6 ways to screw up any sustainability message

Not getting the results you want?  Maybe there’s a reason.  I’m repeatedly amazed at how little many (extremely smart) sustainability advocates seem know about the art and craft of influencing. Poorly crafted sustainability messages are as destructive as any other form of junk mail.  How many of these screw-ups have you seen recently? 1. Only talk about the bad news …

"Just" is a 4-letter word

“Human behaviour doesn’t fit into a simple cause/effect model…. Resist simplifications…” – Margo Main In an increasingly complex world, “just” is a symptom of over-simplification that blinds us to  possibilities for systems transformation.  Maybe it’s an excess of super-hero movies, technology overwhelm, or an industrial culture of production line thinking. A single-answer “solution” about sustainability (or any other wicked problem) …

Force fields for change-making

Changing human systems starts with understanding them and the glue that holds them together. Human systems are heavily geared towards maintaining themselves and they often actively resist change. They want to conserve themselves. (Equally true for individuals, families, communities, organisations and societies.) Human systems also have the potential to transform themselves when the need arises. Given a big enough breakdown …

Two quick tools for change-makers

Whether you’re considering joining our Summer School in January, setting personal objectives for 2015 or planning some quiet world changing, here are two tools for a kick-start. Each has a more detailed version for you to download and explore. Beginning with a WELL-FORMED end in mind… Five quick questions to check the quality of the objectives that you’re setting are: …

What types of conversations AREN’T you having?

If you’re into influencing and personal effectiveness then you’re in the conversation game.   It’s a game that many of us learned like we learned walk – by copying others without too much conscious consideration of the specifics of what we were doing. For some of us, even the suggestion that there are different types of conversations with different purposes …

Planet of the Regenerators

Language, being and the business of sustainability

At the heart of all sustainability challenges is the core system requiring an upgrade – the human system.   “Business”, “the economy”, “the supply chain” etc. are ultimately processes where human beings act and interact in social systems. Understanding HOW humans go about the process of organising themselves as individuals and in groups (their ontology)  is critical to sustainability at all levels – from personal …

Myers Briggs as a tool for innovators

A common topic in many of my coaching conversations – especially with sustainability practitioners – is that there are useful models for understanding HOW people are different and what motivates different groups. I’ve found that the four Temperament Types is a useful model for understanding and influencing and gives clients some useful ‘aha’ moments as to why “they’re not listening” …

High class communicators listen differently…

“High class communicators take the responsibility to interpret the understanding of their audience in order to be understood the way they want to be understood.”  Alan Sieler – Newfield Institute. I re-sat Newfield Institute’s 3-day Ontological Coaching In Action workshop last week.   Ontological Coaching is an ongoing practice – like yoga – that helps me be more grounded, balanced and …

Regenerative Design

Observing sustainability differently…

“We don’t see how things are, we see them according to how WE are”.   ― Anaïs Nin Modern neurobiology is providing evidence of what philosophers have been saying for a long time. What we observe is controlled and filtered by our beliefs and values, particularly in complex situations.  How we see and respond to situations is based on who WE are. …

If you can talk, you can change the world…

There’s a proverb from Zimbabwe that my singing teacher quoted a lot: “If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.” Not so many years ago, how humans went about the business of behaviour change was pretty much a mystery.  Those who could do it and do it well were considered to have ‘a way …

Major New Fernando Flores Work Product

As one of the big thinkers behind the development of Ontological Coaching, Fernando Flores is always worth reading.  This article is particularly relevant to environmental sustainability and regenerative business: “Fernando Flores has just delivered a major report to the nation of Chile on the subjects of innovation and preparing for the future. In English, SURFING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: CHILE ON …

Revisiting ‘the cycle of hope’…

Early in my sustainability journey I came across The Better World Handbook . The wisdom in its introduction empowered me to manage some of my emotions about “the tough stuff” and whether this sustainability thing was for me. As I sat down to do some planning for the coming year it seemed a good time to share the Cycle of Hope …

Telescope

Galileo, heresy, physics and the emerging regenerative economy…

Many years ago, the subject History and Philosophy of Science was a required subject in my undergraduate degree.  In it I learned about Galileo – the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who championed heliocentrism – the then controversial proposition that the earth went around the sun.  The mindset change he championed resonates strongly with the shift to regenerative thinking.

Environment: Be angry, but not aggressive…

In a global culture where an underlying mood of aggression and distrust is deeply and subtly embedded, it’s easy to respond to the multiple and increasing threats of ecosystem breakdown with the same aggression that we see played out on a daily basis. However, this is a place where Einstein’s famous quote is absolutely relevant: “Problems cannot be solved with …

Enough with the ‘why’ already!!!

Let’s talk about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of profitable sustainability – because “why we should” has been done to death… Humans need more than why stuff for behaviour change.  If a good reason why was enough to create behaviour change then we wouldn’t have problems with smoking, obesity or any number of other ‘challenges’. To make effective change, most of us need more than …