16 Leadership Tips For Building A More Sustainable Business In 2022

Expert Panel® Forbes Councils Members

Just because a business is big doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. Many large enterprises rely on funding from outside sources to keep operating and have high employee turnover rates. Others might turn a profit but don’t have many repeat customers. 

There are several metrics to look at when considering what makes a business successful, and sustainability is one of them. Below, 16 professionals from Forbes Coaches Council share their No. 1 tips for executive leaders in large enterprises who want to build a more sustainable business in 2022. 

Featured members share leadership tips for building a more sustainable business in 2022.
Forbes Coaches Council members share leadership tips for building a more sustainable business in 2022. 

1. Define What ‘Sustainable’ Means To You

Different words mean different things to different people. When you know what “sustainable” means to your business—what it looks like in your day-to-day—you will have criteria to measure against, be able to focus and prioritize more effectively, and describe your vision and expectation of others so that you’re on the same page. – Jacqueline Hawk, Soar Coaching and Consulting

2. Share Your Perspective Publicly

Executive leaders must be willing to share their perspectives publicly. If you desire to grow without dependency on paid ads, publish content that displays your values and thoughts. Be willing to show your face in Instagram Stories, do live stream videos and share your opinion and approach on topics related to your industry. Increased revenue requires your expert authority on a public stage or social media. – Kamila Brown Washington, LevelUP Entrepreneurs, LLC (creator of Kreate a Profitable Charity)

3. Turn Your Agility Inward

Agility, or adaptability, is going to be key to sustainability. The concept certainly isn’t new, but it’s been focused primarily on sensing and reacting to changing external demands. In 2022, large enterprises, which are typically less nimble and more bureaucratic, will need to turn that agility inward to successfully adapt to the changing expectations of the workforce. – Renee McLeod, McLeod Leadership Performance Consulting, LLC

4. Build Plans From The Customer Out

To succeed in 2022, executive leaders need to recognize that the pandemic is changing customers’ business plans week to week. To build a more sustainable approach, I urge leaders to build their business plans from the customer out—there’s never a better time to review, segment and act on customer feedback from the past year. – Ben Levitan, Cedalion Partners

5. Tend To Your Own Nervous System

Tend to your own central nervous system so you can build psychological safety into your organizations. Research has shown psychological safety to be the top criteria for building effective teams. Yet as leaders, it is difficult to create the culture when we ourselves are feeling in “fight or flight” mode. We forget we are animals with a prefrontal cortex. – Tricia Bolender, Tricia Bolender Advisory LLC

6. Understand Employees’ Needs

Listen to your employees to understand their needs and aspirations. When you support their needs, they will support you. As the pandemic continues into 2022, be cognizant of the change that is necessary to accommodate employees; they bring whole-person issues to the workforce. Help them find work-life balance, a key to high productivity and positive morale. Monitor throughout and consider options. – Diane Hudson, Career Marketing Techniques, LLC

7. Leverage Your Team Intelligence

When fresh thinking and innovation are required, no one person can have all the answers and ideas. Empower your team and be open to their feedback. Adopt a coaching leadership style and be more curious. Ask open questions and listen to unleash the creative juices of your team. Embrace diversity of thinking and collaboration to build a sustainable business. – Linda McLoughlin, LeadershipWorks

8. Retain Your Quality Employees

My best tip to build a sustainable business in 2022 is to develop a plan to retain your quality employees while strategically hiring new team members to help you to build sustainable long-term practices. Focus your efforts on supporting internal training, creating streamlined processes and improving efficiency within your organization. Streamlined internal processes are the key to scalability. – Daphne Williams, Teacher Career Coach

9. Foster Authenticity And Curiosity

Be authentic. Foster a culture that’s infused with authenticity and curiosity. Today, you are rewarded and followed if you are original and warm, even empathic, and if you lead with a mindset that inspires others. It’s time to let go of the assumption that just because we are in a position of authority in the company, then we are “truly” leading. Leading is inspiring. Ask yourself the question: “Who am I inspiring?” – Nicola Albini, Nicola Albini Coaching

10. Cultivate B.R.A.V.E. Human Leaders

The most important asset you will ever have is your people. I believe in cultivating B.R.A.V.E. (belonging, resilience, authenticity, vulnerability, empathy) human leaders in order to create B.R.A.V.E. cultures. Nothing changes until behaviors change. Don’t be afraid to show up as human as you possibly can. When your team feels seen and listened to, they will want to show up with you. – Jen Croneberger, JLynne Consulting Group

11. Develop The Skills Of Your People

Committing to developing the skills of your people and offering opportunities to create new roles based on these newly acquired skills will lead to both a higher return on investment and sustainability for the longer term. Investing in growth opportunities, which includes management teams leading by example, offers loyalty to those employees dedicated to the organization’s success. – Reena Khullar Sharma, Agilis Executive Consulting

12. Go Deep Rather Than Wide

Focus on depth over aggressive expansion. Where can you most significantly add value in your market with current customers and clients? There continues to be significant uncertainty and languishing in most people’s daily routines. Focus on where you can build stability. – Billy Williams, Archegos

13. Manage Stakeholder Experiences Holistically

“Total experience” is the 2022 game changer. Large enterprises need a strategy that integrates customer experience, user experience and employee experience across multiple touch points. Managing these stakeholder experiences holistically will create happier, confident, satisfied and loyal employees, partners and customers. Everyone becomes an advocate, and that accelerates sustainable business growth. – Anne Phey, Leadership Coaching School

14. Look Into Behavioral Economics

Look into behavioral economics to learn how new, more sustainable habits are best implemented. It’s relatively easy to think of actions that’ll make your business more sustainable. The magic is in the implementation. At that stage, you’ll have to overcome the current process, procedures and behaviors to make actions acceptable and stick. The simplest, smallest changes perform best! – Barbara van Veen, FuturistBarbara.com

15. Create Self-Managing Teams

Adapt your management style to accommodate self-managing teams. The world we live in today is volatile, unpredictable and complex. The old, top-down management model doesn’t work, as it can’t move or evolve fast enough to capture tomorrow’s opportunities. Done right, self-managing teams will save you millions of dollars in management hours and create billions of dollars of untapped opportunities. – Linda Martin, Linda Martin Results

16. Lead With Humility

If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it is that things can change on a dime. Have regular check-ins about the progress you are making on strategic goals. Encourage people to raise their hands early when they encounter a setback. Praise transparency. Learn from your successes and your failures. – Craig Dowden, Craig Dowden & Associates