Leadership and the Environment
Leadership in the style of Mandela, Gandhi, King, and Havel, in the direction of Muir, Al Gore, DiCaprio, featuring Dan Pink, Marshall Goldsmith, Dorie Clark, Super Bowl champions, TED speakers, and more.
Do you care about the environment but feel "I want to act but if no one else does it won't make a difference" and "But if you don't solve everything it isn't worth doing anything"?We are the antidote! You're not alone. H
372: JFK, the moon, and missing leadership today
You've heard people calling for moonshots---challenges so great we take them on as a nation. But regarding sustainability we also ask people to do as little as they can, "here's one little thing you can do for the environment."In this episode, I bring you John Kennedy's speech at Rice on the original moonshot, fraught with peril, expensive, asking a lot. He spoke with resolve we lack today everywhere, entitled as our culture has become, but especially in taking responsibility for our actions that affect others helpless to defend themselves from our hurting them. For our mere comfort and convenience. For our waste! America outright wastes forty percent of our food, which we use more fossil fuels than ever to create.I am endeavoring to bring such spirit and leadership to sustainability today.I share my thoughts on our lame attempts to motivate, then read his words, then play the recording of Kennedy himself. Let's do this. Let's restore that spirit. Let's do the hard work of transforming our economy to stewardship, responsibility, and enjoying what we have over looking the other way from pollution and craving what we don't have.The text of the full speechVideo of the speech
371: Margaret Klein Salamon, part 1: Become the Hero Humanity Needs
Margaret is the Executive Director at The Climate Mobilization. Writing Facing the Climate Emergency brought her to me.Her psychology background leads her to approach the climate psychologically, which I appreciate and consider missing. Our internal resistance, fears, and emotions that we don't like facing seem our biggest challenges to act. Of course, more research and education help, but we crossed the threshold of knowing enough to act long ago. We aren't acting not out of ignorance but out of emotion and the skills to manage them.She writes about facing our fears, which leads ultimately to how rewarding acting on so great a challenge feels. People don't get how rewarding acting on our values feels. We both struggled to describe the ineffable emotional and social rewards of stewardship, but I think you'll hear the magnitude of it.I think we both hope you hear from us enough incentive and inspiration to devote yourself to something so huge, even if just to start getting serious. In my experience, the more you act, the more you want to act. You'll wish you started earlier.I don't know how it sounds to others, but exploring apocalyptic possibilities---I believe you'll be glad you explored them, as we do.Close to home, how many books and movies have you come across that eerily accurately foretold the course of this pandemic. If you haven't found any, there are plenty. Many people want to prepare for such outcomes with stockpiles of food, weapons, and bunkers in New Zealand.I prefer to prevent these outcomes. Margaret focuses on action, as do I. Action can prevent some of the greatest suffering. It creates motivation, meaning, and purpose.We can change the trajectory we're on. And we'll love it.
370: Viktor Frankl on the pandemic
Many people are looking to return to something they can call normal since the pandemic undid their earlier normal. In the meantime they struggle.Almost everyone I know knows Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I don't know what they think the book applies to, but it applies to exactly this situation. I'll give the perfectly relevant quote here and elaborate in the episode:We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.When we are no longer able to change a situation---just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer---we are challenged to change ourselves.Again, in the episode, I'll explain how this quote applies to our situation today, if you don't find it obvious already.The episode refers to my book and three videos that explain step-by-step how to change yourself to turn personal tragedy into triumph.Leadership Step by StepThe Model 1/3The Model 2/3The Model 3/3Actually, two more videos round out that series. The above three frame what to do. The next two explain what to do and how.The Method 1/2The Method 2/2
369: Another Decision From My Past I Feel Ashamed Of
I shared a story with a client the other day that he found deeply meaningful. I'd never shared it with anyone before because it felt so shameful. Enough time has passed that I can talk about it, so I'm sharing it here, but I still cringe over it. I shared it to clarify a misunderstanding I hear from many people that somehow things I've done were easier for me than for others, like somehow I got more discipline than others without work.When others share stories they say make them feel shameful, it never sounds as serious to me as it seems to to them, so I hope my story doesn't either. I'm not going to write it here so you have to listen to the episode if you want to hear it, but it starts with girls, or rather lack of relationships with them, and ends with huge life decisions in other areas that I would not have made had I been more open.
