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Acting with responsibility in the project profession

By ILX Team | 2 December 2020

Every choice we make has an impact on our planet. This is as true in our personal lives as it is our professional lives, in particular for those of us in decision making roles. We are increasingly discovering not only that we can have real influence over matters of sustainability, ethics and the environment, but that we should use our position to make a positive impact. It is the responsibility of us all to leave the world better than we found it!

Reshaping what it is to act responsibly

Organisations in every industry and sector are looking to operate in a more responsible way. Corporate social responsibility now runs much deeper than simply doing good to look good. It is becoming ingrained into every aspect of business – trading, resources, employment, and more.

The way we do business impacts the future of our environment, society, and culture, and so it is paramount that we act with ethics. Making a positive impact on the world can be anything from improving our company’s labour policies, reducing our carbon footprint, community charity and giving initiatives, participating in fairtrade, right through to making socially conscious investments.

Business leaders are increasingly valuing the need for corporate strategies to incorporate sustainability and professional codes of ethics. And in that way, acting responsibly is being reshaped and reprioritised.

Developing and embedding more sustainable practices

As sustainability becomes a key objective, it often falls on project leaders to ‘make it happen’. It is becoming increasingly important for project managers to have a good understanding of the social, cultural and environmental factors of each project. Once established, they can work to make positive changes.

As with any change initiative, a strong foundation of knowledge is paramount. Project professionals should look to better their understanding of change management in order to successfully implement and embed more sustainable practices.

Our change management courses establish best practice frameworks for change. They cover everything from understanding the drivers of change and engaging stakeholders, through to defining your change vision and preparing people for change. As such, acting with responsibility should not fall on project leaders alone. In order to successfully establish more sustainable practices, a shared vision and team commitment is required.

When developing sustainability objectives for your project, you must first look at the challenges your project faces. These will of course be unique to the project. Making the time to take account of the sustainability of a project and assess its current standing will play a very important role in accomplishing more responsible working practices going forward.

As part of your change initiative, you will likely have to challenge traditional processes, modify the mindset of your team, and evolve or reimagine more than one area of your project. But the payoff will be worth it as you develop a superior mission of sustainability, ethics and responsibility, and progress towards positive, impactful change.

Seeking continual improvement

The saying goes that ‘it’s not about one person doing one big thing. It’s about a lot of people doing small things that really make the difference’. And so, seeking to act with responsibility in the project profession is less about overhauling the entire business and more about seeking to challenge your projects, and continually make improvements that will add up to a big difference.

As well as a clearer conscience, acting more responsibly has so much to offer businesses. It has the power to improve employee retention as staff become increasingly connected to the organisation’s motives, and proud to be a part of working towards a greater good. Similarly, acting with responsibility can attract talent, as professionals are impressed by companies with strong corporate missions that match their own standing or viewpoint.

Acting with responsibility helps to drive change and build trust too. Clients and customers feel they are supporting positive change and doing their part. In this way, whilst it should not be a core motive, acting with responsibility has the potential to be great for profit. People are increasingly choosing to work with and spend with companies that share their social, ethical and environmental values.

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