Every time you start a sentence with a capital letter, outline a subject, predicate and tie it all together with punctuation, you’re profiling yourself.
In this way, through our relationship with words, we are consciously, unconsciously, deliberately and carelessly all giving ourselves away all the time.
When you’re working in the climate space you
need to fall back on some kind of mechanism or God given instinct to suss people and opportunities out because when you do what I do, sometimes you’re not having a conversation as much as being sold to and sometimes you’re not dealing with a sincere and informed climate leader as much as you're dealing with someone’s green representative or as I have come to understand it, their ‘change profile’.
The optics only marketers who refer to themselves as 'climate change experts', investment bankers who position themselves as climate saviours…you see where I’m going with this...this post is about opportunistic leadership.
Opportunistic 'change' much like opportunistic leadership is deliberate and uncomplicated. It is utopian and light and celebratory and seemingly but not always limited to declarative climate allyship.
On a personal level, I have equal parts understanding and frustration for these manoeuvrings.
When it comes to climate reporting and climate justice issues, the private sector has had to develop a voice that can navigate new power structures, visible and hidden and operate within the constraints of our cognitive shields.
Not an easy task. One made all the more uneasy by young people who quite rightfully have started to resist and recoil under the pushy, needy, all too transparent strain of opportunistic leadership that floods our social media accounts on the daily.
From a PR and HR perspective, climate breakdown is a uniquely sticky and altogether new problem in that when it comes to this fight, they can no longer get away with saying they are in this fight without being all in this fight.
Pre 2020, the issue of climate breakdown was for the most part defanged and tranqulised before it qualified for wide scale mainstream support and recognition.
But post 2020, unless you act first, you're in danger of debilitating your entire environmental PR position and strategy or lack of in a handful of out of touch sentences.
In my experience the only way to discern a change profile from a person or organisation with skin in this game is language.
You can tell how a company or a person thinks and acts on climate breakdown from the way they talk about it.
The change profile is problematic because it can come across as self involved and locked into a one way dialogue with the past.
These profiles profess to be changing the world but at best deliver on the politics of the possible. HR metrics are consequentially duly and prematurely ticked but the danger is that such campaigns play out as more self serving affectation than strategy.
This casual relationship with change is why so many of us have come to understand and discuss change not as a behavioural response but through the disconnected lens of various corporate and personal change profiles.
Social and personal change on the other hand is non-linear and complex and imperfect. This kind of change is about reorientation with a capital 'R'.
(To be continued in 'R' for reorientation).
Curiosity pays unexpected dividends. Stay tuned for more insights, observations, and acronyms for your world within.