Monday, April 11, 2011

Keeping Enemies Closest

The focus on enviromental sustainablity is consistantly growing as the recognition for this type of involvement gives more value to company's name. Various contests based on progress ratings are becoming incresingly more popular within all types of organizations and serve as a tool to encourage innovation and result in desired outcomes benefiting the enviroment as well as the reputation of the company.In  "Corporate Sustainability, Competition and Collaboration", David Schatsky talks about the factors that influence the success of these project. Having enviromentaly-focused efforts directed to numerous directions, companies of all sizes are taking their steps within their power and ability to make an impact. But what about the bigger issues that require  funding, human power or legal support that average size oraganization is not able to provide? This is when combining certain assets for two or more companies is the only option to accomplish the given goal. As collaboration takes place between the companies towards a common goal, the ultimate benefits are also mutually allocated among them. Characteristics of transactional leadership are seen in the aspect of sharing or exchanging unique features to move the partner ahead while acquiring benefit that the company would not have had if had worked on its own. The two are primaraly watching out for their own benefit as transactions take place. It is important to note that the projects are chosen based on ethical standards such as "Building the Community" which emphasizes the importance of the goal being of common interest to the community affected by it. The over-all goal of making an impact in the world, depending on the scale of the project would more often be more successful with aspects of transformational leadership as bigger impact, values-based projects would take place calling for more motivational, assertive leadership in process of reaching higher, more idealistic goals; such as changing entire production plan of given products in order to support a newly implemented standards for usage of biodegradable materials only.
The article focuses on the balance of collaboration and competition. The idea of initially uniting powers, solely for the purpose of getting ahead enough to compete against each others ratings down the road may seem confusing. While it may not be the desired path for most companies, it is also initiated by ethical motifs and true virtues of the company. Choosing the more altruistic option to action supports many aspects of social responsibility and in return highlights the positive characteristics of the organization for the public.
Goals focused on the good of external agents should be lead by authentic, interpersonal leadership allowing emphasis on the passion and compassion for a great purpose generating truly transformational results.
The question is how heavily should ethics be considered? When is it okay to cross over to the competition side, bringing down the competitor along with the progress made toward previously shared goal? Is it okay to work towards a goal and follow ethical standards just for the face value of benefiting one's name but become counterproductive towards the same goal when shifting to competition mode?

Mingaile Orakauskaite

Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke implements green initiative

When Mike Duke became CEO of Wal-Mart, he knew that as a leader of such a large, influential company, he had to lead a change in sustainability.  With over 2 million employees and 4800 stores, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States. Wal-Mart is so large, than one out of every three dollars worldwide is associated with a company that does business with Wal-Mart. Duke knew that by implementing a new green initiative, he could change the retail industry. Duke developed a green initiative with three goals:  One-hundred percent renewable energy, zero percent waste, and sustainable products for customers and the environment. Within a few months of implementing this new strategy, Wal-Mart was using 4 billion fewer plastic bags, delivering 70 million more boxes, while driving 100 million fewer miles. Wal-Mart’s new transportation strategy has improved efficiency by 38%, saving the company more that $200 million annually, while also cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 200,000 tons per year. Wal-Mart has also become the world’s largest buyer of organic milk and cotton. Duke understood that the key to his strategy was not just within the stores, but within the supply chain. Wal-Mart is showing its suppliers how to change their shipping, packaging, storing, selling, heating, cooling, disposing, and recycling strategies, in order to save money while improving the environment. Mike Duke is not just a manager at Wal-Mart, but is a leader in change. He is trying to create a change for the future by implementing a new green strategy. Duke has proved that he is an authentic leader according to the interpersonal definition of authentic leadership. His leadership towards sustainability not only involves Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart’s suppliers as well. Not only is Duke expressing his strong values and a concern for his customers, he is motivating Wal-Mart’s suppliers to “buy in” to Wal-Mart’s new green strategy. 

Do you think Wal-Mart is doing the right thing by pushing its suppliers to follow its green initiaitive?

Do you feel Wal-Mart is bullying its suppliers by forcing them to abide by certain green standards?

Should other large companies follow Wal-Mart's lead?

Posted by: Jerret Baker

Is Prince Charles an Authentic Leader?

The link above is a video of a speech given by Prince Charles regarding his take on environmental issues such as low carbon prosperity and the world's dependence on oil.  The address was given to the European Parliament, and the near 29 minute speech was a plea for increased accountability and continued progress.  The question remains, however; is Prince Charles an authentic leader?  Prince Charles has been well publicized for his stance on the environment, but is it a serious concern or a celebrity ploy?

There are many different approaches and definitions of authentic leadership, but for the sake of consistency and reference I will only use the developmental approach.  According to the developmental definition of authentic leadership, authentic leaders are nurtured and developed over time.  Generally, a significant and major life event might trigger the call to leadership, and leader behavior is grounded in positive psychological qualities and strong ethics.  In addition, authentic leadership can be identified by four components:  self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency.

Did Prince Charles ever have one of those "trigger moments?"  His life has been chronicled and publicized since day one, and I struggled to find anything that stood out as a "special moment" that could have jump-started his passion for the environment.  Does that mean that he is not authentic?  Absolutely not, as most people's breakthrough moments are internal and have special significance for the individual.  Those moments don't necessarily have to have any significance to spectators, and it is very possible that Prince Charles had that moment without anyone taking notice.  During my research, I did discover that Prince Charles has had a passion for the environment for roughly 30 years, and his life's work seems to back that up.  I can not prove that Prince Charles is an authentic leader from this, but it is impossible to disprove it either.

The first component of authentic leadership is self-awareness, and that refers to one's knowledge of one's character, feelings, motivators, and desires.  Prince Charles certainly has that.  His body of work and most recently his address to the European parliament reveals his knowledge of his position, his passion for his topic, and his clear vision.  The second component is internalized moral perspective, and this refers to someone using their own morals and beliefs to guide their behavior.  Prince Charles clearly believes that creating a better world for future generations is the right thing to do, so he spends his time donating to the cause and delivering addresses geared towards the cause.  In his private life, he owns a sustainable farm and believes in alternative medicine.  His beliefs definitely guide his actions.  The third component is balanced processing, and this refers to an individual's ability to analyze information objectively and seek opinions of other people.  Prince Charles's address mentioned a great deal of research and statistics, and he also spoke on behalf of several prominent experts and organizations, so it would be safe to say that he listens carefully and analyzes the opinions of many people.  The fourth component is relational transparency ,and this refers to being open and honest in regards to one's true feelings and beliefs.  Prince Charles practices relational transparency almost by default, as his life has been chronicled throughout his existence.  Even without that, however, Prince Charles shares his views and beliefs very openly.

