Why ‘Sustainable Leadership’ is key to our future
Launch of Sustainable Leadership and Wylde Wednesday Workshops
In May, we launched the first in our series of interactive online Wylde Wednesday Workshops with a focus on Sustainable Leadership. In our first workshop we covered ‘How to get buy-in from Stakeholders’ to address one of the key questions we are asked by leaders starting their sustainability journey. Without stakeholder buy-in, your sustainability goals and objectives will take much longer to implement which will cost you competitive edge in a number of different areas of the business, from sales and supply chain to recruitment and retention.
Our second workshop in June explored ‘The Business Case for Sustainability’. Our aim is always to help companies to get on-board with sustainability and develop and implementing their sustainability strategy, whilst also recognising the need to manage risks and profit from new opportunities that also exist, whilst remaining financial stable.
Our next workshop, ‘Is your supply chain delivering?‘, will be held on 13th July at 10am. Book here.
What does ‘Sustainable Leadership’ actually mean?
According to The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainable Leadership, it describes a sustainability leader as “someone who inspires and supports action towards a better world. Sustainable leaders are individuals who are compelled to make a difference by deepening the awareness of themselves in relation to the world around them. In doing so, they adopt new ways of seeing, thinking, and interacting that result in innovative sustainable solutions.”
In brief, it means decisions are made ethically, with particular attention to sustainable development with senior leaders managing their companies with environment, society, and long-term sustainable development goals in mind. How we view business today is changing, possibly radically, with full accounting (and increasing accountability through legislation), being discussed more widely to encompass the costs (impacts) associated with environmental and social issues. Stakeholders (of which our planet Earth is one) are to be considered when looking at what is important or material to both the business, as well as its stakeholders.
There are numerous ways of describing how leaders need to consider more than the profitability and shareholder value of a business and even our language is evolving to support this. Terms such as Triple Bottom Line; People, Profit, Planet; Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) are now commonplace when discussing sustainability. More recent terms such as Net Positive, Regenerative Cultures, Regenerative Design are helping us to think beyond being less bad and encourage us to proactively aim to have a positive impact from the outset of our leadership decision making.
Do any of the above feel familiar to you? As a leader or manager are you already adopting sustainability principles and practices as part of how you lead, how you manage and how you make decisions on a daily basis which influence the culture and direction of your company? If so, congratulations. Because it is the leadership decisions and daily actions which will discern the reality of your business from well-meaning intentions. A Sustainable Leader who is fit-for-purpose in the emerging challenging world will need to think more radically, care more deeply and act more courageously to protect the business and ensure your impact is a good one.
Why values matter and underpin everything we do
No doubt you will have noticed in business articles, books, and the media that everyone is talking about Values. Values is what is driving the discussions around sustainability. Hardly surprising. Values is how and why we change things that really matter to us. As individuals, we all have core values in each area of our lives and work is no exception. Values are more complex and impactful than most people understand, and most people not totally aware of their values. Like software running in the background, it is our values influence how we feel, what and who we care about, what we move towards and what we resist. This determines our attitudes and along with our beliefs, our behaviours. Values are personal to us, so they may not be aligned to your company stated values, or the culture and environment that you are part of.
How do you know if your Values are being met or aligned with or not? By how you feel. If you feel fulfilled, motivated, and happy in your work, career or job, your values are being met.
Or not as the case may be!
Ask yourself these questions:
- When was the last time you reflected on what your core values are?
- How do your values shape your role as a leader of a business?
- How do your values align with your colleagues’, and those of your staff?
- Where do they differ?
- Do you know and understand the values of your colleagues and team members?
Behind Sustainability is a set of Core Values. Sustainability might seem like the latest buzzword at the moment but it’s too important to let that get in the way, so that aside. The question/s that needs answering with great clarity is, what is important to me as a leader? As a key stakeholder? What is the impact I want this business to have on the world? Our customers, employees, and wider communities? What is the legacy I want to leave?
When leaders define their Company Values in the boardroom – typically with the senior leadership team, it’s often done from an external marketing perspective. More rarely is it inclusive of the wider company and employees. This exercise usually results in a set of abstract words and concepts like honesty, integrity being displayed on the company website. All with good intentions, but rarely communicated well for engagement, or lived as a cultural reality. Soon they become part of a dusty unnoticed background, and before long no-one remembers what they are.
This platitude is now changing, as companies seek to become more sustainable they can only do it successfully in the long term through Values and Purpose. Values come from the heart, not from legislation.
At Wylde, we can explore the values of your senior leadership team through our unique individual Values Profiling service. We help you to unlock the hidden potential of values and people, and create a highly engaged values-driven culture, that underpins your sustainability strategy to become more effective and impactful. Your team will achieve greater performance and you enjoy more success as a business.
If you want help to change the future of people and planet and become the kind of leader the people and planet need, then contact our Executive Leadership Coach, Anne Wilkinson to arrange a free Discovery Call. Email Anne at email@example.com or alternatively call 07968 134326.
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