The ASI team had the pleasure of hosting our first Let’s Talk Leadership event earlier this month. We envisioned this series to be a space where people could come together to talk candidly about the leadership skills required to move toward a low-carbon, socially-inclusive future. With authenticity top of mind, we made the decision not to record our sessions to encourage open and honest conversations. What amazed us was the level of passion demonstrated by the attendees and speakers, and their commitment to collaboration was nothing short of inspiring. 

Instead of recording this event, we had a graphic recorder put together an illustration capturing some of our collective thoughts. The first event in this series focused on collaboration for climate action, which allowed us to explore how collaboration can promote a shared understanding of sustainability challenges and solutions. By working together, we have the chance to be greater than our sum of parts, offering insights and perspectives that would not be available alone.

So what does it actually mean to bring a collaborative mindset to the workplace? We’ve compiled a few key takeaways from the event if you weren’t able to join us:

  • Trust is Essential

The word “trust” made an appearance multiple times in our conversations, and for good reason. Anamika Mukherjee pointed out that without trust climate action work cannot move forward; trust forms the foundation upon which meaningful collaborations can thrive. When stakeholders trust each other’s intentions, expertise, and commitment, they are more likely to work together, share knowledge, and pool resources towards common climate goals. 

  • Finding Our Allies

The ASI team (especially Program Manager, Taylor Stimpson) loves a good nature metaphor. When talking about collaboration, Ainaz Bozorgzadeh emphasized that good collaboration requires us to find our allies. That we must act like water, together – in this way we can use our collective forces to erode systems that no longer serve us and create streams of change. 

Allies provide strength in numbers and amplify the impact of individual efforts. By collaborating with like-minded individuals, organizations, and communities, we can form a powerful force to steward meaningful change.

  • Create Conditions for Collaboration

One topic that was brought up was the importance of how to engage meaningfully to create the conditions for successful collaboration. Kat Cadungog used the analogy of placing a fish in the forest – because the forest lacks the conditions to support the fish’s survival, it would have no chance to thrive. The same can be said for conditions to support effective collaboration. If the right conditions aren’t there for all the stakeholders to participate, the collaboration will fail.

To foster the right conditions for collaboration we need to have open communication, share our knowledge, and provide access to resources that can support a cohesive vision. Clear goals and shared purpose can serve as guiding beacons to align us toward collective climate action.

  • Use Your Power Wisely and Intentionally

Your power has the potential to create meaningful transformation! All three of our speakers and attendees highlighted the need to use your power intentionally. We talked about how important it is to be aware of it, to understand where it comes from, and to know the impact your power has on those around you. This includes:

  • Acknowledging Your Power: By acknowledging power dynamics, we have the opportunity to create a space that encourages open communication, active participation, and shared decision-making. This allows for a more inclusive and balanced collaboration where everyone’s contributions are valued.

  • Leveraging Your Power: By understanding your power, you have the chance to leverage it for the greater good. You can use your spheres of influence to advocate for diverse perspectives and facilitate a collaborative process that values the input of all stakeholders. One of our attendees said it beautifully, “power should be used as a tool that we can share, redistribute, and use to our advantage to shift systems.”

  • Being Mindful of Your Power: Be mindful of how your power and actions impact others and approach collaborations with humility and openness. By actively listening, valuing different viewpoints, and seeking consensus, you can mitigate power imbalances and foster a collaborative environment.

Our Next Let’s Talk Leadership Event:

Explore the power of brave leadership and its potential to create a better, more sustainable world for all. If you missed the first event, not to worry! Join the Academy for Sustainable Innovation on June 6th for an interactive discussion on brave leadership strategies and how to inspire those around you to take a courageous step forward!