Our Leadership Contribution To Sustainability
Most leaders, if truly asked, would find deep in their heart the aspiration to contribute to a better world. But there also is a widespread inability to both express this desire and respond to it, often, because leaders are caught not only in the pressure of day to day business, but also in the feeling of powerlessness.
This book helps leaders to walk the path towards redefinition of their leadership contribution without ideological or moral connotation and unrealistic demands, with respect towards the wealth of their experience and confidence into their intention to serve the common good.
Leadership for sustainability begins not so much as a result of acquired leadership skills, but as a consequence of sequential insights into global interdependency and one's own role in this world. Leaders change focus when they begin to see the world as an integrated whole and open up to a paradigm shift from a more mechanical interpretation of the world towards a view of interconnectedness and interdependency. Often leaders who do become more interested in Corporate Social Responsibility do so not only as a result of loyalty towards their company's reputation, but from a place of deep desire to engage more meaningfully with the world.
"From the many encounters I have had with leaders from various parts of the world, I have noticed a remarkable aspect of today’s reality: the desire to make a difference is present in many leaders, however deeply buried. I met very, very few who, if sincerely questioned, would not find deep in their heart the aspiration to contribute to a better world. Beneath the surface, there is an unexpressed need to create more meaning, more connectedness, and more relatedness, and to help improve the lives of others. Wanting to make a difference in the world by serving humankind is probably the most widely suppressed desire in organizations and among leaders. A senior manager from a multinational company phrased it like this:
What I feel is that every person actually has a core that wants
to serve … and it is more about uncovering it, because this gets
silenced, cut off, nobody is asking for it, nobody is rewarding it
in the organization. You almost have to do it against all odds.
This latent desire is what I would like to encourage you to rediscover, explore and cultivate. If you don’t do it, nobody will do it for you. And the world’s course depends on each person’s contribution."
The book is based on sequential qualitative inquiry interviews (7 conversations with each of the 14 leaders over a period of 6 to 9 months). The leaders were chosen from a variety of background: multinational business (6), international bank (1), small consultancy companies (2), Government (2), trade union (1), non-profit foundation (1), leader during sabbatical (1), from 8 different countries: UK, US, France, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Ethiopia, Yemen.