This is the blog of Petra Kuenkel, Executive Director of the Collective Leadership Institute and Member of the Club of Rome. My passion is to scale-up global collaboration skills for the sustainability of our world and the future of humankind. I promote and teach Collective Leadership as the capacity of a collective to catalyse positive change for the common good.
The older I get the more I notice that the way I feel has a direct influence on the way I impact on the world. This sounds like a profane insight, but actually it is an inconvenient insight. It tells me that if I want to make my contribution to the world count, I better manage my energy in the best possible way. It also tells me that the more aware I become of how to manage my energy the more equanimous I become with what happens to me. Now, what to do with this insight?
Mural Potsdam by Petra Kuenkel
Here is something I tried out and it worked really well. I remembered a coach once telling me that what gets measured gets improved. I resisted this sentence for a while because I have a serious dislike for the modern obsession of measuring everything. However, the thought came to my mind – why not measuring my energy level on a daily basis?
Here is how it works:
Choose a scale (I chose 1 to 10) – the lower figures describing very low energy which usually shows up as a depressed feeling, anger, worry, fear, insecurity, feeling overwhelmed, etc. and the higher end of the scale describing high energy which usually shows up as joy, confidence, feeling that I am up to the task, gratitude, courage, strong intention, achievement, satisfaction, etc. You can make your own inventory explaining high and low.
Take a moment every evening to review your day and locate your energy level of the day (sometimes you have to make it an average) on the scale – for example: today was a seven, I felt generally ok, had some highs, because I moved something further, but did not feel totally happy. And so on….
Run this for a months and you really get into it – because it starts annoying you, if you energy levels are low for a few consecutive days!
Now, this is the moment when the measuring gets you thinking and observing.
You start asking yourself what you consider a really good energy level (for me it anything above 7) that you would aspire to and that helps you make a difference in the world
You also start thinking what is it that makes up an above scale 7 day and this gets you thinking how you can influence your energy.
This gets you to planning your days differently and soon you get into the drivers’ seat – you start managing your energy more consciously.
And this is just the beginning. Watch my next blog posts on energy managing – you will be amazed how this starts influencing your life and your #collectiveleadership skills.
This blogpost illustrates the dimension HUMANITY in the Collective Leadership Compass. It zooms into its aspect of BALANCE. For more insights on leading collectively with the Compass, subscribe to my blog.
I believe every human being has an initial deeper intention: the intuitive, half-rational, half non-rational feeling or insight, during childhood or adolescence, that the world can be a different place. This is a search for meaning that drives us, a quest that informes the choices we make.
It is an unconscious response to a call that is deeper than surface reality. It is almost a knowing that comes from a timeless place, a place that contains the eternal potential for humanity’s reconciliation.
When I began to talk with other leaders about their young leadership stories I realized the immense role of this earlier intention. For others, too, there was at least a trace of a memory of wanting to change the world or of wanting to be a force for good.
Does this sound familiar to you: the to-do-lists are ever emerging and never-ending lists of chores, it remains a challenges to get the priorities clear, yet you know what you want to change in the world for the better?
If we begin to only manage or administer endless list and numbers, if we avoid leading over a longer period of time, how we impact on the world is a far cry from our deeper intention and bears little relation to our quest, our source of energy and subsequently our creativity dwindles.
Then it is time to stop, take a breath and remember: leading is a creative process. It takes place in a balanced relationship between the emergence of our own voice and vision, and our increasing ability to listen to the world and other people. As we observe our own transformative process, we notice that of others traveling with us.
Well known leadership experts say, if you want to achieve something, start with the end in mind. Can we make it happen that by the end of 2015 women are at centre stage in sustainability leadership?
I think we can. But it needs us all.
The guardian sustainable business hub has made a brilliant start with its discussion on women in sustainability . Good start. But don’t we need a bigger shift?
We have come up to this point in our human development with a rather unbalanced relationship between men and women in positions of power. It has brought us up to here. Sustainability cannot be achieved with exactly how we have been approaching things in the past. I think this is clear to all. Other aspects need to be included in bringing forth reality in the form of a liveable future. The world needs a more balanced relationship between the way women and man build future.
Professional women are around. In millions and millions. Probably less interested in issues of power and less interested in being exposed to media. They are doing their jobs. Help them a little to come centre stage. It will help us all. Getting women into a stronger driving seat is crucial for sustainability. Why?
It took me years to understand that human intelligence must be seen both as an individual and a collective phenomenon – although this insight is not new. Dialogic settings – the only way to harness collective intelligence – are essentially human and have a long tradition in human history.
Dialogue is a communicative structure, and as such can become a container for the awareness of mutuality and interdependence. In a circle hierarchy is not structurally exposed, nor are lines of communication influenced by the seating order. But the essence is that each person sees herself as important as he or she sees the others, and therefore everybody respects a space in which each person’s aspect or point of view is heard and valued.
We all wish to be creative, and in fact – we all are. But creativity has its own rhythms and dynamics. Bringing the creative urge back into our life is not always easy. Because it requires phases of non-action – not something we have many opportunities to do in the daily rush of events.
It may help to unearth what our pattern of creativity is. One thing is sure – when we are creative, our heart is involved, we feel closer to life, and no matter how aware of it we are, we feel closer to our deepest values.
People are different, so the ways that enable their creativity to flow are different. Allowing our creative expression to well up from a deeper source requires emptiness within. This can mean a mind that rests in silence; it can take the form of withdrawal, into nature, into ourselves, into a busy crowd we are somehow separated from. It is anything that allows an inward process of connection.
When we want to bring forth sustainability, we need to engage people. Be it in the area of sustainable production and consumption, environmental management, resource protection, responsible supply chain management, energy efficiency, climate adaptation, social cohesion, demographic change or sustainable business.
My experience is that people engage when they resonate with the content and goal of an endeavor, an initiative, or a change process. The questions: what can we do to make this happen?