It’s always a pleasure to find people that blog [talk, debate, are passionate] about similar issues as you are. The best evidence of that is if 10 minutes into a Skype conversation you are deep in a discussion on the necessities of reducing our environmental footprint and the practicalities of only working 50% and spending the rest of your time gardening and reading – as happened to me recently when talking to Tobias, one of the authors of Lead-Ahead.com.
They blog about sustainable leadership and the possible pathways towards a truly sustainable future, and their approach is really inspirational – they want to demystify and clarify the true meaning of buzz words such as “sustainability”, “leadership”, and “strategic management” by educating young future leaders in five issue areas: Leading Sustainably, The Leader Check (how sustainable are our leaders?), Receiving Leadership, Sustainable Talks (leadership insights in the form of podcasts) and Leading Innovating (what is happening in terms of technology?). Through the lens of these categories, they examine the best techniques for self-management and the coordination of others, how to find and take advantage of effective mentorship, and most importantly, how to do all these things with the goal of moving society towards a development within our planetary boundaries.
In their eyes,
Sustainable Leadership empowers leaders and followers to create lasting local and global value for Environment, Society, Economy and all stakeholders affected by their actions (or non-actions) and the actions of their organization.
Sound complex? Let’s have a look at some examples!
Some of the issues they have recently analyzed center around the question whether our current “normal” is sustainable [hint: it’s not] and where to point to when searching for a new normalcy.
Value wouldn’t be determined by monthly returns but by the true long-term value we create not only for ourselves, but for future generations and the environment as well. We wouldn’t define ourselves based on what we have but on who we are and what we contribute to our society. Every activity we do would first need to be assessed identifying its true value and then, the norms would have to be established.
They also reflect on better indicators for global development than GDP, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator.
It positively includes volunteer work, household work and higher education but negatively accounts for all kinds of pollution (air, water, and noise), depletion of nonrenewable resources, cost of crime and poverty and the loss of leisure time. When this more human-focused approach is used to analyze the development of the American economy from 1950 – 2004, the result is that despite a staggering growth in GDP per capita, GPI per capita remained almost constant.
Other posts for example talk about leading in a voluntary environment (which is often difficult because of issues such as high turnover rates and the related difficulty of maintaining institutional memory, as well as a syndrome known as activist burnout), or the idea of One-Planet-Living put forward by the WWF.
It’s a really fun interdisciplinary project at the crossroads between management, economics and environment, so do go and check it out if that sounds good to you! I might be contributing an article here or there as well in the future and will make sure to link to it in that case.
Have you ever felt the challenge of leading in a sustainable fashion or of being frustrated by unsustainable leadership?