Weaving the Threads of Sustainability Leadership
What should leadership look like, if that leader truly understood and embraced Sustainability? There are many definitions and descriptions out from a variety of well-known and accredited institutions and in my humble opinion the answer should come from a practical approach; an approach that results in a leadership practitioner who can tell the story by describing an actual experience. Imagine a leadership and an economic model where sustainability and corporate responsibility are requirements to participate and formed the corner stone of decision-making. The reality of our current global economic environment is that this is what is needed now and we know it, yet we are still hanging on to the old paradigm of shareholder value creation instead of stakeholder value creation.
What if a Leader in Sustainability, for practical purposes, was based on four threads supported by a set of guiding principles that drive value throughout the stakeholder experience?
Communication - a communicator and a story teller that has transparency as their keystone guiding principle, using data to inform their story
Leadership - a person who leads from passion, accountability and engagement by instilling and embracing innovation and collaboration into the fabric of the broader, deeper organizational community.
Strategy - Strategies that are built by people around people in action to create value for the environment, community and the organization
Global Context - A leader who embraces accountability, understanding and accepting the affect the organizations actions and decisions have in the world.
Creating the picture
Create a picture in your mind. A beautiful thriving and perfect lake represents your organization and its broader community. Early in the morning in the stillness of a new day, you drop a pebble into the lake and watch as the ripples spread across the pristine, glass like surface until the last, faint outer ripple finally reaches the edge of the lake. Now imagine that pebble as one of your decisions and the ripples as being the effect of your decision as it spreads across your organization and the community. Hold that picture and see each detail and think about the answers to these questions:
- What was the affect of that final ripple?
- Who did it influence? What did it change?
- What if you could make a different decision or drop your pebble in a different part of the lake, or if your pebble was smaller? or bigger?
- Did the effect of your pebble do good or did it do harm? Do you know?
- What are you willing to be accountable for? Each ripple's affect?
- How would you communicate the changes your decision resulted in?
- Do you believe that you are accountable for effects of even that last feint ripple and the change it created so far out from where you implemented your strategy?
Now imagine companies and their leaders all cared this much... In the context of sustainability and preserving and building for future generations, who is the leader you really want but won't let yourself ask for or become?
Manzimvula's interests and my intent, lies in developing sustainable community and international development models by enabling mindset. By working both internally and on the ground in program and project implementations we support clients to increase ROI and leverage investments in technology solutions & development, program & project implementations and Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility programs and initiatives.
About Manzimvula®: We help companies to unleash hidden capacity, inspiring people, engaging teams, and sparking breakthrough performance. Manzimvula, a Certified B Corporation, is a consulting and program management practice that works with our clients on sustainability and corporate responsibility issues with a keen focus on establishing trust and enabling relationships across a broad set of stakeholders as "Community Engagement Practitioners". To stimulate ingenuity and create growth, we work alongside our clients, guiding them through our Purposeful Path to Sustainability Program™ utilizing our Integrative Strategy Approach™ to help them engage their organization at a deeper level to understand mindset and create alignment with core strategies and principles.
Media contact: Stephen Adelman, President, CSR Initiatives