Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sustainable Leadership

As the term sustainability becomes more widespread, its meaning has undoubtedly morphed to mean many different things— living within nature's means; providing for future generations; protecting biodiversity, etc... What I see as emerging is the question: What can I do to make a difference in the world? And this question brings up the notion of leadership.

We may ask ourselves, what positive impact can I have in my immediate community? What can I do that has meaning and purpose? Recently, I finished reading Dan Millman's book, The Four Purposes of Life-- In his book, Millman describes the four purposes from an autobiographical perspective: first purpose: Learning Life's Lessons; second purpose: Finding Your Career and Calling; third purpose: Discovering Your Life Path; and fourth purpose: Attending to This Arising Moment. (FYI, Millman's well known book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior was made into a great film by the same name!).

An underlying theme in all the purposes, and indeed in finding our path, is slowing down and tuning into what resonates within us. It's definitely a challenge given the fast pace lives driven by technology, responsibilities, etc. Creating stillness and observing what's happening moment by moment...

Perhaps this is where sustainable leadership comes in: finding our purpose by creating the conditions that will clarify our life's path-- including, slowing down, observing, creating stillness, and being of service to others.

At a group level, David Logan has an interesting angle on Tribal Leadership. In his TED talk "David Logan on Tribal Leadership," he describes the different stages of tribal leadership and the importance of being able to communicate between the different stages.

Whether at the personal or tribal level, sustainable leadership appears to be gaining more visibility as we search for greater meaning in our actions.