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Sustainability Leadership & The Vision Collaborative

20th century leadership was about the individual. The great general, the great politician, the great union leader etc. The hyper connected 21st century exposed two fatal flaws with this belief-cum-practice.

One…it’s the vision that moves people not the person.

Two…if we do not see ourselves all as leaders we easily fall prey to becoming sheepish followers (and we know where that gets us…..).

A visionary leader of any kind, but most especially the sustainability kind, knows in their heart effective leadership is about the collective and not individual. Not the Jean Luc Picard nemesis Borg collective. Think rather, colleagues and allies connected by a shared vision of more and better corporate sustainability.

What more and better means to a given company will differ. What shouldn’t is the purposeful tapping of collective wisdom to identify where sustainability risks and opportunities lie.

The leadership collective’s job: in the paraphrase words of the indomitable Stephen Covey – to lean the sustainability ladder “against the right wall” and then define just how high to climb.

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Just a Snicker away from more and better Corporate Sustainability …

No, not the chocolate bar, but the resonant, almost-behind-your-back chortle of the sustainability cynic.

Eager to debase your passion and plans for more and better corporate sustainability, the “Snickerer” should be your first choice for a coffee time partner. They are the font of established opinion and their hyper critical life view holds much unpleasant truth. Embrace that, and learn from them, for who best to lead you through all the barriers between you and more budget, people and passion?

Don’t let reason get the better of you either. This is reptilian brain work. Snickerers fear change, see cost everywhere but value nowhere. Creating the “connective tissues” turning adversary to collaborator takes time but can be well worth the effort. It may never happen, but you will certainly learn and grow no matter what happens.

Call one now.

See Uzzi and Dunlap in the Harvard Business Review, http://bit.ly/1vD01do
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Hemingway on Sustainability Reporting (were he alive): Don’t be Hollow, Be Material

Hemingway knew a thing or two about writing prose.

He also knew about icebergs… “The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water…..”

In his writing Hemingway insisted similarly that what is not said is as important as what is. If a writer knows “enough of what he is writing about” omission of detail, he argued, will leave the reader no less affected.

Same goes for sustainability reports but to the opposite effect.

Focusing on surface elements without presenting underlying issues fools only the foolish. Serious corporate sustainability stakeholders, whose love of drama and tragedy is every bit as strong as any fan of Hemingway, live for the unstated. Their mission: shine light on lies, half-truths, and omissions, or, the story that lies below the surface.

Sadly, and more often than not, corporate “evil” doings are born of simply not knowing, or not bothering to find out what sustainability issues are meaningful or material to a company’s sustainability story.

A sustainability report which doesn’t know what it really ought to be reporting on, like bad prose, has “hollow places” as Papa would say. Material impact omissions will be “outed” – guaranteed.

So don’t be hollow, be material.

A great materiality analysis will… save your company up to 25% on its sustainability report… boost strategic sustainability focus and sustainability ROI performance…. Drop me a line if you want to learn more… mdess@esglobal.com or +1 202 5586594 or +52 777 313 0438

Ernest Hemingway quotes from Death in the Afternoon

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