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There Is No Planet B – We Need Some Action Heroes

Leading is no longer enough

I attended BizClimate 2010 last week, part of a series of conferences taking place at New York Climate Week headlined by the Bill Clinton Initiative (only $30,000 a ticket). Climate Week revolved around the opportunities for business in investment, cost saving and the creation of climate wealth.

BizClimate 2010 used Moore's Law of Sustainability as a vision for the way in which business would drive the carbon economy in the future. Gordon Moore was a founder of Intel and changed the face of the technology world when he predicted that the density of semi-conductors on a chip would double every year.

By setting this expectation, it drove investment leading to innovation. In the same way the conference set out to explore the potential in exponential growth of green energy management and solutions.

The core themes explored by expert panels were Innovation, Investment, Expectation and Leadership. What was reinforced over the course of the event was a consensus that action was needed, that governments were loath to take the lead and that any advancement towards a ‘better world' lay in the hands of business leaders.

We are at the start of a pioneering age with potentially greater significance than the industrial revolution. There are fortunes to be made. So what's holding it up?

There is no measurement. No price on carbon, no visibility on regulation, no obvious clean energy horse to bet on. Perceived risk is the barrier. Everyone is waiting for someone to break from the pack. We don't want the dot.energy race to become another dot.com farrago.

It takes courage to decide on a new course of action. It takes strength to stand your ground and deliver change. It requires inner conviction and determination to succeed against the status quo. The world needs leaders who believe in a cause, who can communicate a vision and inspire others to great heights. We need action heroes.

What is the difference between an action hero and a leader? I think, today, ‘manager' is the new leader and leader has now become ‘action hero'. It is no longer enough to lead.

Generating new action is the route to change, learning and growth. The term ‘leader' has lost connection with urgency, decisiveness and a link with future security and prosperity. When you see an action hero you are reminded of what is important. They are a walking billboard for direction and purpose, immediately inspiring a sense of confidence, energizing those around them.

Inertia is the enemy, generated by habit, fear and greed. Time for Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion! Action orientation is a commitment to change and a commitment to the future that generates results, produces measurement and reinforces progress that is being made.

Sustainability, climate wealth, green energy, carbon markets will figure large in all our futures. Leaders are not doing enough. There is no Planet B. Where are the action heroes?

More Stories By James Donnelly

James Donnelly is Managing Director of Mitchell Phoenix USA based in New York. Mitchell Phoenix also has offices in London, UK. He brings over 20 years of experience of working with CEOs and companies around the world across the spectrum of industry. He specializes in Corporate Culture; Leadership Development; Communication; Change Management and Strategic Thinking. He is an expert in leading change from the top down delivering measurable results and lasting insight.

Donnelly’s passion for leadership development and change management was ignited through his early career experiences. His background is predominantly in sales and marketing. He began his career with IBM before joining the Royal Air Force, gaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He then ran sales teams at AT&T. These three vastly different cultures sparked a lifelong interest into what made companies great.

Donnelly has delivered over 10,000 hours of seminars, speeches and presentations to large and small audiences from the boardroom to the frontline. He is credited with making fundamental differences to people’s corporate lives. He is one of the principal architects of Mitchell Phoenix’s programs, principles and philosophy.

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