When I first Googled the term “corporate climate change,” I read articles on corporations looking to lower carbon emissions or manage carbon footprints, business strategies for climate change, and climate change progress or lack thereof because of the Paris Accord. These efforts got me thinking about corporate climate change and the various elements that likely impact this form of climate change within corporations.

Consequently, for a recent keynote address, I selected the topic of corporate climate change. My speech focused on the changes that are happening or will happen over the next few years within a company.

The elements of corporate climate change at a company can be identified as:  

  • Sales
  • Training
  • Recruiting
  • Technology
  • Leadership

Over the years I have worked with dozens of companies, many of which had their own elements of what I am now calling “corporate climate change.” As I reflect on my work and experience with various companies, I can visualize some of the elements of this change.  

Furthermore, this got me pondering about the leaders of these companies that I have coached or consulted with on topics such as strategic planning, team alignment or organizational design for a potential reorganization. The leaders and teams who had strong connections with their employees or associates seemed to identify these elements of corporate climate change sooner than later. Thus, they were able to flex their companies to meet the challenges and impact on business.

On the other hand, leaders and teams who only discovered these elements after some aspects of their business had already been impacted end up reacting, instead of anticipating the impact of corporate climate change on their respective business. We all know what is likely to happen when we react to something as opposed to being proactive. When we listen to the employees in our company who are closest to the customers, we can get ahead of that changing element.

I have not seen or experienced an assessment on corporate climate change. However, I have wondered if there is a simple way to determine what the “elements” of such corporate climate change happens to be within a company. What about creating a role for a Corporate Climate Change Officer? She or he can lead a team that is strictly focused on forecasting the elements of change on the horizon that are likely to severely damage or lightly disrupt their business.

Maybe it’s as simple as asking your employees what your customers are saying. Another way would be to ask your customers how they are doing, or walk around the office having casual conversations with people about the business.

So, the question is: As a leader or leadership team, how close are you to your employees and/or customers on exactly what is happening within your business? This answer will allow you to properly identify and assess the elements of corporate climate change and their impact on your business.