A good strategy is based on a comprehensive understanding of the business environment. It is more important to focus on the direction and rate of change than on the present situation. Rational understanding is not enough. Instead, you need to know what is hidden from reason.
Review the business environment: According to the illustration in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article, the thermal effect caused by warmer atmosphere to water is equivalent to the release of five Hiroshima atomic bombs in water – every second.
ALL ICEBERGS WILL MELT
We are all familiar with the iceberg metaphor. Most of the iceberg is underwater, invisible. Only by diving into cold water can you see what the biggest part of the iceberg looks like. If the hassle of our everyday lives at the tip of our own iceberg takes all of our energy, we will not have the time to observe the deeper workings of the organisation and the weak signals from the environment.
Additionally, Kotter’s idea of the “sense of urgency” is one of the keywords in strategy work: a change requires a sense of timeliness and urgency to start happening. Some people think that climate measures are not urgent. Others are afraid that we are already late. I believe both extremes are incorrect.
In the middle of our busy lives, we will continue along the same path, even without noticing it. We start the same programme every morning and think that everything is fine. Otto Scharmer, the creator of the Theory U, uses the verb “downloading” to describe this phenomenon. Scharmer advises us to open up our minds, our hearts and our will, and to listen to ourselves, to each other and to the future. We need to listen, stop and act based on a deeper source of knowledge. Of course, we need to learn from the past, but it is even more important that we learn from the future, from the perspective of our highest development potential.
In a Bloomberg Green article, billionaire and investment guru Jeremy Grantham says that everything is accelerating due to climate struggles. Apparently, he is a former billionaire because he has donated almost all of his assets to the fight against the climate crisis. Even money will melt and start to flow into new directions, which is excellent news.
All icebergs melt, not just the iceberg at the top of which the visible activity of your organisation resides. The icebergs of your competitors and customers will also melt. Separate icebergs will melt in the sea and become one. What was hidden will become visible: in the strategic thinking of the new era, it is worth opening doors for networks and to strive for a more open dialogue in joint development. The time has come to open our minds, hearts, and strategies.
ALL EGOS WILL MELT
Grantham mentions another good bit of news – technological innovations are also increasing. However, technological innovations alone are not enough. We also need a mental transformation. Grantham wonders about the contradictions of capitalism. During the weekend, we are selfless members of our families, we love our children and look far into the future of our grandchildren at Sunday lunch, but during the working week, we strive to maximise short-term profits without remorse and with callous disregard of the consequences.
This cannot continue. A change of collective awareness is possible only if the system learns to see itself. So we need to stop and look at ourselves and our operations on this Earth.
In this era, we need a transition from the awareness of the ego-system to the awareness of the ecosystem. Ego-system based thinking is what separates humans from other species and life on Earth. We see ourselves as consumers of the world, without restrictions. Ecosystem-based thinking sees humans as one species among others. As all life on Earth, humans have the same fate dictated by evolution. In Darwin’s words, the most adaptable species are those that survive. This is a quantum leap from independence to the world of interdependence.
The Guardian interviewed Christiana Figueres, leader of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in 2015 in Paris. According to Figueres, climate change will be resolved during this decade and by us. This is not the time for gloom or retreat. It is the time for action and hope.
HOW DOES YOUR ORGANISATION CONTRIBUTE TO THE RESOLUTION OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS?
The mother of all questions concerning strategies is: “How does your organisation contribute to the resolution of the climate crisis?” In your management team, you can choose any response, as long as you do so knowingly. The markets will be aware of your decision. Your answer to the mother of all questions shows the significance and direction of your other strategy work, as all traditional strategic choices still need to be made.
As the current business environment is melting, we will soon have to swim with our competitors and customers. It can be a good way to explore and create new kinds of networks, find leadership and joint-direction from every one of us. Perhaps we will learn to understand our work and our lives in a completely new way, learn to make our learning more agile, and feel better as a community.
Perhaps humanity’s creative cooperation is the only way to stay alive, but it may also bring powerful opportunities for economic growth – provided that this growth is carbon neutral.
It may also be the case that the new era is slower, more compassionate, and more reasonable. Perhaps there is more room to be human. I’m actually quite curious. Anything can happen. The only certain advice I can give is that you should no longer work together for a common coal (pun intended). See you in the water.