The Sustainability Mindset

There is a completely new mindset required to navigate the complex issues of our time. Sustainability is a word that is being used to describe the practice of operating as if our impact on the world and its resources truly matters to us.

Thinking holistically means having a heightened awareness of the complex webs of relationships within our ecosystems, so that instead of reductively seeing discrete species and applying linear cause-and-effect explanations, we comprehend pattern and relationship, value and quality, the non-linear dynamics of life where the “sum is greater than the parts’ (Berman, 1981, Capra, 1988, 2001)

Thoughts on Sustainability Volume 1: Principles leaning into process, Edited by Adam Faruk, Ashridge, UK.  www.ashridge.org.uk

The paper quoted is one of the most well-written overviews on this topic that I have seen. The entire document is available online at the Ashridge website. I highly recommend it as background for your leadership learning, and for stimulating discussions in leadership development programs.

The author is not claiming to be perfect and above the pressures of society, which adds to the credibility of the paper:

In writing this paper I have been very aware that I too am steeped within the the current Western mindset. I experience the hypocrisy of wanting to live ethically and lightly, whilst being attracted to new bright shiny things. Yet I can see this new paradigm emerging, and quickly, though not necessarily quickly enough.

Thoughts on Sustainability Volume 1: Principles leaning into process, Edited by Adam Faruk, Ashridge, UK.  www.ashridge.org.uk

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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
 
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About Linda Fisher Thornton
Linda Fisher Thornton is Founder and CEO of Leading in Context, and author of the award-winning book 7 Lenses. She teaches as Adjunct Assoc. Prof. for University of Richmond SPCS. She is leading a movement to help leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.

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