Friday, April 20, 2012

Are You Working or Playing?... Try Both

It's been over four months since I started my new professional journey.  Looking back, it's amazing how stressful that kind of change can be--and was.  As an environmentalist, I've been graduate assistant, college teacher, project manager, management consultant, editor, mentor, student, leader, follower (sometimes), and executive.  I have known the downward spiral of professional ineptitude, witnessed the loss of ethical leadership, and experienced the lack of direction in organizations and by people who mean well, but aren't well-minded.

Yet, the call of environmental stewardship, of change management and sustainability, is mine.  It trumps all of the silliness and incompetence that I've have seen, experienced, and fought against.  There is so much work (good, ethical, transparent work) to do, and there's an inertia that's never been.  Those of us trying to provide leadership have no time to pout about the inadequacies of those mired in a past that's no longer theirs.  It is our time to lead and make change happen.

So here I am in a unique position.  The opportunity to lead without constraint.  To work to drive change in new and creative ways.  To be inspirational without being perspirational (on issues staffing, budgets, vacant leadership, and poor morale).  And... even better... I now get to do so in two main ways:
  • I'm excited to to be working with folks, well, friends really, on environmental business strategy, management issues, environmental education, and training through Greener Futures Consulting, LLC.  I am part of a network of expertise and experience that can provide answers to real-life problems.  My core goal through this entity is to help push the uptake of sustainable plans, policies, and practices within small and rural communities and small to mid-sized businesses.  I think there's lots of opportunities here to help provide leadership, direction, and service.  This is why I remain excited to e a part of the leadership of the American Planning Association's Small Town & Rural Planning Division (as Vice Chair of Communication), an connected to the Stewardship Action Council (even after stepping off as Interim Board Member).  These are great groups, and great people... ready to do great things.  This consulting work will keep me in touch with broader issues of sustainability in a big picture way.  It will keep my mind active and fresh, but will take up much less of my time right now.  I had originally intended on leading my work through Greener Futures primarily, but fate sometimes delivers us other, better plans...
  • I have been fortunate enough to team up with a group out of Australia to bring ISO 14001-compliant Environmental Management Systems online tools, risk management training, and sustainability services to a few specific sectors--golf facilities (rolling out now), along with parks and rec, sports facilities, and eventually, local municipalities.  This new firm, e-par USA, Inc. ( is sure to take up nearly all of my time in the coming years.  The future is bright, as these sectors are eager for help and the tools and services we're offering are tailor-made for them and excellent in design.  I'm excited to be a part of this new enterprise.  It's allowed me the chance to enjoy working at 10pm again (which is good since most of my initial conference calls with the Australian team have fallen into this time slot).
Networking used to be just for getting a job.  Now networking is the job.  Creating networks of intertwined expertise and unlimited loops of possibility is the way to make change happen quickly.  The "silos" of old, must yield to the spiderwebs of today and the vision of tomorrow.  This is why I can see value in wearing multiple hats in working to make change happen.  You have to these days.

I'm drawn to the idea that work isn't work if it's something you love and have passion for... best summarized by the following quote:

“The Master, in the art of living, makes little distinction between his work and play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his life and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him, he’s always doing both."
- James Michener

Well said Jimmy, well said.

So, I will still chime in here from time-to-time and I hope I'll have some new stories to tell, here and there, on Greener Futures clients.  But most of my story-telling will be through e-par USA, Inc., for the foreseeable future.  And I'm glad for that.  Stay in touch and keep networking.

Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D.
Twitter: @KevinAFletcher
LinkedIn: Kevin A. Fletcher