Increasing Our Positive Impact

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Handprint – A complementary measure of positive sustainability impacts

The handprint is an innovative and holistic approach to facilitate the measurement, evaluation, and communication of the ecological, economic and social sustainability impacts of products. The existing approach of the footprint focuses on negative ecological impacts on individuals, organizations or countries. The handprint shall also determine, measure and evaluate the positive sustainability impacts including the ecological, social and economic dimensions. While the widespread footprint is used to metaphorically symbolize negative impacts, the handprint represents the positive and innovative impacts contributing to sustainable development.

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A holistic approach including the handprint and the footprint of ecological, economic and social impacts

It is the nature of the handprint that it won´t always be easy to measure. Nevertheless, a development towards an objective evaluation is possible and necessary. An example of the necessity to consider positive as well as negative assessment criteria is the cultivation of organic cotton or grain: Due to lower yields in ecological agriculture, more land is needed (footprint). In contrast, ecological agriculture in general also provides more humus formation, more micro-bacterial activity and an increased biodiversity (handprint).

Furthermore, the handprint enables the inclusion of social factors in the sustainability assessment of a product, e.g. increased customer satisfaction, the enhancement of social wellbeing or educational effects. The handprint covers the whole product lifecycle. The final methodology of the assessment, measurement and communication will be determined during the project led by the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP). A focus lies on key figures or indicators of the sustainability of a product, considering both the handprint and the footprint.

The approach creates more transparency of a product´s sustainability impacts and can therefore support economic actors to better meet the requirements of society. In this context, the handprint will play a key role regarding the communication of sustainability performance.

Top 3 Projects For Refugees

By Josephine Goube

Here are Migreat’s picks of interesting refugee integration initiatives in Europe.

This online platform organises the matchmaking between legal refugees and people in Germany and Austria wanting to offer a room in their flat or house.

This is a platform we love at Migreat because it benefits both parties. Refugees are able to live in adequate accommodations and learn the local language faster, which helps them more easily adjust to their new environment. In addition, the host learns about a different culture and helps a person in a difficult situation, not to mention the fact that the host plays a critical role in helping the refugee contribute to his or her new community.

Currently an overwhelming majority of refugees live in overcrowded housing without adequate access to jobs and language learning resources. Therefore, this couchsurfing initiative offers refugees meaningful opportunities to improve their lives.

Anyone in Germany and Austria can register their flat. The more details about your living situation (such as the number of flatmates, the languages you speak, your city and surroundings), the better for them to match you with the right refugee. If you want to take part in this initiative you may sign up here.

Workee.de Website

This is perhaps the most ambitious refugee integration project at the moment. The web app Workee aims to match employers’ needs and refugees’ skills. The challenge is significant: refugees for the most part speak English or French in addition to their native language but rarely speak German. It remains to be seen whether an initiative that provides non-fluent foreigners with jobs can avoid controversy.

That said, Germany’s job market is more flexible and is not suffering from high unemployment rates like the rest of Europe. The common complaint that low-skilled migrants and refugees take the jobs of natives might resonate less in this environment.

The act of obtaining work rights and refugee status might still be a hurdle for these refugees, in addition to the act of finding a job – and we hope Workee can support employers to get beyond these bureaucratic challenges. Currently, after three weeks live, the website offers over 430 jobs. In Berlin more than 60 employers have been using the platform -a good start for a promising initiative.

A school for refugee sounds very promising given the need for software developers in Europe and the booming of the tech industry all around the world. Anne Kjær riechert, founder of berlin peace innovation lab and Farhad Dilmaghani, former state secretary for labour and integration in Berlin developed the idea to change perceptions of refugees from a problem to deal with to an opportunity for Europe to enrich its culture and empower its economy. Their school project has just started this September, and it is likely that it will get a lot of applicants – Germany is expected to received 800,000 applications of asylum seekers this year. All that is required, is from Europeans to provide as little help as bringing an old unused laptop for those refugees to start learning. Migreat will keep an eye on the most promising one to recruit for developing our own code:)
And one last initiative – out of our top 3 but still interesting to mention as it will stimulate some conversation about what is fair to do and what Europe is doing to help people escape persecutions and war at home.

This initiative is very controversial to say the least. It was sparked by German activists based on the historical example of West Germans who used to smuggle people out of communist East Germany during the Cold War. It is a website that basically encourages Europeans to help undocumented migrants cross borders of Europe to the destination of their choice.

