How many of us conduct our lives by simply replicating what we did yesterday. If we want things to change we need to act differently and focus where it matters. Climate change and social innovation are now more important than ever and immediate, sustainable action is necessary to move us forward in support of workable solutions. It can start with you!
We have 11 years left to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the hope of avoiding disaster. This equates to either two or three electoral series or the amount of time it takes for a child in kindergarten to almost finish High School. The same amount of time will get me close to retirement and allow for half of my mortgage to come to term. It is therefore not the story of future generations but our stories that are being shaped today, that will influence the economic future of generations to come.
We have to be afraid of not doing this well enough as we strangely rationalise the collapse of our logic and mostly throw to the wind our creative forces to enable the greatest change in the history of humankind.
The entrepreneur or executive who remembers why she is ruling is often, if not in essence, a creative person, thus capable of creating change.
The tools for running a business are well documented. However, if you were a leader and found yourself on a deserted island, what would be the three methods you would use to leave this deserted island?
I would start by asking” why” or my “raison d’être” discovered at age 47. I carefully read the books or watched the TEDx talks by Simon Sinek called “starting with ” Why “. I also relied on the logic of my science studies, notably the biological ones, which allowed me to observe reality with rationality because the laws of physics do not depend on us humans. Finally, I would take a liberated work organisation method in order to create an autonomous, free and resilient work team (capable of survival and creating the new over the long term).
If you don’t know your why and you’re not sure that you are moving in the right direction it is okay. You do know what you do well, you understand your own style, your personal trademarks belong to you. We are what we repeatedly do. But how do we need to change our own behaviour when the context changes?
How do we evolve successfully to survive, and in which way? How do you get to know yourself enough in order to know which way to turn?
In reality, you know yourself well already, of course. What we do not do well enough is stop once in a while, and pay attention to formalising our raison d’être (why). This is where Simon Sinek’s method, so simple and so powerful, comes into play. It consists of two sections: your contribution e.g. what do you do when you are at your best, in your personal life and what the impact of this contribution was on the lives of others.
Because it seems that apart from the bearded hermits (do we have any female ones?) we are social animals, we live for others. For me, it took a few weeks to reveal the elements and emotions, then a few more weeks to write it up as simply as possible. This second process will remain a work in progress until my death. My reason for being? To play a role in stimulating (people) to create sustainable, happy harmonies around them.
It allows me to see that I am not a “born leader” My thing is to stimulate, excite, inspire, provoke. It is not to do everything in order to organise a team to win a battle. I have learned that about myself by now. What is your WHY?
Science, real science observes, reflects, calculates and models laws that remain valid in a context, a perfectly defined field of application … until an observer discovers a counterexample which forces to resume the process and correct the model. I saw Hubert Reeves at my founding conference, where he told me that he spent half of his life calculating and modelling the big bang concept and the other half of his life trying to find an older star which would demonstrate that the big bang theory was inaccurate so that he had to rethink his own work.
There was little politics, sentiment, money or activism there. Planet Earth is not flat in the end even if it is common sense that the majority of people believed that to be true for a long time. Science tells us that the climate (and biodiversity and other environmental issues ) is getting worse. The constancy of our climate is one of the bases of the existence of homo sapiens on this planet. If it changes too much, beyond just two degrees, chaos could reign. This scenario must be avoided at all costs. The engineer of the Titanic, the scientist amongst the crew said that the boat could sink, the owner said it was unsinkable. The rest is left to human interpretation, enough proof that humans are not necessarily always rational. It was rational to immediately organise the evacuation of the Titanic, it is rational to immediately fight against climate change, to scientifically correct its causes, to modify the human activities of the last two centuries. Otherwise, just as it is rational to think that the boat will sink (Jack said in the film ” at first the water is cold, after it is worse ” ), it is rational to think that the Earth’s natural ecosystem could collapse. It is not rational to think that a miracle will happen, that is to say, that something unknown today will manage to save us.
If you are still reading these lines, it is probably because your reason for being is linked to the general interest of mankind (like Mother Theresa) or perhaps you are fuelled by a taste for change (like Marie Curie). You may be saying to yourself, I must do something to do my part and participate in the great change of our time. You may say absolutely, this has to change, it will change; how can I create something innovative that helps it go “in the right direction”. If like us, you work in a sector which must be very active to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (construction and real estate), that means a lot of transformation in the way we work of course, but also a lot of business for those who have managed to adapt.
If you work in a sector that must decrease until proven otherwise (meat, nitrogen fertilizers, fossil energy, deforestation), it will be more difficult. This is, therefore, more stimulating if your reason for being is based on the challenge.
Get to know yourself better and see if you have the guts to fight climate change. If so, launch yourself joyfully and mindfully into the battle. If not, let others do the work and wait silently in your corner, please. If alas, due to indifference, we add the shame of fighting against this obligatory change as science clearly indicates to us to do, a consequence will come to bear and we will have to face our children in the future, living in the age of adults like Greta. We have 11 years left to act drastically and hope for the best.
Having the mental capacity for change is necessary but it is not enough. The communities of actors, companies and role players must be organised. Our good old pyramids and silos are not effective in the complexity of change. The military calls this a VICA (VUCA in English) world, referring to the Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous time we live in, and the army is no longer organised like it was 50 years ago with artillery, cavalry, aviation and a beautiful map and a beautiful plan. That all has changed! Everything now works with agility: an objective for a clear vision, a strong culture and strong human ties and total autonomy in theatres of operation.
What are we waiting for in companies to become more agile and reactive to what is happening around us? Are we still leaders believing in the scattering of power? If your reason for being involved is power, too bad, you will have to wait until your maturity evolves, there is no value judgment intended, but purpose allows you to modify the expression of traditional leadership into being more inspirational, being a coach, and a leader of change.
Humanity needs to become more human again. It is not necessarily customary to share power or to give it away in order to be more efficient but it is still less complicated than transforming all human activities into low carbon outputs within the next 10 years, and it is certainly far less complicated and unpleasant than living through a collapse of our civilisation. Be a mature and wise leader – make our planet GRETA again!