“Without organization and leadership toward a realistic goal, there is no chance of realizing more than a small percentage of your potential.” – John Wooden
A lot has been written, said and broadcasted in the past few months about the big crises of our time and how we all must rally to overcome them: the global pandemic, the financial/economic crisis, social crisis, refugee crisis, climate crisis, mental health crisis… you name it. Now, there is a lot of talk about investing in and leveraging science, technology and innovation to resolve many of the issues humanity grapples with. Yet what is blatantly missing in the list of “remedies” is leadership!
The United Nations’ rally cries cannot be overlooked:
- “UN chief urges ministers to provide ‘decisive leadership’ on climate action” (12 Oct 2020)
- “Parallel threats of COVID-19, climate change, require ‘brave, visionary and collaborative leadership’: UN chief” (28 April 2020)
- “‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’” (29 Nov 2018)
- None of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals is explicitly about leadership or developing leaders.
- Zero actions of the Sustainable Markets Initiatives’ 10-Point Action Plan address mindset or leadership.
- 0% of 45 examples recommended as Corporate Environmental Sustainability Goals are about developing, measuring or encouraging Regenerative Leadership.
And we wonder why we do not see enough progress?
What is missing is a clear approach to developing leaders to deal with all the mess we have created! It is one thing to sit in a global climate summit (or any other similar conference for that matter), to discuss the politics of joint agreements or declarations, and then settle for the lowest common denominator. And it is an entirely different thing to actually make a tangible difference. Every. Single. Day.
“Leadership is not about epic decisions. It is about choices we make in our daily lives.” – Forest Whitaker
I understand, it is a scary thought that the world or your staff, your community, your family or followers look to you for guidance in unprecedented times! You likely feel as uncertain as anybody else in terms of what we need to do to get our act together to make it out of the health/climate/financial… crisis. What we really need are leaders, endorsed by a formal title or simply leaders at heart, who have the courage to make the right choices. Every. Single. Day.
Imagine how we could leverage all the benefits of science, technology and innovation, if our leaders were actually living and breathing Regenerative Leadership! There are programs and experts out there who show leaders, teach them and provide guidance on how to adopt a regenerative mindset. In addition, we also need a systemic shift to anchor leadership in the fundamental sustainability goals and initiatives of our time.
Why not add an 18th Sustainable Development Goal about developing leaders on how to tackle the other 17 SDGs?
Why not integrate leadership in the SMI Action Plan to give its 10 points a better chance of actually succeeding?
Why not make it mandatory for all businesses to implement environmental sustainability goals that include measuring and reporting on how regenerative their leadership is?
What if our leaders understood that their inner world in the form of thoughts and mindset influence the outer world in the form of words and actions and that true transformation starts from within, resulting in the behaviors they role model? Every. Single. Day.
What if the UN not only asked for decisive, brave or visionary leadership, but also actually developed global leaders to hone these qualities?
What if Regenerative Leadership was taught at every school in a way that was suitable for children, so we help them grow up with helpful habits instead of later on having to work hard to change them?
Authored by Martina Mangelsdorf, Chief Strategic Dreamer at GAIA Insights
Learn more about our RISE theme that develops Regenerative Leadership and induces sustainable transformation for organizations and leaders who are serious about the impact they want to make.