The video shows two Germans giving a lift to an undocumented migrant into Austria at a remote border crossing high in the Alps. Helping undocumented migrants cross the border is a criminal offence in most European countries.

The Peng Collective, the group of activists and artists behind the initiative, claim it is a justified act of civil disobedience. “Can it be just to restrict people’s most basic freedoms on the basis of their nationality? Who actually decides who deserves a better life and who doesn’t?” The website gives practical advice on where to find migrants, how to avoid attracting police attention, and legal tips on escaping prosecution for trafficking.

“In most cases, even if people doing so are caught, it is likely they will escape punishment, or at most get a fine,” the website says. It warns drivers not to accept any money, in order to escape prosecution for trafficking.

The collective has started to collect donations for a legal aid fund to help pay the costs of anyone prosecuted for helping people cross borders.

The Future of Sustainable Lifestyles

Celebrating Collaborative Solutions for a Sustainable Planet

The Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) is a Think and Do tank that works with businesses, policy makers, partner organisations and civil society towards a sustainable planet.

On May 31st 2016, the CSCP is hosting an Unconference to celebrate its 10th anniversary and achievements with those who made this story come true: over 250 decision makers from politics, business, civil society and academia from around the globe. They are featuring eco-innovations and the latest trends on sustainable lifestyles and circular economy, highlighting opportunities in food, textile, finance, information technology and cities.

Check out the Unconference website

Book Review: Reinventing Organizations

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Review by Harold Jarche

What is a “Teal Organization”? Frédéric Laloux, in Reinventing Organizations, uses a colour scheme, based on Integral Theory, to describe the historical development of human organizations: from primitive Red to achievement Orange to pluralistic Green to evolutionary Teal. Laloux lists three breakthroughs of Teal organizations:

  1. Self-management: driven by peer relationships
  2. Wholeness: involving the whole person at work
  3. Evolutionary purpose: let the organization adapt and grow

The book describes in detail how Teal organizations work and how they can be initiated. Laloux studied many organizations and through observation and engagement deduced what makes them work. These include various organizations, such as AESBuurtzorgFAVIMorning StarRHDSun Hydraulics, and Patagonia.

The author suggests that the world needs more Teal organizations so we can evolve as a society, fulfill our individual needs and perform better in our work. “First we shape our structures, and then our structures shape us” attributed to Winston Churchill. Geary Rummler stated that if you put a good person in a bad system, the system wins every time. Our organizations influence our behaviours, as they compose a significant part of our social networks, and creating better organizations will give us the necessary “technology” to further develop and overcome the challenges we face.

This book is one of the most important management books to read this decade. It articulates the framework needed for better organizations that can grow and adapt to  complex environments. This is not as difficult a read as The Wealth of Networks (still worth reading), but it is rich with anecdotes and descriptions of what works in creating the next level of organizational development. Here are some examples of self-management:

Job Title: No job titles

Crisis Management: Transparent information sharing. Everyone involved to let best response emerge from collective intelligence. 

Role Allocation: No promotions, but fluid rearrangement of roles based on peer agreement. Responsibility to speak up about issues outside of one’s scope of authority.

Performance Management: Focus on team performance. Peer-based processes for individual appraisals.

This book opened my eyes to how well self-managing organizations can function. The examples in this book should help to change anyone’s mind about the need for command and control, or a focus only on the bottom line. These are not necessary to be successful, as proven by the examples from multiple sectors and sizes of organizations.

One of Laloux’s conclusions is on the necessary conditions for success with the Teal model. It comes down to two main factors:

  • The CEO must drive the change toward self-management
  • The Board must believe in the change and support the CEO

Organizations can adopt Teal practices, but they will unlikely become whole, self-managing & evolutionary organizations without meeting these conditions. So the key role of a CEO is in holding the space so that teams can self-manage. From the stories in this book, it’s clear this is a difficult task in our short-term, market-driven economy, but we are entering the network era and it is possible to use new organizational models to achieve better results.

I strongly recommend Reinventing Organizations. Read it, talk about it, re-read it. It is an excellent background resource to Organize for Complexity, explaining 21st century organizational transformation in .

Improv Tools for Organizational Impact

Working to create greater social good is notoriously difficult, in part because doing it effectively requires that people perform a challenging balancing act.

That’s why the social sector can uniquely benefit from the approach and tools of the world of improv. Yes, improv!

