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Reposted from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/corporate-sustainability-reporting-case-change-nadejda-loumbeva

Companies of all types and sizes are increasingly being asked to produce non-financial (sustainability, corporate social responsibility, or called else) reports. Despite that this is not yet a legal requirement, it will be so in the European Union starting 2018. According to a new EU Non Financial Reporting Directive, all companies of more than 500 employees will be required to disclose ‘relevant and useful’ information about environmental, social, employment, human rights, anti-corruption and Board-level diversity topics as of 2018 (for 2017). (Source: https://www.ab-reporting.com/blog/got-teeth-eu-non-financial-reporting-directive/)

And even if not yet a legal requirement to disclose non-financial information, investors are clearly more and more interested in the non-financial aspects of company performance being reported, rather than only company financial information. Investors know and increasingly favour non-financial reporting frameworks like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Integrated Reporting Framework (IRF). This is because non-financial information about sustainability and corporate social responsibility is a much stronger predictor of future performance whereas financial information, as much as it is important, captures only the present and communicates nothing about the future.

If companies want to be taken seriously, and inspire confidence and trust about their future direction, they need to invest time and resources in the preparation of non-financial, or the usually called corporate sustainability (so called henceforth) or corporate social responsibility reports.

However it may not always be obvious to stakeholders what the value of such reports and the activities that go with them may be. Are companies getting the full benefit of their efforts?

Because, there is one extra mile that companies of all kinds and sizes do not yet walk with regards to corporate sustainability reporting: the CHANGE mile.

In other words, corporate sustainability reports are not only there for investors to judge about the potential of the company to remain profitable and stay in business for the long-term. These reports are – also – not only there for company management to reflect on past performance and strategise about future direction.

Corporate sustainability reports are importantly also there to be leveraged as a change management tool, through internal communications, business process redesign and content marketing directed at internal and external stakeholders.

And, what makes corporate sustainability reports particularly attractive with regards to being used as a change management tool is that the additional investment needed to leverage them as tools for change is small compared to the investment required to create them.

Take, for example, the 2014/15 Sustainability Report of the Danish company BESTSELLER – ranked as the best CSR report for 2015 by CSR Reporting.

One reason why it is indeed an excellent report according to CSR Reporting is because it not only presents a range of non-financial information (such as employee engagement, customer satisfaction, etc), but it does so in a way that appeals to a wide range of stakeholders. And, by doing so, it gives the reader a clear sense that BESTSELLER is on a ‘journey of sustainability’, that is constant change and adaptation in order to remain relevant as a business, use resources sustainably and yet ensure profitability and growth.

In other words, when a business communicates non-financial information in an Authentic, Material and Impactful (AIM criteria used by CSR Reporting to select best reports for 2015) way, it actually positions the report into a tool that can be used to market the need for change, internally and externally.

This makes for the Corporate Sustainability report to reach to all stakeholders and creates pertinence and urgency for BESTSELLER to realise the full value of their business.

And yet, is this all? It is a good start, but no, it is not all. A nicely written report does not do the change trick, and it does not yet take companies on a journey of sustainability.

What companies need is a system, guided by a framework, that allows companies to drive sustainability change throughout the company by using information and KPIs defined in the Corporate Sustainability Report.

We (myself and Albor360) are developing a Corporate Sustainability Reporting change management framework to meet this need. I will explore this in future posts … Meanwhile, please stay tuned and feel free to contact me for more information.

 

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As I was flowing on the mat this morning, something my first yoga teacher had told me kept crawling in: ‘In yoga, you have to start with what you like’.

I only marginally understood him at the time. Today, 2.5 years later, his words have a lot more meaning.

2.5 years into my yoga journey and I am nowhere as near as where I could be and yet so much further away from where I started ))))). Triconasana (triangle pose) used to be one of my favourites but today I don’t have favourites anymore. Today it is so much more about ‘integration’ in my practice, about combining, opening, challenging, soothing, in various proportions depending on the day, the period and my state of being ))))

However, I would not be there had I not started with, looked forward to and rejoiced in what I ultimately liked the most then: my triconasana – triange pose.

http://yogalily.com/yoga-poses-twists-triangle-pose-trikonasana/

Triconasana Pose

Was I ready? No. Are we ever? No we aren’t. But then what made me do it? I took a decision to try, a decision out of hope, to try yoga out. Was I afraid? Probably, considering I had breathing issues, and wasn’t sure I can make it physically. But, I must have replaced fear with hope, and decided things can not really get much worse. (This is what we all ought to do when we are afraid. Recognise, then turn fear into hope, and do what made us afraid in the first place. … Because fear is human, and like all else, a source of energy to drive us or not forward.)

As I took this decision, I also trusted there were going to be things, people, situations along the way to help me on this journey, a journey I had no idea where it led. I had no idea what those things were going to be – I can only articulate them now – but I trusted, I had faith, I knew this CAN work, I wanted to try.

