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If you bumped into an old friend on the street and asked, “how ya doing?” and s/he replied, “I’m sustainable,” you’d probably be worried.

Sustaining is a low standard. And a highly unlikely possibility since the only constant is change. While “sustainability” has been an important rallying word, it sets an unrealistic and extremely low bar in terms of what’s possible. At the same time, there is no clear alignment about what exactly should be sustained, or about who gets to say what’s sustained, distinguished or ignored.

Thriving is a more inspiring aspiration than sustaining because would rather thrive than merely sustain. For individuals to thrive, the whole planet has to because of how absolutely interdependent the web of life is. Moving our consciousness from sustaining to thriving is an important step toward getting the work and the world we all want to live in. …

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The UN’s 17 Item To-Do List for the World: the 2030 Agenda

In my work on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) compliance, I see so many symptom-oriented solutions that can and do make good things happen but cannot possibly trigger the cultural and personal transformation needed in order to fully realize the SDGs.

It’s interesting to be working on systemic change with organizations and, at the same time, at the United Nations in New York. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to people I meet at the UN that, until we address deeper issues as well as the role of individual consciousness development, it’s going to be impossible to accomplish the 2030 agenda. Helping organizations to connect the dots between their employees’ individual vitality, their workplace culture and SDG accomplishment requires more than just helping them choose a few of the 17 goals and adding programs around those goals. …

When you bring in organizational development consultants, it is because every system needs objective, skilled input for it to function at its best. Bringing in competent consultants will probably improve things. But, if you aren’t accounting for exactly what you want to change and why, as well as for who is on board and who has other ideas about what needs to happen, how will you know if you are on a stable platform for development? And how will you know whether or not your team is headed toward where you want to go?

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Especially as we recognize the need for wisdom, purposefulness, curiosity, and values to be better supported in workplace cultures, the advantages of measuring and clarifying cultural metrics are clear. Yet, it is remarkable how many leaders skip the step of getting a full spectrum assessment before engaging advisors and facilitators. …


Dr. Joni Carley

Values-Driven Leadership & Cultural Development

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