Three years on from first being introduced to Gayle Avery and her work on sustainable leadership and I still cannot easily explain what I mean by the word sustainability. Now my colleagues at the Greenbiz.com Linked In Group are asking whether we need to move beyond sustainability because to some, sustainability implies sustaining ‘what is’ i.e. the status quo.
This implies that ‘what is’ is not enough and that more is better and this common business view continues to trouble me. For me sustainability is closer to sufficiency but I don’t quite know how to apply this to examples such as health, love etc. because more more health or love does sound better than sufficient health or love, except to the extent that I don’t need to strive so hard with the former.
The meaning I prefer is adaptiveness – where sustainability means our leadership, organisational and national capacity to adapt to changing environments. And in some environmental contexts more is better, whilst in others less is sufficient.
Good to hear that one of my favourite books – Giving Voice to Values, by Mary Gentile – is coming out in paperback. Next month’s task is to get the Australian Institute of Management bookshop to stock it. They will be great to use as reference sources in programs.
Towards the end of the year I will be starting a series of case studies around common Australian business ethical dilemmas – with a sustainability theme. Watch out for new workshops in the new year.
After reading Alexander McCall Smith’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald about his writing being deeply unfashionable when he started, I decided to allow myself to be deeply unfashionable too. As I consequence I am off to the Opera Theatre next weekend to listen to a day of divergent and potentially unfashionable talks at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
First I’ll listed to McCall himself talk about the idea of society being broken and whether and how we can knit it back together with civility and kindness. Or are they old-fashioned ideas?
Next, I’ll listen to a panel discussing whether some aboriginals are more aboriginal than others.
Then I’m off to hear Cheryl Kernot, Dick Smith and Philip Nitschke talk about changing their minds, a deeply unfashionable trait in the current environment.
Finally, I will listen to a panel discussing citizen’s revolutions and how we can participate in creating a world we all want to live in.
Looking forward to it. Join me if you dare.