And this is precisely how it has been: there have been teachers, other practitioners, yoga mats that stick well so that you can hold on well onto a challenging pose, props, blocks, blankets, yoga studios, everything to help me get along the way.

And so this morning, as I was flowing on the mat, I somehow remembered all this. And I could also see a clear analogy between my yoga journey and the way we, or I try to go about life.

Because my yoga journey illustrates really well, with the deep mechanics of it, that the state of readiness doesn’t exist. Originally created by our brains to protect, and preserve us, ‘I am not ready’ often actually stops us not just from progressing, but also from living.

Perfection is procrastination, as I heard a communications expert say recently.

And so yes, or rather no, we are NEVER really ready for that new job, to start a new relationship, to fall in love again and make ourselves so vulnerable (but also live something beautiful), to move countries, etc. No, we are never really ready for that interview, or for the exam that’s coming, or for the workshop to facilitate tomorrow. If you think about it, you will see that probably most if not all of what you planned didn’t happen the way you planned. Or if it did, it was adding to, but not living.

Readiness is an illusion. What we do instead (apart from preparing) is making a choice between hope and fear and moving forward. (There is a third choice, prioritisation, not discussed here.)

If we choose hope, we are dancing. We might still fall but the light is on our side. We get up and try again. If we choose fear, we are frozen, and as much as this is also a kind of swap of energies and in that sense moving forward, we are making an active choice to stay away from the light (or enlightenment).

And, if we choose hope as I did on my yoga journey, we start with what we like and can do well )))) That is how we get into it.

Similarly, we start a new job by using our innate and learned strengths, and we use those to grow and learn more and more. We start a new relationship by (I guess …) trusting it will go well, by putting ourselves forward, by practicing the good we have known from previous relationships, by speaking openly about our fears, sometimes only to discover new amazing things about ourselves and our partner. … And this is how after a couple of years, we have a totally new experience in the bag, nothing like what we could have planned or thought could have happened.

And then as we do this – just like the props and the sticky mats -, there is plenty of helping hand along the way (colleagues, our partner, friends and family, to say the least). They are there if we only choose hope and try, try, try.
gypsy_moth

By Josephine Wall

So this is what my morning practice taught me this time around. It reaffirmed my deep conviction life is not possible without hope (like my name, Nadejda )))). That we are never really ready unless we take the plunge and try. That life on the mat is often life in real life.

… As I often wobble on the mat, I also struggle with these choices in real life. But, I am willing to try. And I think this makes all the difference.

Thank you. Namaste  🙂

My journey in the field of Knowledge Management has been an interesting one. Like many great things in life, it started by accident. Back in 2002, I was looking for an internship as part of completing my MSc in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics. I had a couple of different opportunities almost secured (i.e., a heart surgery virtual training and a defence airplane virtual training system optimisation). As it happens, none of these worked out, out of circumstances outside of my control. And so, for a few weeks, I was left with no internship option, which was causing me no little distress considering I was not sure what I wanted to do with my degree and how to build a career on it.

Then, one day, an independent consultant (Malcolm Ballantine) – later to become one of my greatest mentors, for which I will always be utterly grateful – came along with an – at the time – vague need for input by a local intergovernmental agency. He was working with the agency on defining and streamlining a concept called ‘Learning Networks’, that is geographically distributed communities of practice driven by the passion to share and learn on a topic of shared interest. These communities had all been given a virtual collaboration tool to use for communication and information sharing, to ease the learning and minimise the need to travel across the country.

Problem was, not all of these communities were using the tools they had been given, or if they were, the exchanges were shallow and non-substantial. It was not clear why that was. To make matters more confusing, some of these tools were highly functional and allowed for many different things to be done online. Others were much more basic. Users however seemed to prefer the more basic tools, and did not care much about the very functional ones. The agency wanted a student to look into this, and dissolve the mystery, both from an academic and practical perspective. This student fortunately ended up being me and this internship marked the beginning of my fascinating knowledge management work.

More than 10 years later, I realise what held true at the time of my internship still holds true today, despite the great advances in social media and collaboration tools we have seen in last years. And that is, the enthusiasm and commitment of the people, the extent and quality of trust among them, both led and enabled by appropriate facilitation, is what makes such communities – or Learning Networks – work. While sophisticated tools are always welcome, they can do very little to stimulate exchanges and learning within a group of people unless there is shared passion, common dream, commitment to a strong purpose and trust in fellow community members they will stand by you and get the job done.

