Leading for Resounding Impact

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An Emergent Framework for Cultivating Resilient Communities in the 21st Century 2012 series: excerpts from SAGE 2012 publication.

Uncertainty is a hallmark of the 21st century as we envision the possibility of global equilibrium and collective wellbeing while confronting the reality of having exceeded the limits to growth. Sustainability has become an ethical imperative for all leadership.

With sustainability at the forefront, it is important to remember that the challenges to be transformed are what David Orr would describe as “a miscalibration between human intentions and ecological results, which is to say that they are a kind of design failure” (Orr, 2002, p. 14). When approached as a matter of design, it becomes evident that leadership plays the critical role in solving the current social-ecological design problem on Earth—a charge to meet by co-creating with collective intelligence. Fortunately, the framework of restorative leadership provides guidance for what it takes to lead for resounding impact at this planet-critical time.

Restorative leadership recognizes the interconnectedness of all life and acts for the highest benefit to all. Engaging in restorative leadership involves embracing the responsibilities to do no harm and to heal the Earth, our communities, and our selves, moving toward what is naturally our best and most balanced expression of universal values and natural laws.

Restorative leadership is visionary, courageous, and infinitely creative in generating yet unfulfilled possibilities. Because it reflects a holistic perspective on leading and living, empowered action is simply accessible to anyone anywhere, starting wherever we are and with whatever is in front of us. It is an approach to leadership that compels a level of positive impact unimaginable at earlier times, made possible by scaling across networks of connectivity. At the very least, to do so takes systems thinking, participatory engagement, unwavering commitment, and generosity of spirit. It requires the hopeful resolve to empower basic goodness and human potential to sustain diverse and abundant life on Earth.

Read more about how to lead for resounding impact in our recent SAGE publication.