After this analysis, I believe that Prince Charles is in fact an authentic leader.  Many of these points were based on speculation however, and a real answer can only be found by delving inside of Prince Charles's psyche.  What do you think?  Is Prince Charles an authentic leader?

-Jonathan Lucento


Who says it’s not easy being green? Nurses and Health care leaders Promote Healing, Environmentally Friendly Facilities

An extremely important, and often times overlooked aspect of effective, authentic, and transformational leadership is the practice of Ethics. The word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, meaning customs, conduct, or character. There are many different approaches and theories concerning ethics that attempt to categorize what is moral and for what reasons. One ethical approach is Altruism, and suggest that actions are moral if their primary purpose is to promote the best interest of others. The  Boulder Community Foothills Hospital is a great illustration of the ethical concept of Altruistic leadership and shows how patients and nurses can benefit from the pursuit of environmentally conscious programs.  

Recently there has been a growing movement to change the face of health care facility design, construction and operation; the emphasis is on making these structures more people & planet-friendly. ANA and nurses are an integral part of that movement. They believe that “what is good for the environment is also good for nurses and patients,” said Nancy Hughes, MS, RN, director of ANA’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.  In addition to its own efforts to promote healthy work-places, ANA is a founding partner of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) and a member of Health Care without Harm (HCWH). Both coalitions advance sound environmental practices that protect the health of people and the environment. “New green building design isn’t just about looking pretty,” Hughes said. “There’s science behind it. Research shows that elements, such as natural lighting and healing gardens, reduce stress in patients, families and staff.

The ANA also acknowledges that certain practices that have been part of the health care industry for a long time, such as the use of mercury containing products and often the production of a vast amount of waste. These practices can negatively affect the environment, and in turn, the greater community. Robin Guenther, a leading architect in the green building movement said, “Hospitals, for the most part, are mission driven. Once administrators and staff make the connection between the health services they provide and the benefits of environmental design, they want to do the right thing."

When Kai Abelkis came on board as the environmental coordinator of Boulder Community Hospital (BCH) in Colorado in 1999, the facility already had programs to reduce its impact on the environment, though they largely focused on waste reduction. With BCH’s ongoing support, Abelkis expanded the facility’s environmental efforts, including implementing water-reduction programs and purchasing environmentally-friendly products, such as those without extraneous packaging. (H2E has recognized the Boulder Health Care Center as an environmental leader.)

As part of its water-conservation plan, the Foothills facility incorporated “xeriscaping” – meaning the surrounding grounds are landscaped with plants native to Colorado and those that require less water. Leaving no stone unturned, water-saving product choices inside the structure include waterless urinals and low-flow faucets in clinical areas. To cut down on transportation-related fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as support the local economy, much of the building material originated and was manufactured in the surrounding communities. Additionally, construction waste was reduced by roughly 60 percent. Employees are encouraged to ride their bikes or carpool to work – with accommodations made to support those activities.  The location of the building also was precisely determined to keep its “environmental footprint” small – with attention spent to preserving area wetlands and a native prairie dog population. A vital part of the building design is to keep the impact of building operations on the environment minimal, such as by having a rigorous recycling program and continuing to think forward when it comes to green practices.

Do you think that other organizations will be influenced by the actions of BCH, and be inspired to promote more environmentally conscious building practices?

Are there any other environmental measures that could be taken to ensure the proper building of these hospitals? 

By: Jarett Diederich

The "Green Power Broker"

Since the start of this blog I've been wanting to write a post about Majora Carter. She is arguably one of the most if not the most influential woman in environmental change. After learning about transformational leadership, I've started to realize Majora fits perfectly in this category of leadership. She has many environmental projects that have been major successes but the most impressive thing about her is her ability to be a leader in ANY type of situation (private sector, non profit, etc) but to also help enable her followers. In an earlier post I questioned if there was ever going to be some type of leader that would be more effective with environmental change than others. I truly believe that transformational leadership is going to be the most successful in terms of reaching through to our society on environmental issues. Peter Northouse claims in our book that transformational leadership is ideal right now because of the uncertainty and fear our society is feeling. Transformational leadership inspires and empowers individuals and this is simply the need right now for our society as a whole. 

Here is an excerpt about her first green initiative from The Green Economy Post:

"Before going into the private sector, she founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 after writing a $1.25M Federal Transportation grant to design the South Bronx Greenway with 11 miles of alternative transport, local economic development, low-impact storm-water management, and recreational space. She has brought riverfront parks, green roofs, dramatically expanded the urban forest, created a community market,and successfully implemented the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program – seeding her community with a skilled green-collar workforce that has both a personal & economic stake in our environment.  It was one of the nation’s first urban green collar training and placement systems."

After working on the Sustainable South Bronx Carter has been president of a private, for-profit "green" economic consulting firm, The Majora Carter Group, LLC. They specialize in consulting for firms on how to go green along with also funding new green initiatives. Also, she has been in the media advocating for various issues and speaking on everything "green." She has been featured on countless radio shows, was a part of the original 6 TED videos released, and had a special on HBO. 

She is very interchangeable and can lead in literally any situation you put her in. What sets her apart however is her ability to truly connect with her followers. Currently our society has a need of shifting towards being more "green" and most of us are willing to or even want to, but no one has really shown us the way. She isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and is right in the "trenches" with everyone else on all of her projects. She has enabled the entire Bronx community and has not only provided jobs and programs for the community but has also shown her followers how to get one of these jobs or how to be a part of one of her programs. Her personality and her ability to inspire has allowed her to be a successful transformational leader. 

Majora Carter continues to be president of The Majora Carter Group and also still gives speeches frequently. She has been one of the most successful leaders in green and as others look to step up and lead I hope they take into account how she has leveraged transformational leadership into success. 