More than 10 years later, however, I also realise some things have changed in how I see Knowledge Management as a discipline. Having worked across different organisations, globally, and different teams, one maxima seems to hold true more and more, that is: Knowledge Management approaches and methodologies are not separate from the actual work, and should be brought to help more ‘core’ management disciplines. In other words, let’s not separate Knowledge Management from Project Management, Communications, Change Management and Strategy Development. These are all closely intertwined areas. In absolutely all of these people come first, and are key. They are our driving agents, our force for change. How to motivate and engage them in the work, in ways more and/or less structured, is all it takes to have a change management, a stakeholder engagement, or any other initiative rolled out successfully.

Because the more we try to keep Knowledge Management separate, the more it will die. Let’s rather integrate knowledge sharing, community facilitation/participation, use of innovative tools and methods to engage and stimulate learning, and capturing and reflecting on good practices, into the full project/programme cycle. Otherwise I fear we are separating the heart from the head, and taking the life out of any bigger or smaller undertaking we do in and across our organisations, in our work, and differences we try to bring onto the balance sheet.

Let’s start with people and end with people. Let communities of practice be created as part of change programmes, good practices be captured and reflected upon as part of defining and executing strategic roadmaps, and virtual and face-to-face dialogue tools and communities be used as part of asking – and exchanging with – our stakeholders about what they think. Let it all be a process with different – constantly evolving – milestones in it, leading us forward, rather than a means to an end.

That is not only the one way for Knowledge Management to survive. It could also be the one way for other related disciplines, like Change Management, Planning, Project Management, and Communications, to survive as well.images


I know I have been silent for long – perhaps too long – and would like to apologize to my over 500 followers for my silence. Meanwhile, I would like to thank you all for following me. Thank you!!! I would not say I have been a proliferic blogger, but whatever I have posted, I have tried to make sure it is of good quality. I hope this has worked for YOU, my followers. A big thanks to you all, once and again. 🙂

I am currently going through a transition, and as part of that I am rethinking the focus of my blog and blog posts. As part of this, I would like to conduct a small experiement, and I would like you, those of you who follow me, to participate in it. Let us turn this blog into more of a multi-way communication!

By commenting on this blog post, would you please let me know the following:

– Why did you click on the ‘FOLLOW’ button on my blog? Why do you follow me? What resonates with you in my posts?

– What have you appreciated about my blog posts?

– What would you like to see more of in my posts?

– What have you not liked, what would you think I should improve?

I would LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. Please do let me know what you think by commenting on this blog post.

Can’t wait to hear from you. 🙂


Last night I went to a Starbucks coffee shop in Zurich. I went up to the top floor and sat down. I had had a long and busy day and needed some time with my own thoughts. And, then, I saw this badly anorexic girl. It took me sometime to figure out she was anorexic. It honestly felt like I was looking at a calm and quiet ghost sitting in the corner. I felt really eery.

I guess the girl was in the last stages of anorexia. So bad! You could see the skull through her skin. It was like she was both 16 and 80. I as so afraid like I have never been in my life, looking at her. I was both drawn to her, because the intensity of her element was so strong, and so afraid to look at her. She was in an element I could not understand, but I could feel its intensity. Felt like she is going down a tunnel from which there is no way back, and she knew it.

She was very weak, I think she was drinking her own saliva from a handkerchief. At some point she started crying. That was horrific to look at. Her face … was the mask of a ”dead person walking”, the alive mask of a dead body. I am so sorry. I felt so bad, so shaken, so moved by the whole thing. Nobody noticed her or seemed to notice her, everyone went about their conversations. If they did notice her crying, they pretended they did not see anything. Some people came to sit close to her, saw her, then moved away. Then at some point she asked about the hour, politely, and left. Very skinny, weak and all that.

Image

The whole experience deeply disturbed me. First, It felt like she wanted to feel like we all do but could not. This is why she was there, to try to feel what it feels like to be ”normal”. She did not eat or drink anything. I think she knew she looked bad, and she knew I was looking at her, but was calm and thoughtful. She blank very little.

I know that in anorexia at some point there is a point of no return, your body actually rejects food, your digestive system gets out of practice, and even if you do want to eat, and even enjoy it, it feels so bad for you, your body actively rejects food. Often these people are also among the brightest, most creative and most intelligent. Anorexia has many causes, it is linked to a predisposition in the brain, but then the showing of the condition is unlocked by so many other factors, just one of which is the idea that we as women (or men) have to be skinny in order to be beautiful. (All of these advertisement sorts of things we are being bombarded with.) This is just one factor though. There can be other factors, like family problems, and all that mixing together.

Should I have done something more, should I have talked to her? May be she would have not understood my English. May be I could have gone down to the Starbucks staff, and talked to them about this. I assume she would/should be in hospital.

I was watching her closely, and anyway, felt could not do much else. But if she had started harming herself, I would have done something, I was also watching all around me, all these nice people. Really beautiful, nice people. Engaged in conversations. Zurich is new to me, so I am naturally observing everything, absorbing every aspect of the Swiss German reality. I do not know it very well yet and do not speak the language. That makes me even more open to whatever is going on, beyond what words can express.

