Day 18: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 
How to Create a Sustainability Approach That Endures
featuring Erin Meezan, Interface Solutions

Erin opened up the webinar by making it very clear that “A company IS its people.” She used the webinar to demonstrate how Interface lives this statement, crediting their conscious culture – built around people and sustainability – for making their incredible transition to a company that has gone beyond zero with its environmental impact. She presented a series of 9 lessons learned through this process that can be very useful to leaders

Here are the key takeaways:

Sustainability is not a business strategy; it’s about changing culture and changing the way people feel and act.

Interface did something pretty unusual – they created a culture focused on sustainability within a manufacturing company. And they created a team of people who feel happy and fulfilled by what they do, because they’re connecting to something larger than just making carpet tiles.

Small simple actions add up to a much greater whole. 

Erin shares 9 critical lessons that Interface learned on their journey to zero negative impact, encouraging leaders to open up to the idea that it’s okay to start “wherever you are” on this journey as this can create a powerful ripple effect in your company and others.

Here is a list of the 9 lessons from “Lessons from the Future: The Interface guide to changing your business to change the world”:

  1. Shoot for the moon.
    The more ambitious and aspirational your mission, the greater its power. Be unreasonable. Don’t settle for incremental goals. If you want to transform something, set a goal that you don’t know how to achieve yet.

  2. A change in mindset can change everything.
    Embracing the need for change with heart and mind is essential. From the outset, be open and willing to see that there is always the possibility for a different approach and a better way.

  3. Every vision needs a plan.
    To make a vision a reality, you need a mission, a plan, goals and a way to measure success. It’s impossible to reach a breakthrough ambition if you don’t have a credible action plan.

  4. Take a circular approach.
    You can make progress building a circular system only so far on your own. To change your entire system, you have to engage your whole value chain and beyond to create a truly circular model.

  5. To change everything, you need everyone.
    It’s one thing to have a mission – but making progress means getting every single one of your people connected. This means inspiring everyone to feel personally invested in playing their part.

  6. A wrong turn can lead to the right result.
    Success is never a linear process. Embrace failures as necessary steps on the path to progress. Every pioneer in history has had to stay the course, learn from mistakes and keep going when things go wrong, as they often will.

  7. Be transparent.
    Be so transparent it feels uncomfortable. Tell the whole story and share “whole company metrics”. Pilot and push new disclosure and transparency approaches that can scale to your industry and beyond.

  8. Start a ripple, create a wave.
    To have a real impact on the world, you need to influence others to follow your lead and help them lead the way for others. That’s how a ripple effect can take on a life of its own, increasing positive impacts to a scale well beyond what you could ever achieve alone.

  9. Raise the bar.
    Know when you need a new challenge, when you need to change the target. Challenge yourself to embrace a transformational next step. Create the processes and dialogues internally and externally to help you see the future.