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 (http://d2srrmjar534jf.cloudfront.net/6/d4/3/1266/andrew_cuomo_cleaner_greener_ny.pdf).
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.