Chapter 11: Social Irresponsibility Provides Opportunity for the Win-Win-Win of Sustainable Leadership
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. VII: Social Responsibility


There are many reasons why leaders – and the population at large – focus on issues that are short-term and politically expedient, especially in the USA where long-term planning is never longer than the most recent quarterly report (10-Q) for a publically traded firm or the next election cycle for government. There is little stomach for addressing globally important and long-term sustainable issues, even though everyone knows it has to be done… eventually. In politics, the political bickering is based on a zero-sum game of one or both parties lose, but rarely a win-win. During a recession, it is jobs at any costs, the environment can wait. In businesses, the CEOs can only have a couple bad quarters, no matter the achievements toward long-term goals. Sustainable leadership is a natural extension of transformational and servant leadership into the future. Successful leadership has historically been measured by narrow and short-term performance metrics. The leader of the future, the Sustainable Leader, needs to impart a long-term and a comprehensive vision of the future. Exhaustible production and business models that ignore externalities and long-term implications must not be perpetuated; it is irresponsible to do so. The Sustainable Leader must be able to win broad-based support with a sense of urgency, yet have an emphasis on future generations. Otherwise, we all lose. Sustainable leadership will build support and enthusiasm to transform broken systems for consumption, business and politics into sustainable methods and models: a win, win, win.