Watching the promises made at COP26 fritter away brings to mind the similarities between it and most company strategy awaydays and self-help retreats.
One of the things that most of the multi-$Bn self-help industry knows is that it’s easier to sell a dream than the hard work to do it. And that people can come to your dream retreats and leave on a high at having “committed” to the dream.
As it is of self-help, so it is of climate change. We heard the euphoria from COP26 that temperatures will be constrained to an increase of “only” 1.8 degrees. We saw the pledges by countries which steward 85% of global forests to increase forestation. 190 countries pledged to reduce dependency on coal.
And during “unprecedented” (the mot-de-decade) heatwaves, we’re seeing them backtrack on what it takes to turn those pledges to reality.
And so it is…
.. Of strategy and strategy awaydays. “We will be the world’s leading provider of gerbil-related B2B services”.
… Of values. “We pride ourselves on really really caring a lot”.
… Of purpose. “We dedicate ourselves to the eradication of world hunger…”.
… Of mission. “… through the use of Microsoft Sharepoint Server”.
All of these are to be welcomed for sure. If we don’t have an intention to reforest the planet, we’re not likely to go on and do it except by accident.
Which is not a great strategy.
But there are two kinds of intention. There’s the kind that’s more of a wish. I include the approach to most company objectives here.
And then there’s the kind that comes with consistent, ugly, hard, inconvenient, and at times frankly boring action to get it done.
This is the kind of intention we need for the 1.8 degrees to become real (let alone 1.5).
It’s also the kind of intention most company leaders in my experience need to get their objectives, strategies, values and purpose done.
Absolutely start with the euphoria of direction – it’s hard to build up enthusiasm without this. But swiftly move on to commitment and action.
And go against the behaviours that our political leaders are demonstrating.
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