On August 1st I started my new job as professor for Sustainable Working & Organising at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda and Den Bosch. This chair is part of the new Centre of Expertise Sustainable Business. It will be of no surprise that I will use the Logic of Feeling as a skeleton for profiling what ‘sustainable’ means, and the Large Scale Intervention approach for putting flesh on the bones of sustainable working and organising. Last week, chairman of the board Paul Rüpp emphasized in his welcoming speech for new employees that sustainable development forms one of the pillars in the view on education of Avans. Recently I came across a new booklet that might be of help in putting ‘sustainable education’ into practice. It is called The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education, by Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge. The triple focus is:
- Focusing on ourselves: on our inner world, connecting with our feelings and sense of purpose
- Tuning in to other people: empathizing, relating to others from their perspective, building connected relationships
- Understanding the larger world: the way systems interact and create webs of interdependence.
The triple focus of understanding self, others and larger system fits perfectly with my approach to sustainable working, organising and teaching. This approach is built on a set of four basic assumptions :
- Systems Thinking: Things are connected in time and space, changing part of the system will influence the whole system
- Participation of stakeholders: Active participation and self-management enhance commitment to action and learning
- Action Learning/Research: Not separating thinking and doing in time or in roles facilitates real time change and promotes a reflective attitude
- Sensemaking, understanding the whole: When people share their views and experiences with head, heart and hands, it is possible to find common ground for actions that help realise a desirable future.