I do have a few questions to consider...

1. Do you believe Majora Carter is utilizing transformational leadership? If she isn't what type of leader do you feel she is?

2. Do you feel transformational leadership is an effective way to lead in the green initiative? 

Dan Salsinger

Steve Hoffman's HP Power Saving Initiative

                Over the past few years, Hewlett-Packard has been trying to develop new ways of decreasing carbon emissions and improving the energy efficiency of their computers.  Steve Hoffman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard, has been a leading advocate of this ongoing process.  Since the year 2005, HP has been able to improve the energy efficiency of their personal computers by over 40%. (Heimbuch,  2009).  In the year 2009, Hoffman declared that he wanted to see another 40% growth in efficiency in half the time it took to acquire the amount since the start of the project in 2005, meaning by 2011.  To put it in analytical terms, accomplishing this task would achieve the gain of an energy supply that could power a town of around 90,000 people for over a year. 
                In order to comply with this statement, Hoffman came up with four methods to reducing personal computer energy consumption.  These methods are: “designing energy-efficient hardware, improving green data center practices, working to change consumer behavior towards more efficient habits, and helping business customers improve the efficiency of HP products.”  The company has also included 150 more products under their EcoHighlights label and plans on using a total of 100 million pounds of recycled plastic items in its printing products.  One of the main focuses of Steve Hoffman is to try and increase awareness of the importance of recycling amongst the consumers who use Hewlett-Packard products.  I believe that a psychodynamic approach to this problem is the best course of action.  Utilizing the crossed transaction between an adult and another adult as described in Eric Berne’s transactional analysis, the awareness level can be thoroughly increased.  Since the adult ego-state revolves around the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that surround a person, sharing the problem with the consumer will hopefully increase the awareness of the problem and in turn invoke action to decrease the scope of the problem.  Since most of the consumers who purchase computer products are adults, using an adult ego-state rather than a parent ego-state is arguably more applicable.  Since Steve Hoffman is not performing an increasingly high amount of physical contact with the consumers who purchase his products, coming up with a formal letter or viral message from an adult ego-state perspective is the best method in my opinion.  After all, Hoffman needs to be seen as a leader in the Greenfield in the eyes of the public if he is to go further in his going green processes.
                What do you all think about this approach to Hoffman’s leadership in the green field?  Do you think a different approach is more applicable?  If not do you have anything to add to these statements?

-Jonathon Byrd

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kent Leads Coca-Cola into the future with Sustainability Strategy

Muhtar Kent is not just the CEO of Coca-Cola, but is also the CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) as well. He appointed himself to the position of CSO because he recognizes the importance of sustainability. He believes that it is his responsibility as a leader to create change from the top of the organization, down throughout the entire organization.  Kent has recently implemented a broad-ranging sustainability strategy at Coca-Cola he calls "Live Positively." This new strategy is integrated with Coca-Cola's overall business plan, and involves environmental, market, community, and workplace initiatives. This new strategy not only involves Coca-Cola's operations, but also spreads out to the company's suppliers and bottlers as well. Kent has established several goals to be met by this new strategy. For one, Coke is going "water neutral." This means that the company plans to return as much water to the word as it uses. This will reduce its carbon footprint for manufacturing operations by 5% in developed countries by 2015. This will also allow Coke to recover all its packaging to be reused rather than be sent to landfills. Going water neutral not only benefits the environment, but lowers the cost of production, lowers the break-even points, and allows Coke to spend more money on brands. Another part of the strategy is the introduction of the "PlantBottle," which is a partially bio-plastic bottle that is up to 30% plant material and 100% recyclable. PlantBottle is the first plastic bottle from renewable sources that can be recycled along with other PET plastic bottles in the existing recycling infrastructure. Coke has also committed to eliminate the use of hydro fluorocarbon gases in all of its new vending machines and coolers by 2015. Mr. Kent is not just a manager at Coca-Cola, but is a leader at the company. He is trying to create a change for the future by implementing his new "Live Positively" strategy. Kent is clearly an authentic leader via the intrapersonal definition. He leads with his own convictions. He is genuine, original, and bases his actions on his own personal values. He decided to make himself Chief Sustainability Officer, instead of nominating someone else. He also claims that he never plans on giving up his duties as the CSO. Kent has a vision for the future of his company, and his employees share his vision.

Do you think Coca-Cola can meet its goals?
Do you believe Pepsi will implement a similar strategy?
Do you feel Kent's leadership style is a good fit for his company?

Source of article:

Posted By: Jerret Baker

Greenpeace: State of the Environment

The above link is the state of the union address by Phillip Radford, who is the executive director of Greenpeace.  In his address, he calls out some of the issues related to coal as an energy source, protecting the oceans, preserving the forest, nuclear power, and chemical plants.  He warns that the President needs to take firm action to continue along the path of progress rather than the path of regression, which Radford feels is the path that Congress is currently on.

I want to take a look at Radford’s address according to some transformational leadership models.  According to Peter Northouse, transformational leadership refers to the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower.  He also says that that this type of leader is attentive to the needs and motives of followers, and tries to help followers reach their full potential.  In reference to Radford’s address, Radford certainly can be characterized as a transformational leader.  His address is loaded with issues that are meant to stir the emotions of his followers, like deforestation and protecting the oceans.  He constantly uses the word “we” as opposed to referring specifically to his followers or towards the American legislative or executive bodies to generate a genuine authentic sense of connection.  He calls on anyone who will listen to be active and to operate with a sense of urgency, which in essence is urging followers to act to their full potential.

According to the work of Dr. Bass in 1985, transformational leadership could apply to situations in which the outcomes were not positive, and also by describing transformational and transactional leadership (typical leadership based on exchanges between leaders and followers) along a continuum.  This approach says that transformational leadership is determined by four factors, and these factors are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.  Idealized influence refers to leaders who act as strong role models for followers; followers relate to the leader and want to emulate them as much as possible.  Radford’s address brings attention to topics that concern those of us who would like to make a difference in the world and see a brighter day for future generations, so he makes his followers want to act like him by presenting concerns that affect us all.  In terms of inspirational motivation, he emphasizes how far we have come in the past forty years, and he stresses that we can still achieve great things and move forward if we stay persistent.  He calls for us to make a difference and appeal to our government, which is a definite form of motivation.  For intellectual stimulation, he talks about topics that do not necessarily have clear solutions.  He presents the problem, creates a vision for the future, and challenges us to help create answers to connect the dots.  Individualized consideration refers to a leader that provides a supportive climate for his followers and listens carefully to their needs.  In his address, Radford brings to light many of his followers’ needs, from saving the oceans to preserving the forest.  He implies that all of his followers should support the fight for each individualized cause, which certainly counts as individualized consideration.

