You’re Going To School For What?

When I tell people I’m back in school, I give them a moment for a spit take and then wait for the following questions.

Q1. Didn’t you get an MBA a couple of years ago?

A. Yep.

Q2. And you’re back in school?

A. Yep.

Q3. (Pause) Why are you back in school?

A. I enjoy building voluminous debts.  It’s character building…  Also, I want to become an expert in Sustainable Development so that I can pair that knowledge with my MBA to work on some of the toughest problems facing humanity.

Q3. That’s great. (Long pause coupled with a confused look.) So, what exactly is Sustainable Development?

A. It’s like… Um… Err… Well… You know when…

From there I typically launch into a long-winded explanation which causes eyes to gloss over at which time people invariably remember an appointment they are late for.  Given that repeated experience, I thought I should do a bit of navel gazing to come up with a better answer.  The following Venn diagrams are the output of said navel gazing…

Having shared that, I think from now on I’ll just steal the definition coined by the Bruntland Commission, which states that Sustainable Development,  “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Yep.  That’ll do just fine.


4 thoughts on “You’re Going To School For What?

  1. I like the graph.
    The trouble is Chris that only idealists believe that people in business will shift their focus. It is generally true that if a change affects the bottom line (money) then forget about it. The wholesale destruction of ecosystems on the planet and the reckless disregard for any safeguards because it might cost are a testament to human nature of the worst kind. Nothing that I see from the Liberal side of politics in Australia changes that opinion.
    It would be nice if we could all work for survival. Unfortunately you have to remember the saying about not seeing the forest for the trees.

    • Mick,
      I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, although I must admit I find your outlook a bit daunting. I think the problem lies in looking at the pieces as being mutually exclusive. Numerous companies have made great strides in reducing their impact, while improving their profitability along the way. If expecting to be a part of continuing that trend makes me an idealist, so be it. (I believe that ideals are important signposts which we should aspire to, while recognizing that in most cases we will never quite reach them.) Trailblazers such as B Corps and other social businesses have shown us that other models are possible, but I don’t expect the entire economy to reorganize in this fashion. For profit companies are here to stay, but it’s my goal to help shift the focus towards better solutions. It won’t be easy, but it will certainly be worth the effort. In my opinion, choosing not to work a better future would be a dereliction of the responsibilities I have for my children and for our future generations.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I agree, shifting focus will move beyond the warm and fuzzy and become an expected norm in the near future. Just like triple A plus office space is all green and carbon offset, so will other areas. Not to get complacent, but.

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