Leading Chaos, Paradox & Dysfunctionality in Sustainable Development

Article excerpt

Thank you, and I am honored to speak with on this morning on a global topic that has a profound impact on our lives today, and on the lives of future generations.

When Cathy Colglazier from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment invited me to be your keynote speaker I was honored. It is also a pleasure to be in Kansas and away from the New York City area this week. The Republican National Convention is causing the ultimate gridlock experience.

While researching my speech, I noticed that some of our agenda topics embrace sustainable development, business integration and leadership. Also, the vision statement of the KDHE states, "healthier Kansans living in safe and sustainable environments." (Robert Bramby, Secretary KDHE). Today's conference topics such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Alternative Fuels, Environmental Management Programs, and other strategic issues dominate this conference and relate to my keynote address.

The Kansas Public Advocate's Office, in organizing this conference, also is a prime example of EH&S leadership.

Now you may ask yourself, how did Jack arrive at his topic? In order to determine the volume of information on the topic of leadership and attain my goal of presenting to you original intellectual content, I "Googled" the net and found the following:

Topic                             Number of References

Leadership                             21.6 million

Sustainable Development
Leadership                             1.4 million

EH&S Leadership                        6,200

Leading Chaos, Paradox
and Dysfunctionality
in Sustainable Development             15

Leading Chaos, Paradox and
Dysfunctionality in Sustainable
Development in Kansas                  1

I now can feel confident that I am able to be creative and unique in presenting original intellectual content and thought.

I want to take an audience survey and ask you some questions to give me a gauge of your demographics. So just raise your hand if you can recognize or associate with the following. You can cheer or boo if you wish, just don't throw anything, as I mention the following:

1. Benjamin Franklin (Businessman, statesman, 1706-1790)

2. Gene Simmons (Rock star, KISS)

3. November 22, 1963 (JFK assassinated)

4. Frank Sinatra (Singer 1915-1998)

5. Howdy Doody (Children's TV Show, 1950's)

6. Walter P. Chrysler (Ellis and Wamego, Kansas, founder Chrysler Corp.)

7. Pine Tar Incident (George Brett, Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees)

8. Dick Vermeil (Kansas City Chiefs football coach)

9. Bob Dole (Former U.S. Senator Kansas)

10. "Fish and visitors stink after three days" (Ben Franklin Almanacs ca 1723-1748)

Now let me ask you another type of question and I will give you another type of test. If I were to ask you to give me the names of the top 100 most influential people or leaders of the past 1000 years, whom would you put on that list? Take a minute to write down 3 to 5 names. According to a poll done by A&E Network, here are some names from the list:

89. Susan B Anthony

87. Rachael Carson--author of Silent Spring which launched the grassroots environmental movement

62. Walt Disney

58. Joan of Arc

44. Alexander Graham Bell

39. Dante Alighieri

23. Abraham Lincoln

19. Michelangelo

11. Leonardo da Vinci

In the interest of time I want to end here with the list and at the end of my talk I will give you the top 10 most influential people and leaders of the past 1000 years. In analyzing what made these people leaders, we'll see if we can determine what the attributes of future leaders might be.

All of these people displayed leadership, good or evil, and generated a legacy, good or evil. They saw the relationship of many elements, and were able to integrate those elements. …