After applying these models, Radford can clearly be seen as a transformational leader.  What does Radford need to do to sway the minds of politicians and garner further support for his cause?  Is he on the right track?

-Jonathan Lucento-

Gavin Newsom- Turning California Green

The global environment is one of the most complexly organized systems known to man. There are an enormous amount of factors that can affect the environment as a whole and therefore create an impact on our civilizations. That is why it is advantageous for leaders across the world to enable their people to act in a manner that is sustainable, and environmentally responsible. Unfortunately the existing pattern of Governmental leadership has shown little interest in actions towards theses “green” issues. However, one great example of a “green”, enabling leader is the former mayor of San Francisco, and current Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. As mayor of San Francisco, the city was awarded the Green Power Leadership Award for their production of significant amounts of on-site green energy from renewable resources such as solar power and wind.

 Newsom’s willingness to take bold political risks and his unwavering personal integrity have led him to consistently be ahead of the game on many important social and economic issues, from marriage equality and universal health care to homelessness and education. But the environment is truly the issue where Newsom’s unrelenting desire to create revolutionary reform is most apparent.

Newsom’s political record proves that he is a fierce and passionate advocate for the environment. In 2006, while most of this country’s leaders were engaged in a contentious debate over whether or not climate change is real, Mayor Newsom had already authored the Urban Environmental Accords, closed a fossil-fuel burning power plant, created the country’s largest alternative fuel fleet of buses and cars and passed numerous laws to help San Francisco’s residents and businesses be more environmentally conscious. From solar panels and mandatory composting and recycling to authoring the strongest municipal green building standards in the United States for new construction and major renovations, Mayor Newsom has turned San Francisco into one of the greenest cities in the world and has established himself as one of the greenest mayors in the country.

California State Senator Fran Pavley, has said that Mayor Newsom is a “bold, innovative leader who has proven that job creation and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive” and that Newsom is “exactly what Sacramento needs for California to continue to be a beacon of environmental leadership around the world.”

So how does all of this relate to specific, leadership concepts of theories??

The entire context of environmental consciousness and green leadership, along with Newsom’s leadership, can be directly related to the theory of Complexity Leadership. “Complexity theory is a science of complexly interacting systems; it explores the nature of interaction and adaptation in such systems and how they influence such things as emergence, innovation, and fitness. Thos research argues that complexity theory focuses leadership efforts on behaviors that enable organizational effectiveness, as opposed to determining or guiding effectiveness. Complexity science broadens conceptualizations of leadership from perspectives that are heavily invested in psychology (e.g., human relations models) to include processes for managing dynamic systems and inter-connectivity.” – (

The environment is an extremely complex system that brings with it much uncertainty and ambiguity. It absolutely requires us, people, to adapt to it and to find ways to harness its potential. Newsom has taken many actions in an attempt to manage the dynamic process of environmental responsibility and has greatly increased the commitment and inter-connectivity of the San Francisco people. The City generates more than 25 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually from its biogas facilities and nine municipal solar installations. These solar installations are located on nine facilities and rooftops throughout the City, including the City’s largest reservoir, a recycling center, the San Francisco International Airport, and a public library. The City is also in the process of placing additional solar arrays on other municipal buildings and is considering adding urban wind and ocean power projects to its portfolio. These solar panels essentially allow for anyone to take part in the environmental move and do their parts to produce sustainable energy.

In complexity leadership, change, and more importantly adapting to change, is essential for growth and further development within any organization. But before any change can actually take place the status quo or equilibrium of the entity must but upset or disrupted. Existing patterns of operations must be disrupted and novelty, creativity, and innovation must be encouraged. Organizations must move away from stability and move towards complexity. This process is achieved when “adaptive tension” is created-   *(Energy or resource differentials within the system and between the system and the environment that may lead to changes in the system which enhance fitness or performance according to some measure.)

Newsom was not afraid to tackle complex issues such as environmental sustainability and responsibility and was also not afraid to move San Francisco towards a state of uncertainty and complexity for the overall betterment of the system (World & Economy).  Relating this to Newsom’s leadership, you can see many parallels, one of which being the overall need for jobs in our failing economy. There was a resource difference between the people of California and the economy and an energy difference between the economy and the environment as a whole. Simply put, the tension caused by the lack of jobs and an over consumption of energy was adaptively addressed by Newsom when he was able to create numerous “green” jobs that helped both the economy and the environment. This change has definitely had an impact of the overall fitness and wellness of the environment and economy and has set an example for other areas of the country, and world, to follow.        

The actions of Newsom have essentially created a complex adaptive system within California that has created green jobs and has enabled individuals to lead with their own personal actions. As stated in class slides, a complex adaptive system could be defined as a system made up of a large number of active elements that are diverse in both form and capability, with the ability to adapt.” Newsom has found ways through his effective leadership to align the goals of diverse and sometimes competing elements and parties, to strive for the common goal of environmental wellness. He has brought ordinary citizens and business together for the same common cause.  

Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at the EPA released the statement that the “EPA congratulates our leadership award winners for demonstrating by example, the importance of using clean, renewable energy. By using green power, the City of San Francisco is leading the way toward cleaner air and a healthier environment while helping advance the market for renewable energy.” Newsom has cultivated an environment where others can produce innovations that will greatly help the environment and lead to a productive yet uncertain future. He has encouraged cooperation above his own self-interest and has incentivized citizens and businesses to take a part in the green movement and to lead in there own differing ways. The purposes of Newsom’s actions are to better the environment as a whole and to encourage environmental sustainability and not stifle it with the status quo and routine style of thinking.   

What other effective leadership styles do you think Newsom displays?

Do you think this green initiative is actually going to help boost the economy? 

