Showing posts with label organizations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organizations. Show all posts

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Learning and Working and Volunteering, Oh My.

What's changed the most where you live, work, play, and learn since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic?

I started writing this article after the onset of the pandemic about how quickly our lives changed. Life immediately turned topsy turvy for all of us, and these thoughts slipped through the cracks just as promptly as they came.

A year later, and having just read Bill Gates' How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, I'm reminded of the relative nature of these thoughts, and two from Bill that coincide.

The first relays the importance of getting from 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases (the total our world adds to the atmosphere every year) to zero. Citing numerous sources, even those addressing scientific uncertainties, Bill notes there are two key areas we need to address in order for progress to be effective:


We can try to minimize the impact of the changes that are already here and that we know are coming.


To have any hope of staving off disaster, the world's biggest emitters—the richest countries—have to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Middle-income countries need to get there soon after and then the rest of the world following suit. There's more to the book and these notions than addressed here, but, just as Maya Wiley reminds us during her campaign to be New York City's mayor, ‘To change everything, we need everyone’.

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The second specific thought Bill brings was a summary point under one of the final chapters, 'Why Government Choices Matter'. He writes that when we focus on technology, policies, and markets simultaneously,

We can encourage innovation, spark new companies, and get new products into the market fast.

Business models of yesterday have attempted these actions independent of each of other, their industries, and especially globalization efforts, and many today are doing better. However, if industries driving the world of commerce, and the infrastructure built around that effort, coordinate work with progressive governed policies, effective change can be within humanity's grasp.

For myself, and through continued conversations with others at work, at home, and through community action in the last couple of years alone, I hear how the new busy-ness of the pandemic is exhausting. I couldn't agree more. This circular dialogue accomplishes little to none and frustrates more.

So, how can each of us do better in every aspect of our lives?

Employers: Whether you're speaking with people working from home, in the field, or in the office, do not give them extra work for fear of loss productivity. People already working from home have developed remarkably effective strategies to find balance. Trust them, listen to them, and don't add work.

Parents: Speaking as a parent, a former public school teacher, and as a global citizen, kids always need to be in the know. We need to give young people reasonable breaks, even extended ones. Yes, we continue to find ways to incorporate at-home learning before going 'back to school', but we need to alleviate stress, for them and us, by not applying undue pressure, at home or for their education specifically.

Educational Institutions: Offer more, expect less. So many students, and parents, had difficulties before the pandemic. And there continue to be so many misconceptions about what's applicable to all. Municipally governed entities, in particular, need to remain sensitive to this, even long after we start to recover from the pandemic.

Organizations: Where volunteers are concerned, don't see this as a time to deploy new strategies or you very well may face burning out your existing base and overreaching as other organizations seek new opportunities as well. For people already facing a multitude of hardships in this moment, volunteers need more of a respite than ever before.

Life is already stressful, and adding additional, un-manageable workloads, for students, employees, and volunteers alike, is unnecessary provided that we stay focused on the future. In fact, as Bill notes, we should spend the next decade focusing on structural changes to put us on the path to eliminating greenhouse gases by 2050.

It's hard to think of a better response to a miserable 2020 than spending the next ten years dedicating ourselves to this ambitious goal.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Transparency In Leadership

Transparency is as vital in our personal life as it is in our professional or even public one. And there is no better place to discover transparency in ourselves than through the lens of our most immediate relationships. If a leader, elected or volunteer, wants to create and maintain dialogue with others, they need to be as transparent as possible and at all times.

Starting with leadership, transparency helps us measure success. Successful leaders recognize their obligation to help the people they work with and the common cause. Moreover, leaders consistently ask for continuous support as purely, fully, and freely as they offer it. This is transparency in action.

Leaders help us grow. How many of us have personally experienced, whether in recent months or distant years, the difficulty in establishing or maintaining relationships with leaders? Although even just one person experiencing issues with transparency in leadership is problematic, twice that, or more, hinders growth.

Leaders should always be transparent. Transparency reveals a leader's actions when they clearly go against the common cause. In these unfortunate scenarios, this is typically good cause for a change in leadership. But if we want progress, if we want change, we need leaders that are a constant example of transparency.