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Navigate: Eat The Elephant

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Many of you will have heard the old joke. How do you eat an elephant? And the answer is: one mouthful at a time. Not hilarious, perhaps, but it makes an interesting point about how building a resilient modern business is never going to be an easy task. And it’s even harder reengineering an old one to make it fit for the future.

The PLANET system requires soul searching and data mining. By this point, you may have a long and possibly overwhelming list of things to do. Viewed as a whole, it can often feel so enormous that it is hard or downright impossible to see an intelligent way through. So the next step is to break the Improvement Plan down into manageable chunks and make it bespoke to your business.

Follow these steps in Figure 21:


A. Decide which Business Area the action or initiative falls under.

B. Establish if this is a Quick Win or if it is Strategic and therefore longer-term. An additional helpful tool here is the Effort vs Impact framework (see Figure 21)


C. Is this initiative aligned with a particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG – see 2.1)?

D. Put a Timeframe on it.

  • 6 months

  • 24 months

  • By 2030

  • By 2050


E. Put a realistic Financial or Human Resource Implication against each action item.


F. Mark one Person Ultimately Responsible for each action item. If more than one person is specified, it is unlike to happen because each will wait for the other to act.


G. Establish some Measurement Criteria to ensure you know when it is deemed to have been achieved.


H. Start noting Potential Barriers (see 4.2).


I. Add a final line to note when it has been Done. Once achieved, make sure you have the right data to verify it, and file it for potential future certification or accreditation. Then decide if you want it to be part of your overall sustainability communications plan or Impact Report (see 6.5).


FIGURE 21 – Improvement Plan

* Download the full Improvement Plan Template at:


At this point you can also start expanding on the initiatives and adding additional detail, action items and context to accommodate the specifics for your particular business.





The Materiality Matrix can be quite detailed and complicated depending on the complexity of your business. A more straightforward way is simply to establish the effort needed to get these tasks done, using a simple grid. This makes it easy to identify early Quick Wins that require Minimum Effort but will deliver Maximum Impact.

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