Michael K. Stone, senior editor at the Center for Ecoliteracy and Zenobia Barlow, executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy write on how leaders can learn about handling change by likening organisations to some characteristics of nature.
Nature can be described as systematic, non-linear and connected, and looking at some of these characteristics and likening them to organisations can inform the ways in which a leader can guide and direct an organisation. They note that lasting change requires interrelationships – an important factor in acknowledging the multiple connections that need to be considered when leading an organisation. Also important to recognise are the nested systems which represent the various levels and scales from where change can be effected.
A leader means being able to see that change can either force a breakdown or a birthing of new possibilities. A leader’s maturity can also steer the direction of change. Leadership in this context thus requires a facilitative approach, where new ideas can be introduced, new conversations can be had and climates of trust, innovation and support are built within new possibilities of dispersed authority and responsibility. And of course, always have a realistic expectation that surprises do happen.
With all this in mind, time must always be upheld as a necessary component of change, especially where education and training will need to be incorporated in any new stages that an organisation embarks on.