left-pointing arrow

Using small moves to reinvigorate progress on climate goals

September 8, 2023
Anna Adlard
Anna Adlard

I’ll just say it. Having been in the trenches for a while now with our clients: corporate climate action is hard work. 

In spite of all the exciting stories and flashy PR, the inside work is tough and complex. There are many reasons for that, but right now I want to talk about how we can move through the complexity. Because the work is worthy, urgent and important. And we need to keep moving. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking (and observing) that it’s better to start small. 

For sure, we need the big, ambitious corporate goals (the time bound ones with a real target attached). These big goals help to motivate and signal. But in moving toward that goal, it’s easy for teams to get overwhelmed, stuck, caught in a swirl.


So, here’s my latest thinking: Go big, but start small. 

For instance: 

Smaller teams.  

Corporate climate action is cross-functional work, but that doesn’t mean we need everyone in the everyday. Get your sponsors, know your stakeholders, but then delegate a small team that’s empowered to get things done. 

Making teams smaller has a few benefits. The basic math is in our favor. Decision-making is easier. Role clarity is easier. Accountability is more obvious. And the bonus is that it’s easier to build relationships and trust in a smaller group. 

Smaller timeframes. 

The path to a 2030 climate goal is long, windy and, honestly, mostly unknown. We’ve never been here before. There’s no playbook. There’s a lot of uncertainty. 

So, you need to break it down into smaller goals, based on what you know now, and what you can today. We use a lightweight version of agile with our clients. Agile is well-made for making progress in ambiguous conditions. It gives us permission to learn as we go. We build up our capacity and understanding as we move forward. And we can see our progress, which in itself, is really motivating to keep going. 

Smaller moves. 

This is not the time for 3-year initiatives, time-intensive custom builds, and 6 months of Discovery. We don’t have time to waste. The current moment calls for action and urgency. 

So, let’s make smaller moves. Let’s prototype and release. Let’s get to an MVP and call it good enough. Let’s run a lot of fast experiments, so we can burn and learn and improve. 

Figure out how to make your initiative smaller. Instead of what you want to do this year, what can you do in the next 30 days? 

Let’s make it smaller, so we can act faster.

Time matters more than ever.


right-pointing arrow
right-pointing arrow
right-pointing arrow