About Daggerwing Group
Daggerwing Group is a global management consultancy helping executives accelerate growth by optimizing the intersection of business goals, customer needs, and employee experience. Daggerwing Group's end-to-end capabilities are focused on operationalizing behavior change of customers and employees through three areas of service: facilitating executive alignment on business vision and priorities centered on customer needs; organizational, operational, and cultural change; and creatively-inspired employee engagement and communications. Daggerwing Group is an Omnicom Group company.
Latest Daggerwing Group News
Nov 17, 2023
Published 4 days ago.About a 8 minute read. Daggerwing Group’s Michelle Mahony discusses operationalizing sustainability strategy, purpose-washing, and equipping teams to be ambitious in the face of the greatest challenges of our time. Companies don’t change; people do. This is a core philosophy that drives thework of Daggerwing Group — a change-managementconsultancy that focuses on one of the hardest parts of change and businesstransformation: People. Sustainable Brands® caught up with Managing Partner & President MichelleMahony to explore embedding andoperationalizing sustainability strategy, purpose-washing, and giving people thetools to be ambitious in the face of the greatest challenges of our time. Daggerwing Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary next year. How has your work evolved over that time? Michelle Mahony: The biggest thing that has changed is the realization byorganizations around the world that having a solid strategy for navigatingchange is crucial for transformation efforts to succeed. We focus on the humanside of change: the beliefs, mindsets and new ways of working that need toaccompany any kind of change — especially in a world that has never been somessy or complex. We know that 75 percent of change efforts fail. And it’s important to rememberthat just because you build it, it doesn’t mean people are going to come. Youcan have the best strategies, processes and tools in the world for yourtransformation; but change only really happens when the cost of not changing isgreater than the cost of changing at the individual level. People need to besupported through the process and feel part of the change — so that it’s notjust happening to them but with them. Submit your brand into our 2024 Socio-Cultural Trends Research™! Unlock customer insights on sustainability & your brand’s unique performance! Submit your brand (or any brand) into the 2024 annual study and receive unparalleled insights on customer perception of that brand’s performance. Benchmark how your customers rate your brand on social and environmental sustainability and overall brand trust, while seeing how your brand compares to others in the study. Space is limited! The deadline to become part of the study is January 15, 2024. This is particularly true for the complex change that is required fororganizations to meet their sustainability goals, as this shift requires a wholenew paradigm for how businesses need to operate and how people make decisionsevery day. And we are finding that organizations as a whole have done a lot ofgreat thinking about their goals and what they need to do in this space. Now,they are shifting a lot of their thinking to how they need to change to reachvery ambitious goals. Often, we lose sight of the fact that a business is essentially a group of people making decisions. That gets lost sometimes, doesn’t it? MM: Yes. A business has no sense of consciousness or self-awareness. Abusiness is not expected to make any kind of moral judgments; it only exists togrow and be profitable. But if that growth runs completely unchecked, it cancause terrible impacts for people and the environment — the results of which weare living with on a planetary scale. It is only the people inside a business who can create a moral and businessimperative and think about growth in a new way that is healthier for the planet,for people and for the business itself. And when we think about the types of people we need as part of this change-management process, what are the characteristics and behaviors we really need to see within businesses right now? MM: We need growth and learning mindsets. However, we don’t have time tolearn everything and then act. We must learn and act as we go in order to meetthe challenges — experimentation, failing fast, learning from mistakes andcontinuing to evolve. Part of the problem we have right now is psychological. There is a feeling of,‘Oh, I give up; this is too overwhelming. We’re not going to make it. Humanityis doomed.’ And although there is a lot of really awful news around this hittingus every day, we cannot afford to settle into doomed complacency. So, part ofwhat we need to do is instill hope and galvanize people into action. The other problem is that, for the last 20 years, sustainability conversations have been going on in siloed departments. What is your advice for truly embedding sustainability within a company? MM: Traditionally, sustainability efforts are solely managed by the ChiefSustainability Officer and their teams. They implement some policies and thereis a core group of experts and strategists to make things happen. Butsustainability is not an initiative; it is a way of doing business. Sustainability needs to be owned by everyone to garner the energy that is neededto make it real. When efforts exist in a silo, people often use language thatnobody else understands in the organization because it’s incredibly complex orsuper scientific. So, making it a story that everybody can tap into is theanswer. It’s about instilling sustainability into leadership decision-making in theactions that we take every day. We see lots of companies kicking the can downthe road, saying, ‘We can’t get to it this year, but we’ll get to it next year.’That’s going to fail. We can’t keep doing that. But what you can do is make itmore manageable, prioritize and plan. There is plenty of debate right now about the pros and cons of ESG reporting , which can be to the detriment of real action because companies are so fixated on reporting that they fail to get anything done. What’s your take on it? MM: ESG as a concept is something that needed to happen. But I think theidea of ESG as one entity needs to go away; because they’re very separate issuesrequiring their own strategies and measurements for the E, the S and the G —sticking them into one index doesn’t make sense. But we absolutely do needmetrics and accountability; and my hope is that ESG reporting will continue toevolve in a way that makes sense and creates greater accountability in each of theseareas. You spend a lot of time helping companies operationalize sustainability. What common, big challenges are firms still grappling with? MM: Companies are generally pretty good at changing their processes. Thechallenge is bringing people together so that they understand what is changing,what a company is trying to accomplish, why and their role in it. There cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach for every organization. Dependingon the goals set, different stakeholders within an organization will be affecteddifferently, at different times, and will have different roles. So, you need anoverall change plan that encompasses the big story; and then you need to divedeep with priority groups, and ask: ‘How are you going to be impacting thesegoals? What is your role?’ That’s the kind of detail that you need to get intoas you operationalize, because each group can differentially move the needleforward. There is a big difference between transformation and incremental change. Transformation can often feel too big and scary; but incremental change can be seen as nowhere near good enough. So, is there a middle ground for companies? MM: Different companies have different appetites for how much they’re goingto take on. It does feel overwhelming; but the good news is the “ burningplatform ”has never been hotter. I mean, it is there; it is daunting — but if you don’tstep into this work, you’re going to fall behind as a business. So, everyoneneeds to get a little bit braver and really do what they can — not only does theworld demand this, but your business does also. Companies continue to invest heavily with creative teams to renew their mission, vision and purpose. Is it enough to have a 'purpose' when it comes to achieving sustainability goals? MM: No, it’s not enough. The definition of integrity is when what you’resaying and what you’re doing match each other. When you have a low ‘do,’ nobodytrusts you. When you have a low ‘say,’ you are open to interpretation. Your purpose, mission and/or vision are great; it gives everyone the true northand the language to talk about what it is you’re trying to do. But without the‘do’ to back it up , it’s just empty fluff. It feels like you are still full of hope after all the years working in sustainability. MM: Well, I’ve always had a personal interest in environmentalism. I comefrom Washington State, which is a cradle for that thinking originally. We can all individually take actions to be “greener” and do our composting andrecycling, and that’s great; but unless we fundamentally change systems in theworld — which corporations, governments and coalitions have the power andresponsibility to do — individual change is not going to be enough. It’s hard when you look at the news and see the impact climate change is havingon our planet. But we have no choice but to be hopeful — otherwise, we lay downin a puddle and die, which is just not an option I want to consider. I try not to be a Pollyanna about this stuff and be realistic; but we have tofind ways to maintain that optimism. And I do believe in our ability to solvegreat challenges when we have to, when our very existence is at stake.
Daggerwing Group Team
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Daggerwing Group has 1 team member, including current Chief Executive Officer, Ewan Main.
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