Post by Neela Bettridge http://www.neelabettridge.com/
There is no denying that the changing global context is increasingly more chaotic and unpredictable: Violence, environmental degradation, food shortages, global consumerism, global warming and increasing gaps between rich and poor. Whether or not these are symptoms of deeper underlying issues, it is clear that we are surrounded by challenging global crises that call for fundamental change. Never before has the interconnectedness and interdependence of humanity, the environment and our planet been so apparent. The global financial market crisis of 2008 demonstrated this reality. Our choices, small and large, individually and collectively affect each other continually. Our decisions have repercussions globally as we increasingly discover how intertwined we are in our businesses, in our communities, in our countries and in our world.
Never before in the course of human evolution have we had the opportunity and the responsibility to make conscious choices with so much knowledge and information at our fingertips. We are at an important turning point in the world. This requires awareness and a new way of thinking, feeling and acting individually and together. It demands different type of leadership that can bring about fundamental and profound change through informed and courageous choices. This new wisdom demands greater levels of self and collective awareness and leadership, shared dialogue, mutual respect and accountable and informed action. We need to see higher levels of social and moral consciousness in our leaders.
In addition, while confronting 21st century challenges, leaders will need to be able to balance the competing demands and needs across multiple stakeholder groups: employees; colleagues; customers; owners; other organisations and communities. This balance needs to be applied in a way that is ethical and accountable.
So what is the link between Conscious Leadership and Sustainability?
For many leaders navigating their way through and being able to be here and be present to the issues is critical and requires them to develop conscious leadership. Sustainability is in the grip of three megatrends currently, environmental degradation, radical transparency being presented by social media and increasing stakeholder expectations. So how do business leaders pick their way through the minefield of which issues to pay attention to that may currently just be weak signals? These issues otherwise are known as material issues. Material issues, if not addressed, affect their organisation’s bottom line. They are the ones that leaders need to be concentrating on how to choose. This requires very conscious leaders who are able to pick their way through complexity, chaos and multi stakeholder needs to devise their sustainability strategy that makes them fit for purpose and able to face the future. The need for conscious leaders to create first class sustainable organisations has never been greater. The key is which are the material issues to concentrate, and this takes special leaders!
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