Sustainable Leadership: How to Fulfill on the CSR Vision

image: energy and thoughtToday’s business organizations are presented with the unique opportunity to increase profitability through greater eco awareness and the pursuit of a more sustainable business.   To gain and maintain a competitive advantage over the competition, sustainable business leaders are looking for ways to advance the CSR vision by aligning sustainable business strategies through shared values with employees.   However, there appears to be a disconnect between a corporate sustainability plan and how that vision filters down and is exercised in the day to day processes of an individual worker's life. 
Question:  How do you bridge that gap? Answer: Leadership.
According to Tony Schwartz's post, The CEO Is the Chief Energy Officer, "Above all else, a leader is the chief energy officer. The most fundamental job of a leader is to recruit, mobilize, inspire, focus, direct, and regularly refuel the energy of those they lead.  Energy, after all, is contagious — especially so if you're a leader, by virtue of your disproportionate position and power. The way you're feeling at any given moment profoundly influences how the people who work for you feel. How they're feeling, in turn, profoundly influences how well they perform. A leader's responsibility is not to do the work of those they lead, but rather to fuel them in every possible way to bring the best of themselves to their jobs every day." 

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.  The impact can be profound.
"In a comprehensive review by the researchers Bruce Avolio and Fred Luthans of more than two hundred leadership studies, only one quality among leaders consistently had a positive impact on their employees. It was the capacity to recognize potentials that the employees didn't yet fully see in themselves.  Put another way, the best leaders used their own positive energy to bolster their employees' faith in their own abilities and to fuel their optimism and perseverance in the face of stresses and setbacks. That belief from a leader is intoxicating."  
Bridging the gap between corporate sustainability programs and employees rest in the sustainable leaders vision.  Holding firm to sustainability value while creating the bridge for the organization to fulfill on that vision.  How does this happen?
  • Leaders, demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability at the highest levels of the organization, with sustainability concepts built into core strategic business strategies.
  • Sustainability key performance indicators are built into the governance structure of the business. 
  • An organization encouraged to deliver on sustainability goals through performance management and incentives.
  • Products and services deliver profit through sustainability concepts.
  • Marketing campaigns and price structures encourage customers to make sustainable choices.
  • Supplier relationships encourage sustainability concepts and promote innovation. 
  • Key Stakeholders are engaged and see the value.
  • Transparent Reporting, which does not shy away from sensitive issues, and is part of the larger management system.
Attitudes are contagious.  Are yours worth catching?

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