By: Jarett Diederich

Iceland's Geir H. Haarde

  Being green conscience is not only a duty of CEO's and employees, it is a duty of the government.  One of most active green government officials is Geir H. Haarde, the Prime Minister of Iceland.  Haarde was dubbed one of the top five world's most inspiring green leaders in 2008.  Using clean natural resources such as geothermal energy from volcanoes and the energy created from the waterfalls made by Iceland's glaciers, Haarde has been able to not only create the #1 green country in the world, but open up new industries to create jobs while steering away from harmful fossil fuels such as coal.
  According to an article about the methods Haarde incorporates to stay green, the country of Iceland imports no coal whatsoever, they have no need for it.  Haarde and the Iceland government have also offered up incentives to car manufacturers like Daimler, to use non-traditional energy sources in their vehicles.  Although Iceland is clearly in the forefront in the use of clean natural resources in energy, it's size and scope of influence are hardly enough to make a worldwide difference in using these resources.  Haarde needs to continue to be a leader that can be seen as being proactive in the green cause, someone who will enlighten others to take a stand against using harmful fossil fuels.
  In relation to the material that we have discussed in class, I wanted to incorporate how Haarde would fit in to the role of an authentic leader.  After viewing the three definitions that can describe an authentic leader, i believe that Haarde is an example of the developmental definition.  The Prime Minister is a self-aware, moral, and relationally developed person who is obviously looking at what this project can do to benefit the entire world and not just Iceland.  His sense of leadership has been highly developed over time, which can be seen by his status within the country of Iceland.  Using the power available to him, he is bettering all of his people by creating new jobs, revenue, technology, and providing a cleaner environment.
  Being an authentic leader, one could argue that Haarde is using the Robert Terry Authentic leadership approach.  The premise of this approach is that the leader, Haarde, is striving to do the right thing.  The framework to accomplish this action, can be seen as the incentives to car manufacturers, creating jobs in the geothermal energy and aquatic energy industries, and exporting expertise to developing countries.  By answering the question of what is wrong with our globe today, the use of harmful fossil fuels, Haarde has moved in to answer the second question of Terry's approach, "What are we going to do about it?" His answer to this as stated above was to utilize Iceland's geography and geology to better the country and eventually the world.
  I believe that this view on leadership is a valid example of an authentic leader.  However, there are other practical approaches to be used as examples and of course, Haarde is a perfect example of other types of leadership styles.  Does anyone have any ideas on what other kinds of leaders Haarde may represent.  Do you think my examples of him being an authentic leader are valid.  I would like to hear your feedback on this.

Jonathon Byrd

GM- Good Intentions, Bad Planning

This post is focused on the leadership tactics that should have been implemented to accomplish the intended results that were attempted with the wrong steps. The article I am discussing covers the topic of GM making its big green steps, more specifically in 2010 when the company announced Chevrolet brand planning to invest $40 million towards carbon offsetting projects. They saw this an opportunity to increase their reputation and customer loyalty by jumping onto the recently "fashionable" environmentalism trend. This could be seen as an opportunistic move by investing a large sum of money now with the hopes for it to pay off in the long run. What the CEO, Dan Akerson failed to look into is how this move would directly impact the company. This generosity ends up being marely a charitable donation at the cost of shareholders' money which may or may not significantly improve public's perception of the company due to the demonstrated corporate social responsibility. That is too great of a cost to pay even with the best intentions. While a combination of supportive and directive leadership styles are necessary to lead the company towards change, an internal analysis of the company should have taken place. Deciding to invest in a project based on CSR does not ensure any certain positive results given that some still argue the true effectiveness of CSR. A bigger, more direct connection to the company's production of vehicles, operations or even internal structure is needed to make this investment worthwhile." Looking at successful CSR examples, from GE and Wal-Mart to M&S and Toyota, you find different stories and approaches, but with a common ground. They all chose to focus on initiatives that were tied to, and effectively integrated, their core business operations and strategy, and thus created shared value – making meaningful social impact and strengthening their long-term competitiveness at the same time."  I think that this to some degree applies to Hill's Model of Leadership where GM could have used the path through the internal leadership actions towards task and ending with goal focusing. They did not consider the potential this project could have had within the company and only focused on the big picture. Applying more work force internally on extensive research they could have discovered the goal (of directly affecting their production) and made it their primary focus, which would have been a much more effective way of using $40 million while still emphasizing dedication to the corporate social responsibility.

Do you have any suggestions as far as where the $40 million could have been used more effectively?

What other leadership styles are applicable to this situation?

Mingaile Orakauskaite

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Al Gore and Path Goal Theory

When looking at the environmental crisis as a whole, I couldn't help but to think of the path goal theory we had recently learned about and discussed in class. The focus of this theory is how leaders motivate their followers/subordinates to follow them. One of the biggest obstacles in this crisis has seemed to be the incapability of any leader to effectively motivate the population to follow. We've seen an array of tactics used by leaders including all four leader behaviors (directive, supportive, participative, achievement oriented) from the path goal theory.

When realizing this and applying the theory to the countless "environmental leaders" we've had in our society, I'm left wondering if any of these behaviors would be any more effective than the others in this situation? Or is the issue too large and the followers too diverse to simply use one leadership behavior? I feel with such a diverse following an environmental leader would have, that it would leave them unable to effectively motivate the followers.

I wanted to apply this theory in more detail to Al Gore and his role in the environmental crisis. I felt that he would be a useful leader to apply it to because he has been one of the most active, influential, powerful, and popular leaders throughout our country's focus on the environment. He has lead in all types of situations and has tried using various tactics for motivating his followers (the American public). While he's now not as much focused on being in the public eye but instead focuses on investing in new eco companies, he still is an influential leader and is someone our country is going to most likely want to have around when we decide to start acting aggressively on the environment.

