustainability

When we talk about sustainability and impact, it should go without saying that we are talking about positive impact. Certainly, when something or someone who has been in business for an extended period of time closes their doors there could be negative impacts that arise, however, we are looking at sustaining impact with the goal of staying “open for business.”

What Is Sustainability?

First off, let’s define what sustainability is in relation to business. When we hear the word sustainable these days most often the first thing that comes to mind is a ‘green’ type of business or endeavor. As it relates to business, there is a strong parallel between operating a business and being ‘green’ with it.

A good understanding of sustainability is an enterprise that mitigates any negative impact or creates a positive impact from either locally, nationally, or globally for an entity (economy, community, society, environment, etc.).   

Making Your Business Sustainable

Sustainability thrives in business when the business and its people understand three crucial elements: awareness, accountability, actions. These three elements when used together boast an almost unstoppable wave of motion that is hard to stop. This is what sustainability looks like. When the business is using these three elements together, it has no choice but to take sustainability and thrive in it, resulting in impact.

Awareness is the first elemental piece. When we become aware of something, we now have the responsibility to understand what is going on. There are examples everywhere of this. Let’s have some fun with this. You go to the dentist. You brush your teeth everyday… twice a day… and at the appointment you find out that you have a cavity. You are now aware. A choice is now needed to be made.

Accountability is the foundation of that choice. There really is no one to put it on other than yourself. Being accountable means that you are taking a vested interest in it. Accountability is the ability to give an account. You possess the means to explain, take responsibility, or justify what is happening.

In business, this becomes looking for ways to stay on top of the game. To innovate when needed or to investigate what is working or not working, and even to intermediate when required.

Actions become that intermediary event. Making action a part of your daily routine ensures that what needs to get done will get done. If something can’t be done, we slip into the accountability process to investigate and determine what changes need to be made which is awareness that leads to innovation.

The Circle Of Life

Each of these three elements are in continuous motion with each other. You notice that the arrow from awareness to accountability looks thicker than the other two – this was intentional.

Accountability without action hurts, however accountability with action results in awareness

One of the most important concepts to grasp in business is moving from awareness to accountability. This is where true impact is seen. Each of us can see things and others (clients, customers, advocates) often see them before we do. When we begin to accept what we see we step into authenticity mode. Accountability without action hurts, however accountability with action results in awareness.

Knowing is half the battle. Accepting that knowledge is the other half. Putting that knowledge into place is impact. Sustaining your circle will increase your impact.