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Sustainable Leadership

Gemma Coughlan

on 22 April 2013

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Transcript of SEL1

Varney's article Sustainable Knowledge What is your passion? Any questions? 3 aspects of psyche "Leadership is a meaning-making activity...It is of supreme importance as we move into a knowledge based economy." In closed mechanical systems, sustainability is the prolongation of useful life – designed for low maintenance, easy repair, or replacement of components.

In living systems, sustainability has more to do with feeding the system, nurturing, protecting, ensuring fitness and well-being, maintaining identity and integrity.

The former requires good engineering; the latter requires leadership. Sustainable Leadership Agricultural - rural, bartering

Manufacturing - weaving, metal, wood crafts

Industrial - use of machines

Technological - use of technology

Information/knowledge age - internet, info sharing The ages of industry A new, advanced form of capitalism

knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources).

New patterns of work and new business practices have developed, and, as a result, new kinds of workers, with new and different skills, are required. No longer being thought of as ‘stuff’ that is developed (and stored) in the minds of experts, represented in books, and classified into disciplines.

Seen like a form of energy, as a system of networks and flows – something that does things, or makes things happen.

Defined—and valued—not for what it is, but for what it can do. It is produced, not by individual experts, but by ‘collectivising intelligence’ – that is, groups of people with complementary expertise who collaborate for specific purposes. The Knowledge Age Knowledge Such leadership may depend ultimately on the flair of a single individual but, at the same time, needs to be diffused throughout the system so that everyone shares responsibility for sustaining the whole. community, economy, environment



self The key to sustainability of the system is that it all makes sense to everyone, each in their own terms.
Leadership is, then, a sense-making activity, adding meaning to everybody’s work in relation to some ideal that contains their contributions.

Meaningful work is fulfilling, intrinsically rewarding, increases self-esteem and raison d’etre.

In a world where such qualities are increasingly rare, the provider of meaningful work might expect higher productivity, better recruitment and staff retention – the very stuff of sustainable organizations. The capability to perceive or create a field of meaning on which the game of life is played.

The ‘meaning-field’ of common purpose enables each person to make sense of their lot in terms of their personal intent, capacity, and calling.

Shared values inform every individual how to act even when there is no overt communication.

To be in the meaning field is to be ‘in communication.’ Meaningful Leadership How does this relate to your design?
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