4 Characteristics of Successful Climate Leaders
Whether they’re in the business, health, faith, community, or higher education sector, climate leaders are tasked with creating positive, transformative change within their organizations. This is not always easy. But as this article in the Harvard Business Review points out, successful change leaders have four things in common:
1. They recognize and are committed to reconciling internal paradoxes. The various needs and desires of an organization may be in conflict with one another – such as the need for innovation vs. a desire to avoid too much disruption. Successful leaders listen and communicate well to ensure concerns are heard and tensions are addressed.
2. They engage the entire organization in the transformation. Making everyone both part of and accountable for climate initiatives helps increase buy-in and create a sense of ownership. An important first step is to put together a climate solutions team made up of a diversity of staff, to facilitate decision-making and provide ideas, advice, and support.
3. They invest in new organizational capabilities. The realities of climate change and the emerging low-carbon economy require new ways of doing things. Successful leaders help ensure their organization can take advantage of opportunities and are resilient against climate risks and impacts.
4. They’re always learning. Smart leaders know there is much to be learned from other leaders, both within and across sectors. Climate leadership reports are also useful in discovering why certain initiatives succeed, and where there is room for improvement.
For resources and tools to help you engage your organization or sector on climate solutions, check out our MomentUs programs: Climate for Health, Path to Positive Communities, Blessed Tomorrow, Solution Generation, and America Knows How.
By Douglas A. Ready, contributor to the Harvard Business Review
We know that two-thirds of large scale transformation efforts fail. But that’s not a terribly helpful piece of information―unless we’re looking for confirmation that this is hard, really hard. What is useful is to understand what leaders can do to substantially increase the odds that their companies won’t be among the two-thirds of those that fail. From my research and work with companies around the world leading large-scale transformation initiatives, here are the four things I’ve found that virtually all successful change leaders do really well:
Recognize embedded tensions and paradoxes
Smart, capable, solid professionals most often perform well in their roles until they reach a level in their organizations at which they are confronted with a series of embedded tensions and paradoxes that make leading effectively much more complicated. The most common paradoxes leaders face when driving a transformation effort are:
1. Revitalization vs. Normalization. At the core of every change initiative is the desire to breathe new life into the organization―to revitalize ways of thinking, behaving and working. But one change initiative often morphs into many, and before long employees become “change weary.” Thus, we find ourselves in the conflicted situation of needing revitalization but desiring normalization.
2. Globalization vs. Simplification. Doing business today means doing business globally, but the complexities brought on by globalization are often in conflict with the need for organizations to make it simple for customers to do business with them. Leaders struggle with creating organizational responses that address the need to master globalization while offering customers and employees optimal simplification.
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