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Leadership Practices: Sustainable Organizational Change begins with Individual Change

By Jed Lindholm –

AOM Workshop Input: Sustainable Organizational Change begins with Individual Change

WPI Course: OBC1010 Leadership Practices


Overview

I have modified my teaching content and methods in ways that integrate personal reflection, community networking, a Sustainability Mindset, and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as critical elements for students to build personal leadership models. As I have been changing my teaching content and approach, I’ve recognized broader changes toward sustainability that have been taking place across WPI’s operational practices.


Course Change Process

My steps in creating increased awareness between the climate crisis and my leadership course began in 2016 with early discussions in WPI’s Business School and throughout the campus concerning issues of sustainability and personal leadership. The immediate shutdown of in-person teaching and working caused by Covid, the multi-year continuation of masking and testing, and the personal loss that we all felt from the pandemic brought increased student interest in student’s developing their own leadership for themselves and others. The isolation people felt during Covid has brought new student interest in leadership via virtual and in-person environments. Covid highlighted the importance of teaching leadership as an active, real-time process that provides learning material to a student at both the personal and group levels. I use personal reflection assignments so that students learn the importance of designated time and routines where they practice being still and reflect on leadership, ecosystems, personal balance, as well as broader thoughts of their group and organization’s business needs.


My personal journey in changing the way I teach leadership began with talks between myself and other teachers that share a concern/interest in sustainability. These conversations grew into developing a new shared community and new connections with people interested in sustainability. As I use SDGs and the 5 Ps (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership) in my teaching, I developed a sense of adaptive change and consideration for how sustainability is communicated.


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