What is management?
To be sure, the fundamental task of management remains the same: to make people capable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structures, and the training and development they need to perform and to respond to change.
Management guru and philosopher Peter F. Drucker defined in the industrial age of the 20th century the essence of management and taught us that management as a discipline does not change. But management is the competence of making people with different skills and knowledge capable of jointly responding to change by finding and applying
3.The right structures
4.The right training
How do we respond to climate change?
Without doubt we need to respond to climate change, because the iceberg is melting as Harvard Business School professor John Kotter once wrote. Climate scientist Alice Bows Larkin explained the situation of our species and the global ecosystem in plain single digit numbers:
Current emission output puts us on a plus 4˚ Celsius trajectory until 2050; because emissions build up over time and changing global warming is like steering a large ocean vessel. We have to start much in advance and we need a huge area to make a turn around. If we want to avoid the plus 4˚ Celsius trajectory and settle for a plus 2˚ trajectory we need to act now and we need to change our behavior at large scale at all levels of social life, ourselves, corporations and governments.
What is management in the Anthropocene?
The Anthropocene is defined by human impact on the planet. It is therefore each one of us who can contribute to avoid climate change. But as with all challenges of scale it takes management to make people effective and productive. Management in the Anthropocene must therefore be summarized as
making people with different skills and knowledge capable of responding to climate change by
Who will be the Chief Executive Officer?
We need somebody who connects deeply with both people and the planet. We need somebody with an extraordinary sense of self-control and an established routine of management by objectives. Who dares to step forward and who will receive a popular endorsement for this position?
The paradox in this age is that we all need to be CEO’s of our own individual economy, our own inner ecology, but still need a CEO to move us forward as a whole.
More on the Anthropocene on NPR.
We reached yesterday without doubt the lowest point in this campaign – after many peak experiences; and I have to ask if it was a too visionary idea to invite Andy Couturier to China, because both his book’s message as well as the general state of the Chinese society are too far apart from each other as to be able to establish a meaningful dialogue.
Andy’s luncheon talk at Asia Pulp and Paper’s China HQ, one of the world’s largest paper manufacturers, revealed how far his messages are removed from corporate reality. While Andy spoke about rural self-sufficiency farming and the meaning of having downtime to think independently, about 70 employees played either with their cell phones or munched on McDonald’s burgers.
Later that day, we had a private event at Ecoland Club, an allotment garden community, where we discussed with permaculture aficionados the viability of the 五成二农 concept. Is five days a week urban life and two days a week rural life a solution to the nature alienation city folks experience? I don’t have an answer to this question, but some contact with nature seems to be better than none.
The founder of Ecoland told us about his difficulties to retain members and Andy showed with his answer how little he understands about the pressure which Chinese citizens are exposed to. He suggested to look people firmly into their eyes and tell them to take time for farming weekends instead of cram school. If it were all that easy…