Does EMERGE meet the Living Building Challenge?

Emerge Front Cover OnlyLast week I had the lovely experience of introducing my new book: EMERGE: A Strategic Leadership Model for the Sustainable Building Community at the 10th Annual Living Future Unconference in Seattle Washington.

Being among the 1000+ committed, smart, and courageous proponents of a positive living future was exhilarating. And it didn’t hurt that we sold out our stock of books at the ILFI Bookstore! On the way home from the conference I had this crazy thought… Would/could EMERGE meet the Living Building Challenge? So, although I am not in any official capacity regarding this, and totally biased, here goes my analysis of how the EMERGE Leadership Model measures up using the framework of the Living Building Challenge:

Site:   Emergent Leadership is grounded in the reality that YOU can only truly lead from an authentic place. Not only that, you can only influence others when you start from where THEY are. Check!

Water:  Emergent leadership is applicable to every situation where the aspiration is a world that is “culturally just, socially rich, and ecologically restorative.”1  It is not just leading for the sake of leading, it responds to our shared “thirst” to transform the world for the greater good. Check!

Energy: Emergent leadership looks for the “hotspots” in systems and amplifies the energy there to shift mindset, create new design processes, and identify life-sustaining solutions. Net energy producing AND carbon-emission free. Check!

Health:  Emergent leadership recognizes that we need each other to do our work.  Burn-out is a hazard we must contend with.  Coming together to work and play in collaborative environments makes sure we stay healthy and productive. Check!

Materials: Emergent leadership acknowledges that there are toxic situations and ideas that must be acknowledged through transparency and dis-empowered by refusal to use them in our leadership initiatives.  By doing so, we open the door to innovation and opportunities to trade better ideas. Check!

Equity: Every one can lead from any chair using emergent principles.  The power is in personal integrity, not position or title. Check!

Beauty: Emergent leadership connects us to the beauty within each other and in our idealism. It’s okay to imagine. In fact, we want you to. Check!

Scale Jumping: Emergent leadership works at any scale but it works best at the human scale. Check!

Performance: One of the most important aspects of any of the “Living” Challenges is that it’s based on performance not promise. Individuals and organizations that have studied and are applying the EMERGE Leadership Model have reported back that in fact it’s helped them achieve leadership goals they’ve set.  They successfully launched policy initiatives, started business enterprises, and traversed risky transitions. Just last week at Living Future I learned of two more success stories. In one case an organization had just learned they’d won a $60K grant due to a connection made in the EMERGE Leadership network. In the other case, an individual had learned they’d just gotten the job of their dreams, one she’d outlined on her EMERGE personal leadership development plan.    Check!

So, bias freely admitted, EMERGE measures up.  What a good feeling!

1 ILFI Mission. The EMERGE Leadership Project is proud to be one of many partners supporting the Conference and the International Living Future Institute in 2016.International Living Future Institute logo