A guest post by Gregory Balestrero, Strategic Advisor, Leadership, Sustainability & Corporate Consciousness, International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL) and author of Organizational Survival.

Companies that integrate sustainability into their long-term strategic plans are making dramatic changes and realizing dramatic successes as a result. While building a road map to sustainability requires discipline and hard work, there are tools and techniques that can help you navigate the uncertainty of the future and mitigate risks that your enterprise may face.

Following are the 7 most important elements for you to remember during this journey:

  1. Sustainability leaders share the characteristics of long-term vision and vigilance. They continuously scan the horizon to better navigate their organizations through the uncertainty of the future.
  2. Scenario planning is one of the most successful methods of visualizing the future, managing through uncertainty, and developing organizational strategy. It is based on the creation of potential future states, which are created through a thorough strategic dialogue. It involves selecting two axes representing two significant implications for the future that are in tension with one another. The result is a matrix of four cells with different potential futures (scenarios).
  3. Adaptive foresight is a strategic competency that involves observing trends and measures that might shape the future. Observing these trends helps an organization anticipate changes early and adapt its plans to survive. The trends and measures are driven by, and based on, scenario planning.
  4. Risk management allows an organization to identify, assess, and mitigate risks that might affect the future success of a company. Risk management can be used at both the strategic level and the tactical level. It is one of the most constructive approaches to planning for uncertainties.
  5. Companies that are successful leaders in sustainability share many things in common. However, one of the most important characteristics is the ability to develop an integrated sustainability strategy.
  6. The SEEE™ model—social, economic, environmental, and ethical commitment—is valuable for sorting through strategic information to become a more sustainable company. When doing scenario planning, SEEE can be used to consider the implications of each future scenario, which will generate a set of potential risks. Then you can use the model to sort through the risks and begin to establish goals and objectives for planning.
  7. The most dangerous and organizationally fatal risk when building the capability for adaptive foresight is to do nothing—not to react to the information you have compiled, created, and reviewed. It is critical that you build the ability to spot and react to indicators that a potential future is unfolding. This includes a clear system of decision making for acting on the information.

Join Gregory Balestrero for a free IIL webinar on Thursday, February 13th to gain insight on how companies can increase value, enhance reputation and improve image and brand through an integrated approach to strategic change.

Register at http://sustainability.iil.com/events