As I sat down to write this piece it struck me that if I was still working as a Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director, I would be knee deep in figures, imagery and words, leading our annual reporting process. And, as a retail brand, juggling that with the joys and challenges of welcoming over a million Christmas shoppers a day through our doors. This year however, I’m no longer doing my daily commute into London or my traditional national tour of our regional locations, having started to pursue a long-held ambition to work differently, combining my twin passions of communications and coaching with my belief in people-first transformational change and a more sustainable approach to business. Born in the Midlands, and spending most of my early career in and around the region, I wanted to be able to use my experience and knowledge back home to help tackle an issue close to my heart. A chance conversation with a former colleague led to an introduction to Anna Bright from SWM where we quickly realised that my skills could add to the excellent offering that SWM already provided to its members and clients. I am ridiculously excited to become part of the team at SWM as an Associate, bringing my experience in strategic communications, organisational change, sustainability narratives, reporting and stakeholder engagement. As well as executive coaching for leaders who are steering an organisation through its sustainability journey. But back to that reporting. It can be too easy when providing a performance update to miss the opportunity that reporting can bring. Done well, in addition to communicating essential information in a transparent way to shareholders or investors, it offers an invaluable opportunity to tell the story of your organisation, progress through the year and demonstrate how sustainability is woven throughout the business to a wider set of stakeholders from employees to clients. And this applies regardless of how far along your sustainability journey you are. As with any piece of communications, to be truly effective you need to ask yourself a few key questions:
- Who is and could be reading this?
- Why are they interested?
- What are they expecting?
- What do we need them to know and believe to further our organisation’s goals?
And for me the question we always asked ourselves – ‘what is our ambition for reporting this year?’ If you would like to arrange an informal chat to discuss your needs and the ways that I might be able to help, please contact me at email@example.com.