Friday, June 23, 2020

An Inconvenient Truth

On Wednesday, I went to see Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth.” If it’s screening in your area and you haven’t seen it yet, you should certainly go. It’s a revelation, showing how one man with passion and a Mac can tell a compelling story that leaves you angry, frightened, inspired and hungry for more. At the end of the film, our local movie theater too erupted in spontaneous applause.

What struck me was the way Mr. Gore presents his case for taking global warming seriously and acting on the warnings before it’s too late. He doesn’t offer it as a political or a scientific issue, let alone an economic one (though he shows how global warming will likely destroy so much wealth it’s terrifying). He puts it forward as a moral issue. Something we should deal with because doing so is morally and ethically right, whatever the other arguments in favor.

That’s also true of creating slower, more humane and civilized attitudes to leadership and running organizations. It’s a moral and ethical choice. We can choose greed over good, as many organizations do today. But if that’s what we do, we must accept the consequences. People and nations don’t thrive when they try to ignore what they know is right. It goes against the grain and causes internal dissonance. You can do it, but only by making the effort to keep your mind tight shut to reality and your anxieties locked inside. That’s no way to live or manage a workplace. Over time, the effort produces disease and misery in individuals and social unrest in communities and societies. By then, it’s too late.

The consequences of global warming are so clear it seems incredible that politicians still manage to ignore them in favor of quick profits from the old habits of encouraging unrestricted energy usage, sales of gas guzzlers and pumping oil as fast as possible. The consequences of short-term, profit-obsessed, command-and-control leadership as just as clear: more stress, more dissatisfaction with work, more burnout, more family break-ups and loss of communities.

Al Gore shows how curbing global warming will likely create more jobs and more wealth than our current way of ignoring environmental pollution. I’ve tried to show in these posts how returning to slower, more humane ways of managing a business are likely to produce higher returns through more creative thinking, smarter approaches and better quality products and services. But, at bottom, the case for Slow Leadership is a moral one: treating staff more humanely and restoring dignity to the workplace is simply the right thing to do, whatever the consequences might be.

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Julia said...

Great, great post! But unfortunely some are "solving" the environmental moral issue by paying for it, as you can see it in today´s New York Times, "A New Way to Ask, "How green is my Conscience?""

2:31 AM  

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