Are We Witnessing a Youth Movement in Sustainable Leadership?

Image: facebook and Mark zuckerberg“Eight of the 42 technology and Internet companies that held initial public offerings in the U.S. in 2011 were led by CEOs who were under 40 at the time…Their ascension is airing anew arguments about the value of youth in corporate decision-making. The debate typically pits the benefits of creativity and familiarity with emerging technologies against the need for disciplined decision making and experience dealing with hard times.”

This excerpt taken from the recent Wall Street Journal article, Young CEOs: Are They Up to the Job?, examines the question of youth in business leadership.  Spotlighting the upcoming IPO of Facebook under the leadership of their 27-year-old founder and chief executive, the post probes the question: Experience versus creativity? Which is more important in today’s business sustainability-focused environment?

Leveraging our own sustainability consulting perspective on the subject, we revisited some our most recent posts on the leadership topic.  What we find is that our own research tends to correlate with the ‘youth’ trend. The post, Three Executive Mindsets that Propel Sustainable Innovation cites curiosity, experimentation and engagement as leading qualities of sustainable leadership.  Defined less by years of experience and more by a curious and innovative mindset, tomorrow’s leaders appear very different from their predecessors.

“Age matters less and less. Skills, passion, intense curiosity and extremely high IQ are more important.”  -James W. Breyer, a director of Facebook who works closely with Mr. Zuckerberg

As a sustainability leader, it's imperative to communicate and demonstrate personal and corporate sustainability at all levels - including your energy, thoughts, expressions around eco awareness and business sustainability.  Emphasizing the importance of sustainability in business, community, and personal lives to employees expands well beyond the boundaries of the organization.  Our sustainability consulting believes that true leaders connect and actively engage others in a common and mutually defined purpose.  These qualities are not defined by age.

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