Sustainability for Leaders - A true aha-experience
We at the Natural Step think it's important to empower leaders of the future, to unite and engage through the framework for Strategic Sustainable Development. One way of doing this is through the courses we host all around the world, below is Anna Bengtssons own experience, Anna particitpated in a recent Level 1 course hosted in Stockholm. One early Tuesday morning in January a group of people met at The Natural Step (TNS) office in Stockholm for a two day course in Sustainability for Leaders. Together we were representing a range of backgrounds and professions; one participant was from India and another from Åland, some people had worked with sustainability issues for decades and some of us were quite new in the field. What we had in common was a belief that sustainability is the future and a craving for a method or tool to help us increase the velocity towards a sustainable society.
The two days were crammed with lectures and exercises, all held by professionals of the TNS-team. The course started off with an introduction to the Systems Thinking of the Natural Step and continued by explaining how to work with the ABCD method. The second day we gained deeper knowledge in how to apply the TNS five level strategy model and we learnt more about how to communicate the TNS framework. During the two days we also got a lot of information about how the framework is implemented in different companies and organizations, which gave a deeper understanding of how to actually use it in real business cases.
The course was a true aha-experience as it presented a new approach to sustainability and tools for a more straight forward way to work with these issues. Sustainability can be a very wide concept and sometimes it seems to contain almost anything. Unfortunately there is always a risk of choosing a too winding path when the goal is more or less unclear. The TNS framework addresses this problem by using four system conditions to define what a sustainable society is. The system conditions also help to create a vision of what a certain company or organization will look like in a sustainable future. When the goal is defined backcasting is used to find measures for a direct and economically beneficial way forwards.
The strengths of the TNS framework are the limited number of system conditions and the clearly defined strategic steps. That makes the sustainability work remain rational and focus can be held on creation of success instead of avoiding dead ends. The strength of the course as a whole was not only the TNS framework but also the amazing group of committed participants, united by a common belief in a better future. The gathered knowledge in sustainability was massive and so many ideas and experiences were shared throughout the two days. At the end of the course I think we all felt that we had created a network of people that will be a great support to each other when implementing sustainability strategies in tomorrow’s businesses and organizations.
Finally I would like to share a quote from one of the participants:
“When somebody asked me ’What is the most environmentally sound thing to do?’ I answered ’You better lay down and die’. Since then I’ve been afraid of getting the question ‘What is the most sustainable thing I can do?’, but now I know the answer: Join a course with The Natural Step!”.