The art of improv—refined by comedy troupes the world over—is about working with grounded rules and creative flexibility. As such, its core elements—establishing a baseline reality, understanding a character’s underlying motivations, creating a supportive environment, and listening—can help people in social organizations learn how to stay true to their overall goals while pivoting to respond creatively to the shifting needs of their beneficiaries.

Establishing the Baseline Reality: Who? What? Where?

An improviser’s first and foremost task is to establish the world in which a scene takes place. You can’t check in with the other actors before a scene and make decisions about the environment in advance. Once you initiate a scene, you quickly have to make clear to your partner—and the audience—who you are, where you are, and what you are doing. This is called establishing a “baseline reality.” From that reality, you can go almost anywhere. And when you and your fellow actors do change things up, the impact will be that much more apparent, because everyone already understands the starting point.

Similarly, in the social sector, organizations must be clear about who they are, what they are doing, and where they are doing it. This is starkly apparent in fundraising; it is difficult to show potential funders why your organization deserves support when you can’t differentiate what you do from what another organization does. Can everyone on your staff share the organization’s “baseline reality” within one or two sentences? They should be able to.

The “Why”

Articulating a baseline reality in improv is important, but it doesn’t tell the full story. A scene can take off only when a character’s point of view is clear. Imagine an improv scenario where a character thinks of her pet fish as a friend and takes the fish clothes shopping. Well, then she might take her fish to the movies. Or to an important work event. The combination of play with this unusual behavior, the reason behind it, and the escalation of that behavior because of that reason that makes the scenario work.

What is the reason behind what your organization does? This is like adding the words “because” to your baseline reality.

Progress on social issues can be slow and difficult to measure. Helping your employees and volunteers connect to the organization’s overarching why can help provide ongoing excitement and energy around their work. Can your staff and volunteers connect your organization’s mission to what they do?

Support

The best improv troupes operate as a united front. They rally around their partners’ ideas—wildly, irrationally, and ridiculously supporting them. If one player creates a baseline reality that is an “animal prom,” for example, the rest of the troupe is neighing, hissing, and lowing along. In improv, this is called support. The concept of “yes, and,” popularized by Tina Fey in her memoir Bossypants is one aspect of this support; the idea is that a scene will work only if you don’t judge or shut down your partner’s ideas, but instead build on them, adding your own creative direction to what is already established.

Learning how to support others by accepting and building on their ideas is critical to the success of social sector organizations. An organization’s staff members must work as a team; each part must be aware and supportive of the work and ideas of the other parts; and everyone working in the system must strive, together, to complement each other’s practices and serve the greater whole. Only in this way can it meet the evolving needs of the people it is striving to help.

Listening

In the Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual, the authors explain how critical careful listening is:

You should be listening carefully to every line to determine how your scene partner is setting you both up … if you are listening, then you will be able to react accordingly …

It is similarly essential in the social sector to create a true culture of listening—starting within the organization, ensuring that the multiple perspectives of the various stakeholder groups are heard, and then moving beyond the organization to ensure that the multiple constituencies the organization is serving are heard as well.

Last year, I co-facilitated a program that exposed teachers in the New York area to a variety of innovation tools, including some concepts from the world of improv. One school (encouraged by its Head of School, who said, “Education today is much more complex than in the past [and] educators today need to be not only educators, but innovators”) used these tools to reinvent its faculty meetings. Specifically, it stopped having large weekly faculty meetings and instead established a more flexible approach, where small groups of faculty could meet at their convenience to tackle shared challenges.

The structures and philosophy of the art of improv can help nonprofits stay grounded in what they are, while simultaneously allowing them to creatively and effectively respond to the ever-evolving needs of the people they strive to serve. I believe that if more organizations in the social sector embraced these simple structures—establishing a baseline reality, connecting to why they do what they do, and working with a culture of support and listening—the entire sector could be more impactful.

Four Strategies for Staying on the Path to Scale 

Rapid growth is a great problem to have. And if your leadership team and board have converged on a results-focused strategic plan, you’ve translated your mission into intended outcomes, and others have invested in your work and potential, you might have every reason to feel confident.

But no matter how successful a nonprofit leader is in pulling together these foundations for scale, many somehow still don’t feel fully prepared to move their organization forward. What’s missing?

Turns out that strategy, capital, and even people are essential, but not sufficient, pieces in the growth equation. In a prior article, I addressed the human side of scaling. Here are some thoughts on the fourth leg of the stool: how to design your organization so that it’s scale-ready.

