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There are unwritten rules in nature. The vast majority promote sustainability and equilibrium. The organisms that make up the ecosystems in which they live are engrained with knowledge that enables survival. Instinctually, many form groups to promote safety, strength, and their ability to foster the next generation. Nature not only gives to, but also takes from, all those who reside on Earth. Nothing is wasted as all organic material is recycled back into the ecosystem.
Early on, Webach presents “The Seven Tenets of a Strategy for Sustainability.
” These critical points are significant in that they alert the audience of drastic changes that will occur and opportunities that must capitalized on. We begin with the first tenet: “Natural Resources Will become Increasingly Scarce and Expensive.” When broken-down, every business requires functions within an ecosystem to operate. Fuel, water, and plants make up the natural resources that serve as a foundation for nearly every business. Decomposition, nutrient cycling, and weather patterns are especially crucial to industries such as agriculture and horticulture.
Webach makes a case that states, “Some of these systems are propped up and maintained through common government or trade-industry action, but most ecosystem services are in grave danger of being overwhelmed by people’s natural desire for an always-higher standard of living” (REFERENCE).
The second tenet states: “A Massive Demographic Change Is Occurring”. Humans are expanding with no end in sight. By the year 2040, it’s believed that an additional three billion people will walk on Earth (REFERENCE). With this growth, firms must recognize the diversity shifts that are, and will, take place and must ready themselves for radical changes within their respective industry.
“People Are the Most Important Renewable Resource” makes up the third tenet. High employee turnover results in unnecessary, and sometimes exorbitant, expenditures. Satisfaction cannot be disregarded. Employees are often the drivers of financial and operational growth. Firms must incentivize their dedicated workforce by offering perks such as benefits, freedom, and in some cases, autonomy.
Quarterly earnings have in a sense become the gold standard of financial stability. However, Webach contests that belief with the fourth tenet: “Cash Flow Matters More Than Quarterly Earnings.” Higher education business programs educate their students that the values of current and future cash flows determine a company’s valuation. Even though this is taught, quarterly earnings continue to dominate in the eyes of the analysts. Webach makes the case that the focus on quarterly earnings narrows the window of innovative development and can even lead companies to forego groundbreaking advances (REFERENCE). Claiming the spot of fifth is: “Every Organization’s Operating Environment Will Change as Dramatically in the Next Three to Five Years as It Has Changed in the Last Five.” Rapid changes can occur without notice or warning. Firms require flexibility to respond to changes which can come from the natural world or other industries. In order to maintain a sustainable track, these firms must adapt to their surroundings and be prepared to make shifts where necessary.
“A Chaotic External World Requires Internal Cohesion and Flexibility” looks deep into a firm’s core. The sixth tenet promotes the belief that the outside world must be embraced as it provides valuable feedback that would otherwise fall on deaf ears. For feedback to be acted upon, every party, from all the suppliers in the supply chain to the internal staff, must be engaged and aware. Maintaining flexibility within a firm requires internal engagement on all levels.
Webach references the seventh tenet throughout Strategy for Sustainability; it states: “Only the Truly Transparent Will Survive.” Webach notes, “Opacity is the enemy of sustainability” (REFERENCE). Accessible and engaging information must available to call upon and provide to both internal and external parties. Even the simplest of information can make or break a change within an organization. Within an organization, there must be a universal understanding of how a change will work and how performance will be enhanced as well as every individual’s part in its implementation.
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