368: Chester Elton, part 1: Asking and listening across color lines
You're about to hear a conversation post-George Floyd by two leadership writers. Normally we write for mostly business audiences. this conversation felt more personal.Normally when a friend introduces a potential podcast guest, we start by talking each other's work and figure out scheduling. With Chester---maybe given his openness and, I think, mine, as well as the protests raging---we jumped into talking about race and our interactions with people of different color. We spoke for a couple hours about a topic that polite conversation often avoids, let alone makes it the first thing two people meeting for the first time discuss.Those past conversations set the tone for the conversation you're about to hear, also the continued protests, media discussion, and our growing friendship to keep speaking more openly.I posted last week, 2020 in 9 words: “Everybody wants to be heard and nobody is listening.” I think my conversations with Chester helped prompt that insight. By contrast, he listens. I'm trying to learn from him.Do you know of people in authority showing the world that they are listening and making others feel understood? In fairness, can someone with a national voice, with all the protests from different angles, make a group or bunch of groups feel understood? . . . or even feel listened to?When I teach leading groups, I use Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail as an example of someone making others feel understood, where his sharing his vulnerability as a father probably made his audience of protesters feel more understood and listened to than the ministers whose letter to the editor he responded to. It's the best historical example I can think of and I don't see renowned leaders following or matching him.
367: The Surprising Mantle of Leadership
Here are the notes I read from for this episode:Stand up comediansGrowing up in 70sI thought everyone would want to lead, to give I Have A Dream speech of their generationFelt so natural, though universalSo until recently felt others could do better, wouldn't want to competeDawning on my almost nobody wants toNobody seems to want to changeI expect they'll be happy to change if they don't have to do workAfter all world has changed. Seems easy to change with itMaybe people are waiting for someone and I can or should be itCrazy for me to think nobody wants itQuestion I've asked lately: Genie Mandela choiceI thought all the people competing to be leadership gurus want to leadOr people competing to reach top of corporate ladder want to leadThey want to manage companies and organizations, maybe lead small groupsBut taking risks, maybe notI'm coming to terms with stepping up, or figuring out what that meansYears ago before starting podcast I thought about taking leadership role, realizing success meant challenging Koch brothers. Scary. I could be attacked. King, Gandhi, and others killed.Realized when opportunity to speak on Washington Mall came up, King probably didn't want to give I Have A Dream Speech. Probably thought, “Can anyone else? I guess I have to do it.”Is it crazy for me to think of taking on role like theirs. Does anyone else want to?Still figuring out how, but deciding to act more assertively. If you see ideas or opportunities I don't, please tell me.In the meantime, I see why I'm unique in finding joy in not flying by choice. Still nearly incomprehensible that people can learn how their behavior hurts others and still prefer to justify and imagine their pollution isn't.Is it so outlandish to try, and take my word that you'll be glad you changed?Is it so crazy to imagine that economists all misunderstand what finite planet means and that growth has to end, so their theories don't apply?
366: The Cops, Jocko Willink, and Joe Rogan
Here are the notes I wrote and read this podcast from:It's no secret the tension between police and protesters in this country. I've talked to a lot of protesters in my day, having protested myself many times, especially in college.In grad school a post-doc once worked as auxiliary policemanRecently listened to Jocko Willink on Joe Rogan's podcast. I won't explain who they are because they're both big public figures and you can look them up.Except Jocko is a former Navy SEAL and Joe hosts the world's top podcast. As a martial artist, he speaks Jocko's language and they both talk about cops and uniformed people.I'm going to play about a minute from their conversation that inspired me.<play clip here>After hearing that part, I walked down 10th Street to the 6th precinct to ask if they did drive-alongs.I'd never heard of such a thing and doubted they did, but I knew if I didn't ask the answer was no, if I called or emailed, the answer would be no. But I'm pretty good in person.What will come of it? I don't know. I mentioned it to a friend and he suggested not bringing ID, maybe bringing a witness. People and cops mistrust each other a lot.I want to make a difference. I at least want to understand.Guy there didn't know (wasn't wearing mask).Didn't know if anyone inside would know but suggested attending monthly community meeting.Started checking community feed. One is coming up.Don't know if it will work, but will try.Maybe a few words about jury duty.Joe Rogan hosts Jocko Willink, full episode #1492