Since early 2011, I’ve been studying for an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Interesting and exciting. And what makes the MBA particularly rewarding and exciting for me, is that it’s got an additional focus on “Leadership and Sustainability”.
Sustainability is a term that gets bandied around a lot at the moment. It’s a “hot” word, some would even call it trendy. At a conference recently I heard someone talk about “sustainababble” as a way of describing how much it is talked about (not necessarily done, if you see what I mean) Quite witty, I thought:-)
And most people seem to view sustainability differently to the next person. It’s such a big subject and there are many definitions.
If you look for “sustainable” in the Oxford dictionary online, the definition is: able to be maintained at a certain rate or level or able to be upheld or defended.
I love the idea of making something sustainable, making something last, particularly in a world of constant change. More specifically, to be able to change AND achieve sustainability.
The world is spinning faster and faster, technology evolves and we become more and more impatient – we want quick fixes, fast results, now, now, now.
But we need to learn to become more patient, to delay gratification, to think about impact, to look ahead, to not just think about here and now, but also about “what happens next”?
Sustainability in business, as I see it, is about seeing the bigger picture, it’s about running an organization in such away that it can be around for a long time, for the benefit of ALL it’s stakeholders. As most businesses exist to make money (because otherwise there would be no money to run the business!), this often becomes the main focus for an organization, to the detriment of the business and it’s stakeholders, thereby ultimately NOT making enough money. Very counterproductive.
What do I mean by that? Well, corporate sustainability is about managing all your resources in such a way that you will still have resources! The resources are made up by PEOPLE (employees, customers, suppliers – and all other stakeholders), PLANET (with a growing population, our resources can no longer be used recklessly as we have so far) and PROFITS (the finances to run the business).
No, it’s not. It’s complex. There are so many links and interactions between these resources, where actions in one area affects another, and on and on.
Oh, absolutely! There is so much we can do. We just need to get started. And know what to do, and how. Are you ready?
To be a leader can be both rewarding and frustrating. I remember becoming a leader of a team 22 years ago, my very first leadership role, with no leadership experience and very little understanding of what was expected of me. There are very few “born” leaders, if any! We can all do with some guidance, support, new knowledge and ongoing development to become great leaders. We can’t be expected to just know what to do, it’s not that simple.
There are a number of challenges that leaders may run into. How about
- Unmotivated, unengaged team members
- Conflicts within the team
- People working too independently, in “silos”
- People not sharing things with each other, creating overlap and re-work
- Not knowing what to communicate and when and to whom!
- Team members that don’t share info, often because they don’t know or trust each other
- A team that’s not delivering as expected
- A team that’s not well perceived by others
Over the years, Mandy and I have worked with leaders and teams to help them overcome leadership and team challenges, creating a work culture that is engaging, productive and where people really enjoy working. Our book “The Team Formula” is our formula for how to work with teams to overcome the challenges leaders face.
The book is released 4th March 2013. You can find more information about the book here on it’s own website.
Elisabet Hearn, co-author “The Team Formula”