I remember as I was sitting there, with the girl sitting diagonally to me, I only wanted to leave. I did not though. Then I was suddenly overtaken by a feeling of such gratitude and joy. I think it was a defense mechanism. What I felt there is a realization of how lucky I am. Sitting there, with my worries and concerns, I understood I have the privilege to live a full life on our planet with all of its ups and downs, which are all these awesome opportunities to live fully and grow. I also felt, I thought the girl knew this, and she simply could not belong to this world.

I am so very sorry. I thought the least I could do is write about this here. So that people know. Not sure whether I should have done something differently. I tell you, I have never been so afraid. Really. Because I felt what she knew through her serious psychopathological condition, we, the rest of us, do not know, at all, do not want to, simply can not. Most of us would say we are just blessed with not being like ”that”. Not being like ”that” always carries with it its own drama, and worries and concerns, but it is, to us at least, delightfully alive.

I am not at all angry, or displeased with all of the wonderful people around her who went about their conversations. I was in some way one of them, I went about my emails, and tried to focus in on my own thoughts. But I just could not forget about this girl. And I just wanted to share my experience here with you.

Let’s remember that challenges and worries in life are opportunities to outgrow ourselves, to focus and take the right decisions. 🙂 I wish all of you who read this well. Let’s remember to embrace life as it is, change it as much as we can do and where we want to, live it with our full hearts, have patience where it takes, and have love and sympathy.

 

To close off, a wonderful video by the Piano Guys –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ_fkw5j-t0&list=RD02fz4MzJTeL0c


Somebody the Food and Agriculture Organization recently asked about the difference between moderation and facilitation of meetings, events and knowledge sharing networks and communities. She also asked when to opt for one and when for another. Here is what I responded to her:

The difference between moderation and facilitation is often either over-looked or unintentionally blurred despite being quite substantial.

Moderation:

In my view, moderation of meetings, events, networks and communities, focuses on keeping the information and communication flow clear and accessible to all who participate, at all times. In this sense, the moderator is at least in some ways an information manager. In an online environment, s/he monitors the communication flow, makes summaries and digests, approves participants’ requests and posts, and even maintains the online environment. The moderator is often quite invisible for those who participate in meetings, events and communities, but nevertheless indispensable!

Facilitation:

To the contrary, the facilitator of meetings, events, networks and communities is much more visible and active. S/he steers the communication flow and keeps it on track. In this way, facilitation focuses on including all participants in the discussion, even the ones who are less comfortable with speaking and contributing, ensuring all voices are heard and discussion is vibrant, interesting and useful to those who participate. The facilitator makes it clear to all when milestones as part of the meeting, event, or network/community activity, have been achieved and then moves on to the next milestone. Having good people skills, the facilitator enables a comfortable and inclusive environment of openness and trust for those who participate.

When to opt for moderation and when for facilitation? I would say you mostly need both in effective interplay. Understanding the differences though is important as each requires a different set of skills.


I just read an excellent post on the blog of Christian Kreutz entitled ”Web2forDev One Year After – a Critical Review”. So excellent that I could not resist from commenting:

Here is the post and comments:

http://www.crisscrossed.net/2008/09/09/web2fordev-one-year-after-%e2%80%93-a-critical-review/#comments


A discussion on how to demonstrate ROI on knoweldge management has just started on LinkedIn. The discussion is taking place within one of my LinkedIn groups, ”KM Experts”. You can find it here if you are also a member of ”KM Experts”:

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=20983&commentID=21237&goback=.hom

 

The discussion is interesting, and so is the topic. Here is what I’ve just posted:

 

”To really demonstrate ROI on KM, you would have to be strategic about KM and what is being achieved through the KM methods and tools one is bringing about in the organisation. Why KM? … Once the answer to this question is clear, you can design all sorts of measures and tools (such as the ones suggested by Celso and Patrick) through the results of which to link KM to financial performance. My argument is that the strategy/strategic vision behind KM is what will determine the metrics and more importantly what you will measure using them.

 

The problem with ROI is that it is a quantitative measure which means it is very specific. The nature of KM, though, does not lend itself to specific measures. You can not measure KM, per se, using quantitative measures. KM, by its nature, and for it to work, is broad, multiple, rich, and transformative – not just about sharing documents!! In this way, linking KM to ROI in a direct fashion, in order to evaluate the success of the KM programmes, is, according to me, impossible. You should not be trying to do this. It will divert your attention from what you should be looking at, really.

 

Still, what you can do is 1. measure KM in a qualitative way, 2. then second-measure some of the qualitative outputs in a quantitative way and link those to ROI. Off course, any ROI on KM estimate you would ever have would only be an indication, at the particular time, of how successful the KM is!! The real and true benefits of KM strategies and approaches span across at least a few years! If well done, these would be increasing with the advancement of the years. ”

 

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