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Mother of all strategies

A good strategy is based on wide awareness of one’s business environment. The direction and speed of the transformation at hand is more interesting than the current status. Rational analysis is not enough, you must feel and sense what is hidden from reason.

An observation regarding our shared business environment:  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists -article  gives a very concrete picture of the heat effect on seas: “Earth is heating at a rate equivalent to five atomic bombs per second. Or two Hurricane Sandys”.

All the icebergs are melting

We all know the iceberg metaphor. Most of the iceberg is below water, out of sight. Only by diving into cold water we can observe how most of the iceberg is feeling. If the busy everyday work on top of the iceberg takes all of our energy, we don’t have time to observe the deep essence of our organisation and the weak signals of our business environment.

Everyone who has been involved in strategy work also knows Kotter’s  “sense of urgency” : Change begins only when there’s a sense of urgency.  Some people think we’re not in a hurry when it comes to dealing with  climate change. Some fear that it’s already too late. I sense that both extremes are wrong.

Daily we carry on the same way, without really noticing it – we start the same routines every morning and believe everything is ok.  Otto Scharmer  creator of Theory U, calls this “downloading”.  He urges us to open our mind, heart and will, and listen to ourselves, each other and the future. We must listen, stop and act from a deeper Source of knowing. We must learn not only from the past, but also from the future – our greatest potential.

In the Bloomberg Green -article billionaire and investor Jeremy Grantham says that everything is accelerating and this speeding up is caused by climate crisis. Apparently he’s an ex-billionaire, since he has donated most of his money to the fight against climate crisis. Seems the money is also melting and starts to flow towards new directions – “greed is good” turns into “green is good”. This is great news.

All the icebergs are melting, not just the one iceberg where your organisation is. Also your competitors’ and clients’ icebergs are melting. Separate icebergs are melting into the sea, and becoming one. What was hidden, becomes visible: today’s strategic thinking urges us to open up to networks and look for more creative collaborative dialogue. The time has come to open our thinking, hearts and strategies.

All egos are melting

Grantham mentions another piece of good news: also technical innovations are accelerating:  ”The technology is just amazing. One pleasant surprise after another.” However, technical innovations are not enough, we need mental transcendence as well. Grantham is reflecting the paradox of capitalism: in the weekends we are altruistic family members, we love our children and on Sunday lunch we look far ahead to the future of our grandchildren, but during the work week we strike hard to maximise short-term profits, with no mercy and regardless of the consequences.

This can’t go on. A collective shift in awareness is possible only, if the system is capable of sensing and seeing itself. We must stop to look at ourselves and our actions on this planet.

The shift we need today is from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness. Egosystem awareness isolates humankind from other species and life on planet Earth, we see ourselves as consumers without limits.  Ecosystem thinking makes humans one species among others, with the same destiny as any species under the rules of evolution – the survival of the most adaptive, as Darwin put it. That is a quantum jump from independence to interdependence.

Guardian interviewed Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate change convention when the Paris agreement was achieved in 2015. She says this issue will be solved during this decade, by us. This is not the time for gloominess and surrender. This is the time for action and hope.

How does your organisation participate in solving the climate crisis?

This is the mother question of all strategies. Your management team is free to choose any reply, as long as you do it with awareness. The markets will recognise your decision. The content of your reply to the mother question will show you the purpose and direction for your strategy work – you still have to deal with all the usual strategic issues.

As our existing business environment is melting, we end up swimming in the same water with our competitors and customers. That might be a great way get to know each other and create new kinds of networks, to find leadership and self-direction from everybody, to understand work and life in a totally new way, to learn how to learn faster and to feel better together.

Perhaps mankind-wide creative collaboration is the only way to survive, but there might be awesome opportunities for economic growth as well – as long as the growth is carbon neutral.

The future could be slower, more compassionate and more moderate. There could be more space for Human Being. I’m quite curious. Anything can happen. See you in the water.

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