by Sonya Trau
At some point in our lives we’ve probably all watched David Attenborough on our TV screens popping up in some remote place and listened to his warm and enchanting voice describe with intricate detail the many facets of life on planet Earth.
I’m reading his most recent book “Life on our Planet” where sadly the now 94-year-old who has devoted so much of his life in service to the environment, reflects on the Earth’s changing and dire conditions to the point where our very sustainability as a species is now in question.
In 2009, scientists Johan RockStrom (Stockholm Resilience Centre) and Will Stefan (Australian National University) proposed the Planetary Boundaries Model, which identifies nine “planetary life support systems” (and their boundaries) that are essential for human survival. All life on Earth is sustained by the delicate balance of these nine systems.
In essence, breaching the boundary of any of these individual systems, all life on earth (including humanity) is at risk of catastrophic failure. Sadly, today already 4 of the 9 system boundaries are estimated to have already been crossed (climate, biodiversity, land use and biogeochemical/fertiliser cycles). And it is our species that now endangers the “safe operating space for humanity.”
Reflecting on this global backdrop, it is easy to see that what today’s leaders are faced with in leading their organisations through our current unpredictable, uncertain, pandemic impacted state requires elevated leadership capability, presence and mindset. It strikes me how, how ill-suited stock standard leadership principles, skills and theories are to meet today’s leadership challenges.
Consider the idea of a Thriving Enterprise that is in sustainable flow and harmony at all levels, from top to bottom, from inside-out. Like the “Planetary Boundaries Model”, the Thriving Enterprise is a dynamic living human ecosystem requiring a number of specific conditions to enable it to thrive (or decline).
Our Future Leaders of Today need to understand how to read the dynamics of their organisational system and how to respond to the needs of the system. They need a mindset and quality of presence that can equip them with the senses, relational intelligence and conscious awareness to lead into an emerging future that is not fully understood today and will be different tomorrow.
Sonya Trau, Leading Well