Al Gore has done many things for the environmental movement and is constantly trying raise awareness on the topic. While his actions have hit on each of the leader behaviors in the path goal theory, I feel the two we see the most out of him have been supportive and participative. One could argue while in office his influence on environmental policy making could also be considered directive behavior, but with policies and laws including so many people I feel that unless they're highly unpopular or "ground-breaking" they really shouldn't be used to define a leader. I feel he shows the supportive behavior through his actions after his time in office as vice president. His books and movies have made him seem more approachable (far from the truth with his celebrity status) simply because they make him come off as trying to make the world a little better and pleasant for us. The conversational style and feel of the movie and books have made him seem more down to earth rather than the politician-writer-actor-celebrity that he is. While you can argue he isn't approachable or "supportive" because the follower could never get in touch with him, but I feel for someone of his stature the supportive behavior has to be applied differently simply because of the amount of followers. I feel it should be instead measured by how supportive his followers feel he is and how well they think he hits on the points of being a supportive leader. I also feel Gore has been showing participative behavior through the release of his movie; "An Inconvenient Truth and his two books on the environment. Gore was able to utilize the media in the best way for getting the information out to his followers and for showing them how to get involved. I think he did an excellent job at this because he was able to realize which media forms were going to be most effective for him and he also was able to spark huge media attention to his movie thus brining in even more followers.

But Al Gore now handles investments for eco companies? I'm afraid that maybe he's realized that there really is no way to motivate the followers and that even as countless environmental leaders use different leadership behaviors, that there really is no effective way to motivate such a large and diverse group of followers?

Which behavior from the path goal theory do you feel would be most effective in getting the American public motivated to make changes?

Is the path goal theory applicable when your dealing with situations like this where the characteristics of the subordinates are too diverse? How can a leader choose the most effective behavior if their leading millions of people?

-Daniel Salsinger

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Most of us have recently noticed the feel-good, sustainability-targeted commercials on TV, always focusing on a character who thoroughly appreciates the joys of nature. These comical clips are provided by Ecomagination, a project sponsored by General Electric. It was started in 2005 with a mission statement being "to develop tomorrow's solutions such as solar energy, hybrid locomotives, fuel cells, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger durable materials, efficient lighting, and water purification technology". Ever since the launch, Ecomagination is consistently developing new projects encouraging people to live by more environmentally-conscious means. The company seems to have calculated exact solutions to our planet's emission problems and have developed models to support it. Mark Vachon, who has been with the company for twenty years, was appointed to be the leader of ecomagination and had the task of efficiently utilizing the initial $5 billion investment in clean tech research and development.Vachon has been taking all the right steps considering the $70 billion revenues just five years after the former investment. While the green movement is popular among area for businesses to part in, most do it on a small scale basis for the purpose of positive pubic image. Ecomagination on the other hand, keeps attacking major areas of concern while also establishing very high goals, truly set out to make a significant difference. General Electric's upper mobility is difficult to achieve considering the number of years expected to have had invested in the company and the numerous leadership development  programs one must graduate from. Vachon has so far succeeded to achieve and exceed the set goals example being "In 2009, GE invested $1.5 billion on ecomagination R&D, reaching the commitment to double our annual investment by 2010 one year ahead of schedule. GE continues to be committed to unleashing new technology. Therefore, in 2010 GE is introducing a new commitment to invest an additional $10 million in ecomagination research and development by 2015."
General Electric thrives on strong leadership development through which Vachon was able to establish his own tactics. Referring to situational leadership, I would associate him with highly-directive and highly-supportive leadership style. This style requires for the leader to both, accomplish the goals and to satisfy subordinates' socioemotional needs. The company's progress through innovative initiative is based on being open to all and any ideas of the public,which they demonstrate by asking their website visitors to submit ideas for further sustainability projects. The highly structured nature of the company and the magnitude of decisions made by Vachon suggests the importance a good balance of directing and supporting styles of leadership in order to be able to achieve goals while remaining on an appropriate social level.

Related Articles

Mingaile Orakauskaite

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CEO of Aston Martin leads by example

 Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, is leading his company into the future the same way he's been leading his life, by being environmentally friendly. Dr. Bez says that he's been going green since he can remember. For example, his house is built from renewable material, and he doesn't let his car idle when it is stopped at traffic lights. As for his business, he has introduced a new model of car called the Cygnet. The Cygnet has a one-litre engine, and the lowest fuel consumption of any Aston Martin. However, he did scoff when he was asked about the idea of an electric Aston Martin. He stated that his current solution is an honest one. He said that if you're going to go green, you have to be honest about it. Electric cars have had a history of not being able to accelerate very quickly, nor have much horsepower, two specifications sports cars must have to sell. People don't buy Aston Martins because of their low gas millage and low emissions, they buy them to be fast and powerful. Dr. Bez is a great example of a leader who leads by example. Not only is he turning his company into an environmental friendly automaker, he lives his life that way. This shows people that he's not just going green for his company's public image, but he actually believes in what he's doing. Dr. Bez shows both position power (power a person derives from a particular rank in a formal organizational system) and personal power (the influence capacity a leader derives from being seen by followers as likable and knowledgeable). His position power comes from the legitimate power he has. He is the CEO of Aston Martin, and therefore has formal job authority. His personal power comes from the referent power he has. People like and admire a leader who leads by example.

Do you think turning a sports car, like an Aston Martin, into an environmentally friendly car is a smart idea?
Do you believe Aston Martin may one day produce an electric car?
Is Dr. Bez's leadership style a good fit for Aston Martin?

Source of article:

Posted by: Jerret Baker

South Korea's Lee Myung-bak

As CEO of Hyundai, South Korea's largest conglomerate, during the 1970's and 80's, Lee was able to rebuild most of post- war Korea, transforming a poor, farming country into a recent success story. After his CEO position at Hyundai, Lee moved on to be mayor of Seoul in 2002, and then eventually, using his popularity, president of the Republic of Korea. Using his recently acquired position power, Lee has made a commitment to environmental and economical sustainability and has launched a new energy conservation program. Some of the details in this plan are labeling electronic devices that use more than one watt during stand by mode with a yellow sticker and forbidding car owners to drive on one designated weekday, with violators being fined. Becasue Lee was able to prove himself to the Koreans as a leader in the past and show them the economic benefits of environmental sustainability, much of the Koreans have increasingly prioritized environmental issues alongside their president. In fact a recent poll taken in South Korea indicated that 53% of the people in South Korea actually think environmental protection is more important that economic development.

Lee is an excellent example of many types of effective leadership and leadership styles.

