Sunday, November 6, 2016

The lazy [leader’s] guide to saving the world

As the first truly global accord, the Paris Agreement, ratified on the 4th of November is monumental.
I can’t begin to imagine the work involved from the grassroots campaigners to the signatories that has enabled this to happen.  Decades of hard work and cycles of complex international negotiations. A powerful reminder of what can be achieved through individual and collective action.

This week in Morocco, the discussion will be about how to put this accord into force, and meet its aims.  This is where the real work begins.

And we know as individual citizens, we can make changes in our lives now to help combat climate change and be more loving towards the earth and its inhabitants.  Recognising that we all, even the most laziest of us, have a part to play in creating a sustainable world, the UN has provided a ‘lazy person’s guide to saving the world’.

Perhaps we are all inherently lazy.  Working with leaders,  I wonder if actually many of the busy leaders are paradoxically, the lazy ones. 

Those leaders who, swamped with tasks and desperate to get things off their desk, or get their direct report out of their office, or respond to yet another demand from higher up  – will take the lazy option of giving quick answers, barking instructions or giving their well-rehearsed opinion.  They fail to see the opportunity the occasion presents to them.  The possibility to pause, get off automatic pilot and listen and inquire with courage and compassion.  The chance to go off a familiar path, out of one’s comfort zone of interaction and let the other be truly heard. To dig into what is really going on and discover new realities and solutions rather than ‘clipping one’s wings’ and creating a sense of dependency through a fixed answer or view of the world. 

For the lazy leader becomes unnecessarily busy.   Because the direct report they gave directions to, comes back time and time again for their advice, having not learnt to take ownership or think for themselves. Or hot potatoes continue to get passed down the line.  The lazy leader, having not helped to unleash potential in the other, stymies the creation of new ideas and innovation, so is forever chasing their tail. The lazy leader tells mindlessly rather than coaches consciously, so nothing advances or changes.  They just get drawn into a spiral of fire fighting, rather than strategically driving transformation in the organisation. 

So here’s my lazy leadership guide to saving the world.

  • Pause

  • Listen

  • Ask

The only thing, it may take some hard work.

For a conversation on how our Earth Coach programmes can build capacity in the Sustainability Industry, please contact me. 


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