How to ‘Make’ a CEO Sustainability-Minded

February 22, 2021 Open Leadership, Sustainability No Comments

Of course, you cannot do that. People are not ‘made’ into anything. The real challenge is much more significant. Are you prepared to take it?

If you try to ‘make’ anyone anything, you meet resistance. The endeavor itself makes it more difficult. It’s like trying to climb a wall, and your climbing itself heightens the wall.

What appears like success in ‘making’ anyone anything can be one of two things:

  • The person had no choice. You didn’t ‘make.’ It was the only way. It may last as long as the coercion.
  • Your ‘making’ coincided with a change-from-inside due to other factors.

That’s it. Contrary to what is thought by many, the ‘making’ never happens.

But we would so much like it to happen.

Why? Because it lends us a sense of control. Being able to straightforwardly ‘make’ someone more X is an ego-driven desire. Not only in relation to someone else but also – or even more so – in relation to oneself. Who does not want to ‘make’ oneself more motivated to eat healthier, do more sports, be a better father, or anything.

Unfortunately, it is not so simple in any case.

Or one can see it as an asset. If it were effortless to ‘make’ someone, we would all immediately do it and have nothing left to strive for. Hmm, might be rather dull.

So, fortunately or unfortunately, we are stuck with the difficulty in ‘making,’ even though many will keep trying for another long time.

Maybe even you.

But how then to achieve the goal of a Sustainability-Minded CEO?

Congratulations. This is a better question.

We want people to change, so we want to change them… No, wrong again. Wrong foot.

We want people to change, so we strive to let them change from the inside out. Indeed, that’s the only way. Motivation is not manipulation. Everything in nature grows. It changes from inside out.

You can support a plant to grow. You cannot ‘make’ it grow.

You can support a CEO to change by touching him deeply, so profoundly that the change becomes a spontaneous happening.

A good starting point is to clarify for yourself – better than until now, guaranteed – what you want to see accomplished. What does ‘Sustainability-Minded CEO’ mean to you, really? As long as it’s not very clear to you, you will not be able to touch anyone deeply.

To me, it means real leadership, which I like to call Open Leadership. I have extensively written what I mean by that. [see: https://aurelis.org/blog/category/open-leadership] I also call it Compassionate, in the sense of doing well by doing good in a broad perspective. This may include the environment. This may include humanity.

This means a striving towards sustainability for all and for always

– not so much as a goal to attain, but a direction in which to operate. If possible, then go that way.

Compassion makes a person feel good in-depth. One can say it’s the best side of human being, although it is certainly not the easiest. [see: “Essence of Compassion“]

To any leader, it may be a value to strive for. [see: “Sustainable Leadership“] With this, we have a way to touch the CEO deeply. It is a way in the opposite direction from ‘making’ him sustainability-minded. In my view, this is generally the reason why most efforts fail, and historically have failed big way.

We need to grow Open Leaders. Even better: we need to let them grow themselves. This is not an easy feat to accomplish, but it can be done. It’s a sustainable direction. By doing so, leaders will be more Compassionate and sustainability-minded.

That’s it. In trying to ‘make’ them, they get closed even more. By Opening them, we can create a self-sustaining positive loop.

The future is Open.

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