Create Long-Term Success with a Firm Foundation of Effective and Sustainable Goalsetting

In the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous (VUCA) era, shifts in stakeholder needs are evolving so rapidly that they pose a risk to value creation and to the long-term success of businesses. Solutions to challenges like these may be found in developing a firm foundation for effective and sustainable goalsetting.Today, performing well against traditional business metrics such as financial profitability alone is not enough.Our world is changing fast. Sustainability has become an essential part of organisational strategy, and businesses are now expected to publicly account for the negative impacts of their activities on the environment, the economy, society, future generations, and other critical stakeholders.

Understanding Sustainability

So, what does sustainability really mean? Why is it essential for every business on the planet? And why are leaders hurrying to make it foundational to their company’s existence? Let’s take a look.We can define sustainability as the capacity to sustain critical resources and conditions for the benefit of key stakeholders, including the planet and future generations.There are three main parts to sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. The collapse of either of these elements would threaten our survival to such an extent that business performance would be the least of our worries. For organisations to thrive in this complex environment, they must consider the diverse needs of stakeholders beyond shareholders.

Sustainable Long-Term Goal Setting

Progressive leaders have made it a priority to adapt their business models and long-term plans to better navigate these volatile and complex times. These are some of the factors that must be considered by leaders and their teams in setting long-term goals as part of their organization’s DNA:

  • Evolved 21st century leaders think long-term, and the global consensus indicates there can be no long-term business success without consideration for key stakeholder needs.
  • Legacy and working towards becoming a good ancestor are key drivers. More leaders are asking themselves, “What am I doing to create a future for those who come after my generation?”
  • Because more organisations are adopting sustainable long-term goals as part of their moral and cultural compass, it’s become easier to partner and collaborate with likeminded thinkers, resulting in improved performance and valuable strategic partnerships.
  • The next generation of talent has arrived with a greater passion for making a meaningful contribution to the world and is using it as a guide for deciding whether they’d like to join an organisation or not. Businesses risk missing out on exceptional talent if they don’t adopt progressive strategies and values that promote sustainability.

Getting Started

So how do we create an impactful, sustainable goal-setting strategy and prepare our businesses for success in the process?

We can start by answering questions like these:

  • Will our goals create stakeholder value beyond the walls of our business? Will they align us with the fast-changing values of the world and ensure we’ve got access to the right markets?
  • Will we be able to attract the kind of talent required to perform in sustainability-centric business environments? And as a leader or leadership team, will our choices help to build a better future?

Setting sustainable goals creates long-term business wins.

Lindelwa Jabavu is an International Executive Coach at Change Partners, dedicated to partnering with leaders and their teams to improve performance and create shared value for critical stakeholders. Contact Lindelwa at

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