First being his excellent use of Social Judgment skills. Being involved with the South Korean government and its people for such a long time, being CEO  of Hyundai and as mayor of Seoul, Lee was able to gain the capacity to understand and relate to the people of South Korea as well as gain their acceptance as a leader.  This enabled Lee to work with his followers an establish rules and regulations he knew the citizens would be more than willing to abide by, and in fact, support. This also better enabled him to implement a change program within the framework of the country that is embraced by most. It allowed him to gain a perspective on environmental issues that deeply coincides with that of the average South Korean. Most importantly his social judgment skills allowed him to formulate environmental sustainability programs to help solve the extremely complicated problem that is global warming and environmental degradation.

Lee is also a great example of an Achievement-Oriented leader, who by definition, challenges his followers, (South Korean people), to perform work (Environmentally sustainable programs) at the highest level possible. Setting strict rules, such as designating a specific weekday that an individual cannot drive is a great example of this approach. He has set an extremely high standard of performance for his followers (south Koreans), and expects them to follow through with his guidance. More importantly than expecting his people to follow through with his environmental programs, Lee is confident that the South Koreans have the ability & capacity to accomplish these challenging goals. Otherwise he wouldn't have presented these environmental initiatives to the people of South Korea with such broad confidence.

Do you think Americans would ever go for these types of environmental control regulations??

By: Jarett Diederich       

Recycled Railroads

This link tells the story of a major American railroad company purchasing a $15 million contract for recycled plastic railroad ties.  The ties are purchased from Axiom International, which focuses on innovative ways to use recycled plastics for durable, eco-friendly products.  With this contract, Axiom can expand their operations and hopefully develop many new products with this technology.

Axiom's co-founder, Chief Technology Officer, and leader is James Kerstein, and his leadership style is probably essential to the vision of Axiom.  Axiom's business model relies on innovation with products that by nature are not generally thought of as being constructed from recycled material, so for followers to follow Kerstein's vision takes a very specific type of leader.

So what type of leader would Kerstein need to be to thrive with his given situation?  According to Path Goal theory, Kerstein would need to exhibit achievement oriented leadership.  Path-goal theory offers four different types of leadership, which are directive, supportive, participative, and achievement oriented.  It then measures several different types of subordinate characteristics, and then measures task characteristics.  Path-goal theory claims that leaders need to choose a leadership style that best suits the subordinates and their tasks.

Kerstein should practice achievement oriented leadership for two reasons.  First, the subordinates he leads have high expectations and a need to excel.  They need to create innovative, cost-efficient, and high-quality products from plastics and polymers that are rather revolutionary, so subordinates are definitely challenged and need to have a sense of confidence to achieve their goals.  Second, the tasks are rather ambiguous and challenging.  The level of innovation required to satisfy market needs in terms of products that currently are not thought of as being green is extraordinarily high.  As a result, tasks are very complex, and subordinates need to be challenged and have confidence that their efforts will lead to better results.  These facts all say that Kerstein would need to be achievement oriented.

What do you think Kerstein needs to do from a leadership standpoint?  Can this organization be a trailblazer for other industrial products?

-Jonathan Lucento

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mitsubishi Goes Electric


Above is a picture of the new Mitsubishi "i" MiEV, or Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle. This model is one of six new electric vehicles the automaker plans on introducing by 2015. Because of weak sales and concerns for government regulations on vehicle emissions, Mitsubishi has decided to focus more on hybrid and electric vehicles for the future. The company has developed three specific, measurable goals to be achieved by 2020:  Achieve a production volume at least 20% of which is comprised of EVs (electric vehicles), cut global lineup CO2 emissions by a weighted average of 50%, and reduce per-vehicle CO2 emissions during production by 20% over 2005 levels. This "green" strategy is the kind of leadership all CEOs should be involved in. Koichi Komatsu, the main person behind this strategy, is not only the CEO of Mitsubishi International Corporation, but is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Mitsubishi Corporation’s North American operations. Mr. Komatsu has shown a strong commitment to lead his company into a "green" future. This is the kind of commitment all auto industry leaders should be involved in. He is not just a manager because he produces order and consistency, but a leader because he produces change and movement. He is leading his company into the future of the automobile industry. He establishes direction in his company by creating a clear vision for the future. He has developed a strategy to become a "green" automaker by producing more hybrid and electric vehicles. In order to achieve this strategy, he has clarified specific goals and deadlines to his employees. These are the kinds of things which make him an effective leader.

What is your opinion on electric cars? Do you believe that Mitsubishi can reach its goals? Why will the electric car succeed today when it failed in the past? Do you believe Mr. Komatsu is leading his company in the right direction?

Links to related articles:
Exclusive: Mitsubishi's North American CEO Details New Electric Vehicle Strategy

"Mitsubishi Motors Group Environmental Vision 2020" Roadmap Announced -"Leading the EV era, towards a sustainable future" -

Koichi Komatsu Appointed President & CEO of Mitsubishi International Corporation

Posted by: Jerret Baker

Masdar City

While going through an article on Yahoo about the world's most visionary cities, I came across a project being built in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emeries) named Masdar City. Yahoo described it as:

"Eco-warriors, meet Mecca: once completed, Masdar City promises to be the world's most sustainable urban locale. The city will be powered by solar and wind energy; recycle the majority of its wastewater; and try to reduce its waste to zero via unorthodox methods such as transforming biological waste into soil and fertilizer. A perimeter wall surrounding Masdar will keep desert winds at bay, while shaded streets combat the blazing sun. As for gas-guzzling cars, they're eighty-sixed from city limits (electric vehicles are allowed), replaced by mass transit and pod-like vehicles that travel underground. Some systems are already operational, but the city will come online fully in approximately 2020."

The city was supposed to be done in 2009 but due to financial reasons and advancements in environmental technology they've now been able to fully finance the project and save around $2 billion. The complete project is supposed to cost an estimated $17-19 billion. They anticipate being able to house 40,000- 50,000 people and to also have multiple corporations headquartered inside (some who will focus on manufacturing and engineering new environmental technologies). Some people are saying that Masdar City has the potential to be the metropolis of the future and can end up being the first of many fully sustainable cities being built. 

As i continue learning more and more about Masdar City and other sustainability projects going on throughout the world I find myself wondering a few things...

-Why hasn't the U.S. done something as extreme as Masdar City or at least begun to push the limits in sustainability? 

