Speed and Trajectory: “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning

This is the sixth in a series of eight blog posts that focus on Strategic Workforce Planning, with blog post 1 providing an overview of all seven steps.




In this week’s post, we’ll look at the factor of time as a variable for your Green Strategic Workforce Plan. Specifically, we’re looking at Speed and Trajectory.


Speed is the rate that something or someone is traveling. We usually track speed by comparing the amount of time it takes from a starting point to an ending point and comparing the two measurements. For example, we do this with the stock market on a daily basis.


In the case of Green Strategic Workforce Planning, we’re looking to answer the question:


What are we looking to achieve?

Break this down by time periods (1 year, 2 years, 3 years, etc.)


Go back to the analysis of your date in Step 4: Expand Your Aperture Further. What market pressures are you dealing with? What short-term pressures (1-2 years) vs. longer-term pressures (3-5 years) can you identify?


And, what’s changing in the business? What do you need to be ready for? Again, map this to your time horizon. I also encourage you to return to Step 1: Frame Your Project in order to anchor your review and assessment to your Business Need.


As a case in point, organizations right now are aware of pending U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission climate disclosure standards that are anticipated to be announced in December. See more about the current status of this issue here. This means that publicly traded companies are assessing what these requirements might be, what the implications are for their organization, and the resources they need for compliance. These standards are anticipated to differ from those established by the European Commission (see also the Sustainable Finance requirements announced in April 2021), and firms will need to ensure they are in compliance with both kinds of standards. This definitely has workforce planning implications.


It’s also important to look at the possible implications if you don’t act on the pressures and changes that you see emerging right now and on the horizon. What are the alternatives for the business? It’s important to emerge from this process with a clear-eyed view of what is at risk. This is where your risk management office can be very helpful.


Conversely, play out some loosely defined options if you do take action on these pressures and changes. What is the desired “end state,” in detail, that you want to achieve financially, operationally, etc.?


Consider the trajectory of your business from both internal and external angles. Where are you going strategically, based on your organizational mission? Then match up the speed and trajectory for your 1-2 year plan, 3-4 year plan, etc. with those desired outcomes.


In the 6th step of our process that comes next, we’ll talk through how to design alternative scenarios as part of your Green Strategic Workforce Plan.


A few questions to ponder:

  • What rate of speed and what kind of trajectory make the most sense, given the resources you have available right now?

  • What additional resources would be necessary?

ICYMI...Strategic Workforce Planning Series: 7 Steps for “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning Frame Your Project: “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning Broaden Your Aperture: “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning Looking for Patterns: “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning Expand Your Aperture Further: “Green” Strategic Workforce Planning

Can we help with building the skills you need to advance greener outcomes?

Reach out to Beth Offenbacker, PhD, CPCC, ACC, at beth@waterfordinc.com or via phone or text at (703) 623-4811 to discuss if our Green Career, Executive/Leadership Coaching, Strategic Workforce Planning, Small Group Mentoring, Stakeholder Engagement, or Learning & Development services are right for you.


We work with professionals and organizations that have a sustainability focus. All services are customized to your needs.