The recent IPCC report last week has brought home that all organisations, all businesses, and all individuals, for that matter, need to think about how they can respond to our ecological and climate crisis.
Some of this response will be in terms of how we lead people in our organisations, and some of it needs to be focused on the culture that sustains our people. These two elements are inter-related.
Both are important, but most leaders are focussing on WHAT needs to be changed and not HOW we change (see my blog last month.)
If organisations aren’t sustaining on the inside – looking after and nurturing their people – then it is difficult for those organisations to ever be sustainable on the outside. Greenwashing can be viewed as a form of what we would term ‘inauthentic behaviour’ in an individual.
Even as we feel we are emerging from the pandemic, its effects are still being felt. Last year was extremely difficult for many people and many teams. Amongst the clients I work with, I see people who are still at the bottom of their energy reserves. Trying to do too much with too little. The pandemic has cast a strong light work practices that we have taken for granted, yet are unsustainable in their underpinning concepts and motivations.
While people are feeling depleted, it is hard for them to be innovative and creative in the ways required to respond to these complex challenges. Even at our best, these are challenges to which we don’t really know the answers because the regenerative and sustainable ‘answers’ will emerge from a different way of thinking and valuing life.
That emerging new way recognises and acts upon the almost never ending interaction of nested systems within systems throughout everything. It’s a way of thinking that matches the way nature works. And that is a cultural shift in our western world organisations (that will also become more consistent with First Nations worldviews).
Don’t we already know what we need to do?
I know many people will disagree and say that we do know the answers, and we just need to get on with it and take action! We don’t have time to think differently! But maybe we don’t have time not to pause and think differently…
Let’s pause for a moment on one example; the move from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric-powered vehicles. Its seems to make sense. Yet, when we zoom out and look more broadly at shifting to electric vehicles, we also notice that the mining of lithium for the batteries, is causing more ecological destruction. And by substituting one vehicle for another we are doing nothing about where people live and the larger transport system challenge of increasing traffic congestion. This is only one example of where there are is no simple answers that will solve the complex problems of the ecological and climate crisis.
Changing the way we change – cultural evolution comes first
So how can we be more creative? How can we learn our way forward together? We need organisational cultures that nourish and sustain people. Cultures that enable people to maintain their energy in the long term. Cultures that enable the interior growth people need to develop. In turn, this will allow people to work together better and be more persistent, energised, and creative in their problem-solving.
A profound change
This is possible. My research into embedding sustainability into organisational DNA and my practice over the last decade, has shown how we can do it. This short video gives you an overview of how we can do it.
The benefits will amaze you because many of our current ways of working ‘waste’ so much human talent.