We have all of the resources to complete a project of this magnitude and to even take it a step further. As being the leader in energy usage, shouldn't we also be focusing on being the leader in creating new energy to help sustain us in the future when our current resources deplete? 

-What type of people should be allowed to live in this city? Can anyone live here or if the demand is high enough could the government only allow certain people in? 

While I think this is a great idea and wish that I could see our own country attempt something like this, I feel the people could become either a major downfall or success for the project. They plan on having a university inside which I think is a great idea because it will provide the city with young, eager to learn, and ambitious people. Besides the university however, I was unable to find anything else that would point to putting the right type of people in the city. I personally believe that the "right" type of person for this city would ultimately be someone who buys into the project. While it can be argued that only leaders, people of a certain intelligence, or "ideal" individuals should be allowed in, I think that the power of leading by example is the best chance for success. If everyone in the city is bought into the project's goal, it will lead to people doing what they're supposed to do in the city and leading by example to the one's who don't buy in or who hurt the project's success.  

-Would you support the same type of city being built in the U.S.? If so where do you think the ideal place for it would be and who should inhabit it? 

Daniel Salsinger 

Obama's Environmental Concerns

Perhaps one of the most terrifying issues facing the world right now is environmental sustainability. This is an issue that can not be resolved unless the entire WORLD is working together. One country's pollution and over consumtion effects the rest of the world.President Obama's determination to bring the U.S back into the international, environmental fold has been inspiring to say the least. His willingness to tackle such a daunting and complex crisis is a testament to his extreme amount of motivation and leadership qualities. During his campaign, Obama talked about ways to create new "green" jobs intended to revamp the country's energy economy and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. Using his ability to persuade and influence followers, along with his capacity to structure social interaction systems to support the goal at hand, Obama signed into action many new environmental acts and policies.  One of which being...

The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" included "$80 billion dollars in the generation of renewable energy sources, expanded the capacity for manufacturing "green" technology, advanced vehicle and fueling technologies, and started the creation of a bigger, better electrical grid." All of these measures are steps in the right direction to further our efforts of saving this "planet in peril", as the president mentioned in his speech on election night.

Another great example of Obama's exemplary leadership is when he signed an executive order on federal sustainability. Leading by example, Obama committed the Federal government to "reduce its carbon emissions by 28% by 2020, increase energy efficiency, and reduce fleet petroleum consumption." By holding his "organization", the Federal Government, along with himself responsible for his environmental agenda, he showed the American people that this is a group effort. Furthermore, by showing the rest of the world that the U.S is taking the issues of environmental sustainability and climate change seriously, now we can all start working together to help solve this global crisis. 

Do you think the American government has done enough to show the extreme gravity of this environmental crisis?

Does America do enough to keep up with other "green" countries like Switzerland or Sweden? Why or Why not? link to Newsweek's 'World Greenest Countries" list. 

Jarett Diederich

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Empire State building taking the green step

Environmental sustainability can successfully progress only with smaller scale businesses making the right steps along the way. Article found at,0  discusses recent developmental changes in New York's major attraction the Empire State Building doing just that. Building owner Anthony Malkin is taking initiative by making architectural changes in the building while saving millions of dollars and showing a great example for other businesses to follow. Malkin mentions a few basic but essential, energy conscious steps when leasing facilities for businesses. It is imperative for us as business students to comprehend importance of environmental sustainability as well the impact we will have as future decision makers by utilizing innovative methods being implemented such as ones by Anthony Malkin.

Mingaile Orakauskaite

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Leader in New York

The three links above tell the story of New York governor Andrew Cuomo's quest to transform the state into an environmentally sustainable machine.  Upon his election, he promised to be a friend to the environment and push for legislative reform to prioritize sustainability.  His agenda can be found at this link (

Campaign promises are easy, but Governor Cuomo proved that he is more than just talk by taking a look at his proposed budget earlier this week.  His budget maintained the Environmental Protection fund, and neither the Department of Environmental Conservation nor the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation will lose any staff members.

So why is this so important?  In these tough economic times, budget cuts are at a premium.  Governments in danger look to slash costs any way possible, but Governor Cuomo is in essence issuing a statement that says New York simply cannot afford to ignore the environment or the possibilities of  sustainability.  He is unwilling to sacrifice the future for the short-term present, and he believes fully that an energy-conscious New York is the future.  His agenda stresses the economic and global benefits of a green New York, and he is unwilling to put that vision on hold for short-term relief.

Governor Cuomo is currently  practicing assigned leadership, but for his vision to take off he will need others to come forward and take on some emerging leadership roles.  Assigned leadership refers to occupying a position where leadership is appointed.  As governor, his job is to lead the people of New York in whichever direction he sees fit.  The journey towards a green New York will take emergent leaders as well, however.  Emergent leaders are not necessarily assigned;  they are recognized for their individual behavior, beliefs, and actions, and are then followed over time.  Governor Cuomo must attend to the other needs of New York as well, so other leaders will need to step up and adapt this movement. 

We would be slightly premature in judging or speculating as to the nature of Governor Cuomo's leadership, but it will be interesting to monitor the progress, mindset, and allocation of resources for New York in the coming months and years.  According to Harvard business professor John Kotter, establishing a vision is an essential component of change leadership.  Governor Cuomo has laid out the challenge and communicated the vision, and now we can watch his vision unfold.

What do you think of Governor Cuomo's vision?  Should he have put it on hold to address some of New York's more pressing fiscal issues right now?  What type of leader do you think Governor Cuomo will be?
Feel free to discuss or follow up on this story.

-Jonathan Lucento

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This blog is created, designed, and operated by Illinois State students, and its purpose is to provide commentary on leaders' decisions, strategies, and current events regarding both the green movement and environmental sustainability.  We will discuss revolutionary ideas, organizations' shifts towards environmentally friendly policies and practices, and several leaders that are transforming business culture towards a globally conscious approach.  We encourage active discussion from both Illinois State students and visitors to our blog, so feel free to discuss our posts or alert us to new discussion topics as you see fit.  Thanks!

Blog writers:
Jonathon Byrd
Jerret Baker
Jarett Diederich
Jonathan Lucento
Mingaile Orakauskaite
Daniel Salsinger