Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World articulates the importance of organizational learning and systems thinking in any field and helped me incorporate these concepts into my own management style. Over a discussion of his book sponsored by Net Impact Boston, NIB members from industries such as architecture, software, solar technology, investment and marketing, nonprofits and the public sector met Senge’s call to sustainability with enthusiasm.
Drawing from the theoretical framework for a sustainable organization and the case studies presented by Senge, the crux of our discussion focused on how to create change within our own organizations and networks. We found Senge’s advice on how to identify stakeholders or changemakers in each department, develop a plan for approaching senior management and pitch the idea to be valuable. Then we shared more specific strategies with each other, such as talking to human resources about which staff would be most receptive to the idea, researching what similar organizations have done to meet this challenge and what their results have been, and identifying local resources.
We agreed that it is easier to integrate sustainability into an organization’s vision when it is starting up. And being the entrepreneurial group that we are, a few start-up ideas were exchanged.
At one point in the discussion, someone asked, “How do you stimulate creative thought processes within an organization?” As I looked around the table at NIB members who exude both the passion for sustainability and the relational intelligence that Senge identifies as key leadership attributes, I couldn’t help but reflect that we didn’t have to look too far…
The most burning question I have for Peter Senge is: What role can an organization like Net Impact Boston play in advancing his vision of a sustainable world?