NY Times – Funding and Remedies for Global Warming Challenges Not for the Benefit of Those Most Effected

On the front page of yesterday’s Sunday NY Times there was a very interesting article by Andrew C. Revkin about the costs and exposures associated with climate change. Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms.

No matter what side of the fence you may sit on (man-made or natural phenomena), the fact of the matter is that global warming will have a disproportionate effect on people who can least afford it and “those in harm’s way are beginning to speak out.”

“We have a message here to tell these countries, that you are causing aggression to us by causing global warming,” President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February. “Alaska will probably become good for agriculture, Siberia will probably become good for agriculture, but where does that leave Africa?”

It’s not difficult to see why many believe that the next major war in the world could be fought over water.  

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Harvard Business Review – Sailing the Seas of Business

Back in January when we launched the Sea-Fever Consulting LLC website I wrote about the influences in choosing our name: 

We believe that the sea is a strong and effective metaphor for business. Both present an ever changing environment and those that don’t adjust can find themselves far off course or worse.

Today more than ever organizations need to find their“star to steer by.”  Sea-Fever will help you “navigate challenges” and “discover opportunities.”

It was exciting to read the From the Editor column in the March 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  Editor and managing director Thomas A. Stewart opens the issue by writing:  

“It’s more complicated than you think.” That could almost be our motto. Most business situations, the kind that come to the attention of the senior decision makers you are, require that leaders get a couple of big things right: the destination, so people know where they’re going, and a pole-star, so they don’t get lost. But the voyage itself is sure to be anything but clear sailing. Success comes to those who read and react to the unobvious but important complications of wind and current, who tack tirelessly in the face of adversity, who exploit every puff in the doldrums, who seize the chance for a long run downwind.

Sounds good to us!

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Transcendent Leadership

Michael Useem, Wharton professor and author of The Go Point (see review) participated in the recent World Economic Forum and reported about the experience over on The Huffington Post yesterday. The World Economic Forum: A Call to Exercise Global Leadership, Not Just Self Interest. Useem wrote:

…the event also served to define and reinforce a shared culture among participants. Central to that culture is an emphasis on transcendent leadership — the idea that standing above all other values is the ideal of a joint commitment to bettering the planet.

Business leaders, the British prime minister (Tony Blair) suggested, must therefore move beyond “corporate social responsibility” to embrace a “strategic engagement with the moral imperatives of the era.”

Powerful and ambitious words are what we should expect from our leaders; however, several recognized that they will ring hollow if not converted into action.

E. Neville Isdell, CEO of Coca-Cola and co-chair of the Forum, warned that the outside world sometimes viewed Davos as “the epicenter of ego” — and that the calling was now for all participants to make it, instead, “the epicenter of commitment.” James J. Schiro, CEO of Zurich Financial Services and another co-chair of the Forum, followed with a call to action. “I’ve been coming here for 15 years, and what’s evident is the rise of a focus on leadership and change.” Consequently, “I would ask everybody, when you return home, to exercise your leadership.”

Leadership is about making possible what was once perceived impossible. Transcendent leadership presents a vision of optimism, hope and a better world for all.  Does transcendent leadership represent what would be Collins’ Level 6? 

Only time will tell whether or not these world leaders who meet in Davos can set aside their provincial mindsets and make a collective difference in solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

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Uncle Pete

This morning my mother called with some sad news; her brother, Pete passed away last night. Uncle Pete had been very sick for quite a while so this was not a big surprise. However, the loss of a family member is never easy.

Uncle Pete had a very special place in my life when I was a young boy. He was my godfather and the uncle that gave me the chance to do things that I would never be able to do at home. Uncle Pete taught me how to handle a gun and he took me hunting. He taught me how to ride a minibike which ultimately forced my parents to give in and let me buy my own. Going to his house was always a blast!

This brings me back to my earlier post about how experiences form and inform us as we travel through life and that their impact can grow strong as we get older. Uncle Pete represented adventure, excitement and fun. However, in all the things that we kids did with him, safety was priority #1.  At a very early age I learned about responsibility, accountability and respect from Uncle Pete. These were important lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life.

When I got a little older and had more distractions as a teen, Uncle Pete played less of a role in my life and we pretty much went separate ways. However, the experiences that we have and the lessons that we learn when we are children are hugely important in who we ultimately become. I thank Uncle Pete for exposing me to things I would never otherwise have experienced and, consciously or unconsciously, teaching me some pretty important things (values).

Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in recognition of the holiday last night I reread his Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963). I am sure that I must have read it previously in a highschool or college civics course but I more recently became re-acquainted with it when I participated in Aspen Institute’s Executive Seminar last May. If you have not read it or need a refresher like me, you can find online and downloadable versions here.

I believe that King’s letter is an amazing work for many reasons with one of the most important being that it effectively frames the difficult conversation. This is no small feat. Sitting in a jail cell presents a limited range of options for leadership but King quickly responds to the opportunity created by the Alabama clergymen’s public statement (April 12, 1963) directed at him regarding the nonviolent demonstrations taking place in their community. It is a very powerful piece of writing and worth the time it takes to read closely. Continue reading Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.