1. Drive Multi-Year, Strategic Goals into Clear, Aligned Goals for Each Individual

An organization can hold itself accountable for impact only if it holds each person accountable for every one of the goals—both individual and team goals—that fit together and add up to create that impact. The first step, then, is to establish and communicate the organization’s highest priorities, and from there, develop and align individuals’ goals and expectations accordingly.

Scaling often combines with new strategies, teams, geographies, and management layers to complicate this task. For leaders, it becomes harder to communicate the strategy clearly and to break down strategic goals into their component parts; this makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to see if and how their goals contribute to the organization’s highest priorities.

We have found that staff members who know how to build program logic models can be particularly useful in addressing this goal-setting and cascading challenge. It’s best to start by using a top-down and bottom-up process to deconstruct strategic goals into annual operating, department, team, and individual goals, and check that all the pieces fit together. Challenge goals that don’t contribute to the highest priorities, check that each step of work is assigned, interdependencies clarified, due dates set, and success metrics defined. Confirm that each person understands how their work supports achievement of team and, in turn, organizational goals.

2. Tailor and Implement Systems that Support Disciplined Management Practices

An organization can maintain high performance only if it simultaneously holds people accountable for achieving their goals and provides support to achieve those goals. Much of the responsibility for this inevitably rests with the organization’s managers, and in scaling organizations, many are new to their role and/or the organization. Are yours up to the job?

The key is to structure a management approach that comprehensively guides managers to practices tailored to the organization’s culture and strategy. Establish a unified timeline and approach for staff to set team and team member goals, review goal progress, provide feedback and coaching, develop team member capabilities, and confront poor performance. Make decisions that reflect your needs; for example, if your culture and strategy value learning, your goal setting, monitoring, feedback, and coaching methods should support smart risk-taking and learning feedback loops.

3. Design the Structures that Support Your Aspirations

Disregard the prevailing wisdom that an organization chart is the structure. Beyond the organization chart, every organization also defines structure through decision-making roles and information flows. Scaling an organization exacerbates any confusion or weaknesses in these three systems, and questions arise: Who is accountable for what? Who has authority to make which decisions? Who needs access to what information?

As you evolve answers keep in mind one test: Are your structures making it harder or easier for people to work together, and achieve individual and team goals?

First, define teams and roles within—and between—them. Ask again and again: Who needs to work together to get work done? Consider the potential value of new teams and new kinds of teams (such as cross-functional and ad hoc task forces) that bridge silos.

Second, with growth, historic decision-making practices often no longer suffice. Deciding by consensus may now be too time-consuming. Top-down decision-makers may now lack important information. Redesigned processes can increase the speed and quality of decision-making, particularly when they are specific to the most critical organizational decisions. Popular tools for defining decision-making roles (for example, RAPID, DACI) provide useful questions to ask: For a given decision or type of decision, who has input, who recommends, who decides, who has the veto, who executes?

Internal communication is the third ingredient to consider. With growth, staff relationships expand exponentially, the distances between staff often grow, both in miles and reporting levels, and new team structures interrupt defined communication practices. Information—some of it accurate and some of it not—will flow up, down, and sideways, with rumors, assumptions, and misunderstandings filling any vacuums.

Examine your internal communication practices. Consider all the forms that communication can take: in-person meetings, listening tours, conference calls, newsletters, and staff surveys. And consider the evolution of your content: As the organization grows, messages need to be clearer, simpler, and more consistent.

4. Make Culture Intentional

A dysfunctional culture will defeat the best strategy, and as you scale, the likelihood that important parts of your culture are “wrong” will increase. Why?

The culture that got you to this exciting moment of growth may not be what you need to take the organization to its next stage. Growing often requires changes in management practices (usually, they become more formal) that conflict with the freewheeling spirit that was so essential earlier.

With growth, cultures tend to fragment and morph in unexpected ways. However well you communicate it, how can you be sure that staff across increasing numbers of geographies—with diverse tenures, experiences, and assumptions—uniformly and universally understand your intent? New senior leaders will also pull the culture in new and varied ways as they assimilate, and, as you create new departments and groups, new subcultures will emerge.

A nonprofit CEO recently reflected on the process of consciously and deliberately designing his organization, “looking ahead,” he says, “not at one-off projects but holistically … how does everything fit [together] toward advancing the mission? And how do we manage our people, our culture, to do a whole lot better job on delivering [on our mission]?”

Knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle.

Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change

An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris today.The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

“The Paris Agreement allows each delegation and group of countries to go back home with their heads held high. Our collective effort is worth more than the sum of our individual effort. Our responsibility to history is immense” said Laurent Fabius, President of the COP 21 UN Climate change conference and French Foreign Minister.

The minister, his emotion showing as delegates started to rise to their feet, brought the final gavel down on the agreement to open and sustained acclamation across the plenary hall.

French President Francois Hollande told the assembled delegates: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.”

Agreement Captures Essential Elements to Drive Action Forward

The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP21) cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion:

  • Mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal
  • A transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action
  • Adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts
  • Loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts
  • Support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures

As well as setting a long-term direction, countries will peak their emissions as soon as possible and continue to submit national climate action plans that detail their future objectives to address climate change.

This builds on the momentum of the unprecedented effort which has so far seen 188 countries contribute climate action plans to the new agreement, which will dramatically slow the pace of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The new agreement also establishes the principle that future national plans will be no less ambitious than existing ones, which means these 188 climate action plans provide a firm floor and foundation for higher ambition.

Agreement Strengthens Support to Developing Nations

The Paris Agreement underwrites adequate support to developing nations and establishes a global goal to significantly strengthen adaptation to climate change through support and international cooperation.

The already broad and ambitious efforts of developing countries to build their own clean, climate-resilient futures will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries.

Governments decided that they will work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to USD 100 billion by 2020 while also before 2025 setting a new goal on the provision of finance from the USD 100 billion floor.

Signing the Paris Agreement

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the COP (Conference of the Parties), it will be deposited at the UN in New York and be opened for one year for signature on 22 April 2016–Mother Earth Day.

The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.

Cities and Provinces to Companies and Investors Aligning

Today’s landmark agreement was reached against the backdrop of a remarkable groundswell of climate action by cities and regions, business and civil society.

The scale of the Action Agenda globally is unprecedented, part of which is captured through Nazca and the LPAA:

  • Over 7,000 cities, including the most vulnerable to climate change, from over 100 countries with a combined population with one and a quarter billion people and around 32% of global GDP.
  • Sub-national states and regions comprising one fifth of total global land area and combined GDP of $12.5 trillion.
  • Over 5,000 companies from more than 90 countries that together represent the majority of global market capitalisation and over $38 trillion in revenue.
  • Nearly 500 investors with total assets under management of over $25 trillion

 

Overcoming the Fear Factor in Nonprofit Decision-Making 

Nonprofits have the potential to achieve far more by decentralizing and clarifying power and decision-making within their organizations.  Conversations about the need for nonprofits to improve their performance and results abound, but we often pay little heed to solutions that stand right in front of us.

I gained clarity on such a solution in 2010, when I created—with the support of the Boston-based search firm Commongood Careers—a survey that examined decision-making within nonprofits. It was apparent to me through my work with nonprofits that people involved with them—whether executive directors, board members, funders, staff members, or volunteers—are often frustrated with the inefficiency of their organization’s decision-making processes. With the veritable maze of interlocking decisions nonprofits face, and the relative lack of clarity about who has power and who makes decisions, making a decision can be time consuming and inefficient, creating bottlenecks and the prevailing sense that people are spinning their wheels.

We called the survey “Views From The Field: Decision-Making At Nonprofits,” and over the course of two weeks, 218 nonprofit people filled it out.

Though the respondent pool was relatively small, the level of consensus was surprising. Asked whether they were confused about the decisions they could make, more than 78 percent of managers said yes. When asked whether this confusion increased operational inefficiency, 92 percent of the managers replied in the affirmative. But what popped out to me were the short, heartfelt stories that people revealed when we asked them how decision-making happens in their organizations and how these practices affect them. For example:

  • “I left my last organization because of lack of clarity about my role and decision-making capacity. As COO, my decisions were often undermined by the CEO.”
  • “The lack of autonomy to make decisions has negatively impacted my job satisfaction and contributed to my decision to seek employment in a different organization.”
  • “My organization is heavily into ‘top down’ decision-making, which is counter-productive to real team-building and efficiency.”

In my own work with nonprofits, I’ve seen many leaders regularly make decisions without involving others. This leaves coworkers with the sense that they aren’t trusted to participate. Meanwhile, these leaders are typically overwhelmed with unsustainably large workloads, but remain stuck because they don’t have the skills they need to involve others in the decision-making process.

