In the implement phase, you will make sure your action plan is set into action. In order to do so, you need to make sure commitments, resources, responsibilities are in place. You will explore how to bridge your circular action plan with existing strategies and management frameworks. Finally, you will organise the monitoring and evaluation of your plan.
Like any change management process in one organization, leadership and commitment from top management is key to ensure the success of the transition. A transition project that is not fully embraced by top management is very unlikely to succeed. Specific steps need to be implemented to ensure that everybody is fully on board and has the right resources to engage in the change.
The following checklist includes several points that need to be validated to ensure the success of the transition strategy. These aspects should be reviewed by the team and the top management of your organisation.
Shifting to circularity is not a one person’s job. It requires a set of complementary expertise that only a team of different staff carrying different functions can possess.
First, you may want to refer to your initial internal stakeholder map to define who needs to be involved to make this transition a success. Roles you might need for your project are: a project lead, content expert(s), for instance your employee in charge of waste management, implementers and/or technical experts, and advisors.
When reaching out to these people, make sure you set clear expectations around what you are asking of them. Remember they may be outside of your immediate team, so you will need to be clear on the commitment required.
Find time to get these people together. When you are in one place, discuss your roles. Questions you might ask are:
A large part of the success of your transition will depend on the fact that all your staff is convinced that this circular mindset is the way to go. Developing awareness and engagement around circular practices is key to facilitate the transition.
Awareness is arguably the most important stage of any change management methodology. The number one reason for resistance to organizational change is lack of awareness of why the change is being made. Why is this? Without clearly articulated information, it becomes an individual challenge to align oneself with the direction of the company. In this step, internal communication is essential. More than just sending an email, or having a staff meeting, it often involves frequent, detailed, timely and relevant communications that address what is changing, why change is being made, and the rewards and risks of not changing on an individual level.
Creating awareness on the personal level is the first step in achieving successful organizational change.
Your circular action plan should not exist in a vacuum. it should be integrated in your general strategy.
If you have an environmental management system in place (ISO14001/EMAS), you circular action plan should be integrated to your management documentation.
If you don’t have an environmental management system, this may be relevant to ask yourself if your circular strategy and action plan could be the first step to systematise further your environmental engagement. In Module 11, we go through labels and certifications and there you will learn more about EMAS!
You have now developed a circular vision, set up some objectives and a set of relevant circular actions. You have allocated resources, responsibilities among your staff and your start seeing progress as some of your actions start to unravel. The journey however is not completed. Monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of your journey.
Source: Unsplash.com (2021).
Step 1 Set up regular reviews, to make sure you are on the right track
Depending on the indicators you have developed, you may need to monitor your progress on a regular basis: monthly, every six months or once a year.
Step 2 Develop corrective measures for actions that are not on track
For actions that are not proving successful, take the time to evaluate the problem. What corrective measures could be implemented? Should you brainstorm new measures? List all the possible reasons/issues and agree on adaptations.
Step 3 Update your circular action plan on a yearly basis
On a yearly basis, it may be relevant to revisit all the pieces of the puzzle. Are we still aligned with the core vision developed in the beginning of the process? Are there new pressures, drivers that we should take into account to stay on track? What could we do to scale up some of the actions tested in the last year?