Richer Earth is the home for my publishing and curriculum development activities related to leading for positive change. It is closely related to The Elephant Wisdom Project where I raise funds for holistic conservation efforts.

Purposeful Leadership for Positive Social Change

We live in turbulent times: climate change, geopolitical disruptions, economic uncertainty, social upheaval, and more. The call for “more leadership” is constant yet what does this mean in the context of significant uncertainty and change? It means that we need to think about leaders and leadership differently: more values-based, purpose-driven, and stakeholder-centric.

Our global society faces big, complex, interdependent challenges. They will not be solved by any single individual or organization alone. Whereas as the 20th century was a time of the few solving for many, the 21st must be a time of the many solving for many. That is, leadership will be more connected and collaborative—more open source platform than proprietary operating system. It will be based on systems thinking and principles.

The good news is that we have an abundance of people trying to solve social problems through both non-profit and for-profit organizations. It is inspiring to visit a co-working space and see people tackling issues that have confounded traditional government aid programs and NGO initiatives for decades: wildlife and community coexistence, sanitation in poor communities, rural economic development, urban resilience, and more. And they are making progress.

The bad news is that while many of these people have tremendous intelligence and great technical expertise, they have not been exposed to the tools and techniques of effective leadership to improve their effectiveness and expand their impact. Great leaders emerge though often by chance.

This book and the multi-media platform of which it will be a part will be an accelerant to the efforts of these pragmatic idealists. Created specifically to meet the needs of those working to meet social challenges, it integrates relevant elements of Western approaches organizational and social change leadership with wisdom from Eastern and First Nation traditions. It incorporates practical lessons from the field and cutting-edge work on complex systems. It provides a concise, relentlessly practical guide to leadership thinking and action when positive social change is the goal. To better meet the needs of these leaders, the CADRE approach is designed to scale easily and inexpensively.

The content is arrayed across three distinct nested systems:

  • The Personal System: Aligning heart, head, and hands around one’s individual purpose, values, and performance success (PVP infographic). Constructing feedback loops to foster ongoing growth. A leadership journal and leadership development canvas are key tools.
  • The Organizational System: Building an adaptive, resilient, trust-based culture to foster high achievement and accountability. Utilizing design thinking and smart failure concepts to spur innovation. Operating principles and a team performance canvas are key tools as is PVP scaled to the team or organizational level.
  • The Societal System: Connecting with a community of leaders aligned on values. Revealing the system to itself to catalyze change. Engaging the system in purposeful action. The CADRE toolkit (CADRE infographic) enables tangible action.

This book is envisioned as a foundation for ongoing work across multiple media that includes a community of collaborators.