I believe nonprofits have the potential to achieve far more by decentralizing and clarifying power and decision-making within their organizations. What prevents them from considering taking this step? Often, it’s fear.

How? It’s simple. Most nonprofits live close to the edge, with an inherent fear that failure is just around the corner. This constant fear usually results in a situation where a very small cadre of people hold tightly to substantive decision-making. In this context, executive directors tend to underutilize their organization’s human capital and, as a result, often fail to achieve focus on the decisions that can really make a difference. After all, if they are involved in making every decision, then their ability to make the most important ones will certainly erode.

Another common fear is conflict. This fear often leads to organizations taking a consensual approach to decision-making. Unfortunately, this method often takes a great deal of time, may not provide breakthrough thinking, and frequently results in re-visiting decisions until all parties are exhausted.

Taken individually or together, these fears have the undeniable effect of complicating decision-making processes in nonprofits.

The remedy is equally simple: Talking about power and decision-making openly within an organization can go a long way toward diffusing fears. Doing so requires that organizations adopt a common language for discussing who should have decision-making power, as well as an established and transparent process to help navigate the worries that will inevitably spring up during the course of these conversations.

Ultimately, the goal of talking is to help move past fear and enable an organization’s members to make their decision-making process more efficient. To accomplish this, everyone must learn how to speak up and advocate for participating in decisions that affect their jobs.

Here are some ways accomplish this:

  • Be aware of the biases that guide beliefs about who should be making what decisions. For example, do you believe that only people with advanced degrees should make the decisions in your organization? Break down your biases on this issue and challenge yourself to have a more open mind.
  • Manage your fear of rejection and conflict. Often people hold back from asserting themselves because they fear what others might say. One person told us that she didn’t want to advocate for decisions for fear of “being seen as power hungry” by her peers. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I’m honest about the decisions I want to make?” Is potentially avoiding the worst-case scenario a worthy reason to not be true to yourself?
  • Take a careful inventory of the decisions that affect your job. If there are decisions you want to weigh in on but can’t, advocate for your involvement directly and compassionately: “This decision is important to my job, and I want to make it. I’m willing to take the responsibility for making this decision if you will trust me to take it on.”

This shift allows leaders to focus more on making high-impact decisions and everyone else to use more of their natural decision-making capacity to help move the organization forward in a meaningful way. Ultimately, nonprofits have the responsibility to generate the greatest possible social impact. It would behoove us to work through clarifying and driving down decision-making practices that best mobilize all of our human resources to that end.

193 Nations Unanimously Agree on Sustainable Development Goals

Broad, universal agenda to end poverty, fight inequality and protect environment

A bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at the start of a three-day Summit on Sustainable Development.

The historic adoption of the new Sustainable Development Agenda, with 17 global goals at its core, was met with a thunderous standing ovation from delegations that included many of the more than 150 world leaders who will be addressing the Summit.

It was a scene that was, and will be, transmitted to millions of people around the world through television, social media, radio, cinema advertisements, and cell phone messages.

Ushering in a new era of national action and international cooperation, the new agenda commits every country to take an array of actions that would not only address the root causes of poverty, but would also increase economic growth and prosperity and meet people’s health, education and social needs, while protecting the environment.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Summit, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:

“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”

“It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms,” he added. “It is an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership (that) conveys the urgency of climate action (and) is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all. Above all, it pledges to leave no one behind.”

“The true test of commitment to Agenda 2030 will be implementation. We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” ended the Secretary-General.

The new Sustainable Development Goals build on the goal-setting agendas of United Nations conferences and the widely successful Millennium Development Goals that have improved the lives of millions of people. The new agenda recognizes that the world is facing immense challenges, ranging from widespread poverty, rising inequalities and enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power to environmental degradation and the risks posed by climate change.

“Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda,” states the Declaration adopted by the leaders. “We are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting ourselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of ’win-win‘ cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world.”

The official adoption came shortly after Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly stating, “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope. ”

General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development “ambitious” in confronting the injustices of poverty, marginalization and discrimination. “We recognize the need to reduce inequalities and to protect our common home by changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. And, we identify the overwhelming need to address the politics of division, corruption and irresponsibility that fuel conflict and hold back development.”

A representative of civil society, Salil Shetty, Secretary-General of Amnesty International said the public could not be blamed for being skeptical, as there was a gap between the “world we live and the world we want.” He added that the Sustainable Development Goals “represented people’s aspirations and can, and must, be reached.”