It was about a year ago that I started the Ecological Leadership Blog. My goal in writing the blog has been mainly to give me a place to delve further into two topics that interest me – leadership and ecology. My hope has also been that along the way I inspire some other folks who stumble upon my ramblings to experiment with their own combination of ecology and leadership to find out if it might be possible to create a more meaningful life for us human beings. It has been my experience that undertaking something based on a hope for outcomes, can more often than not result in huge feelings of failure -- when in fact the practice is valuable in and of itself, despite the outcomes. So with that reminder, I venture into another year of the Ecological Leadership Blog, trying to let go of the hope and focusing instead on the practice.
One of the first posts on the blog introduced a paper I stumbled across titled “The Ecology of Leadership: Adapting to the Challenges of A Changing World”. The paper does a great job of laying out a foundation for why combining leadership with ecology holds great potential in improving our relationship to the world that supports us. In the interest of continuing my own practice, I thought I would revisit this inspirational paper by Kathleen Allen, Stephen Stelzner, and Richard Wielkiewicz. Reverting back to hope, for those of you who may be interested a copy of the text from the paper can be downloaded here, by entering the name of your local library.
The authors lay out what they call “five adaptive challenges” that are forcing us to reconsider our outdated concepts of leadership. My summation of these challenges follows:
1. We need to look at things from a global perspective, instead of the typical local or national perspective. We need to act according to the reality that our actions have far-reaching consequences.
2. We need to acknowledge and live within the limits of our ecosystem and acknowledge we are part of the ecosystem and it is the ecosystem that sustains us.
3. We need to move from lives driven by information, and instead strive for guidance from wisdom.
4. We need ethics that will keep our science and technologies from destroying our ecosystems and us.
5. We need to adapt our social ecology – our families, communities, institutions, economies and cultures – to be in harmony with our natural ecosystems.
Finding better ways to face these challenges is the call for all leaders in our world today. So what will your practice for the day be?