systems thinking on leadership: meadows fellows

donella meadows fellows

Sheesh! Look at the sustainability leadership stacking up at Dana Meadows legacy project in Vermont!

The new crop of Meadows Fellows come from 10 states and 5 countries with 16 women and 4 men, and were selected for their ability to grapple effectively with multi-stakeholders and diverse issues, and to influence thinking in wide circles of people.

Each Fellow employs an approach to sustainability that displays analytic clarity, systemic change and attention to spirit, values, and meaning.

This program honors my hero, Donella (Dana) Meadows, in its focus on combining analytic clarity with reflection and vision.

Meadows' affection and brilliance were contagious. Her guiding message was quite simple:

We humans are smart enough to have created complex systems and amazing productivity; surely we are also smart enough to make sure that everyone shares our bounty, and surely we are smart enough to sustainably steward the natural world upon which we all depend.

The Fellows Program nurtures such qualities in a selected group over two-year cycles.

The mission of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program is to accelerate the shift to global sustainability by increasing the effectiveness of well-positioned sustainability leaders. Fellows learn to address social, economic and environmental issues at their root causes while benefiting from a national and international network of talented and supportive colleagues.

Being an effective leader for sustainability requires:

Skillful learning within complex economic, social, and environmental systems

Acting effectively in change processes involving multiple stakeholders with diverse goals and needs

To promote these abilities, Fellows receive training, coaching and practice in systems thinking, reflective conversation and visioning. Concurrently, they build learning partnerships with each other and Sustainability Institute (SI) staff that will support their continued use of these skills long after the end of their tenure as current Fellows.

Check out this rack of talent:

Making the shift to a sustainable society involves changing complex environmental, social, and economic systems. This is a challenge that requires strategic analysis and action coupled with excellent interpersonal and leadership skills.

The sort of people who apply to this program are up to big things in their lives but at the same time feeling stuck or at a platuea in their ability to accomplish what they are committed to. They are open minded rather than being attached to existing methods and techniques.

Dontcha wish they had training and talent like this in each community? Then, mebbe, we could get'r done!

Published by Ken on April 14th, 2007 tagged Systems Thinking

2 Responses to “systems thinking on leadership: meadows fellows”

  1. laura freeman Says:

    I'm an incoming meadows fellow, and in 1996 I was on the big island for a local food festival, and spoke about local and regional cattle production. The leader was a guy named Rick Habein, I think, and he and a group were trying to figure out a way around the insane system of shipping cattle live to the mainland, putting them in feedlots, then buying boxed beef from the big packers. What ever happened to this effort? I'll check back in a week or so for a response. Thanks la

  2. Ken Says:

    Aloha Laura, and congrats on your fellowship!
    According to this recent RMI report on Hawaii Island food system, local slaughter of beef is down nearly 2/3 since the 90s.