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