Senate Energy Bill Prompts Action

Amidst the country’s turmoil after the the massive oil spill due to the offshore oil rig fire, the political wrangling on the energy bill submitted by Senators Lieberman and Kerry finally came to a good ending. Energy efficiency are the focus of news these days as large and small organizations look at their own consumption to know how they can be sustainable.

In short, the Senate energy bill is prompting action around the country. As the alternative of the Senate for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the American Power Act was passed in 2009 by the House of Representatives. As part of the proposal by the Senate, there are thousands of industrial facilities which consume high amounts of energy while refineries and power plants will need to pay fees to produce carbon dioxide, as part of the greenhouse gas emissions regulation.

Senators Lieberman and Kerry has finally rolled the Senate energy bill which they have authored, just in time when the United States had to resolve the issues resulting from the massive oil spill which was caused by the oil rig fire offshore. Energy and energy efficiency are certainly front and center in the news these days and this is causing organizations large and small to look at their consumption and find out how they may become more sustainable.

Greenhouse gas emissions are known to cause damage to our environment and to cause an overall warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. Committed in the reduction of emissions by 80% in the year 2050, this will be highly dependent on whatever the Congress could push as a legislation and if the American Power Act could help in the promotion of the legislation by early 2011 or late 2010.

Whether companies are directly affected by the new “cap and trade” program to restrict greenhouse gas emissions among those power hungry organizations, they will undoubtedly be affected by the increase in the cost of utilities. As a protection from the perceived impacts, the Senate could grant rebates to consumers which could have implications to commercial organizations. More than ever before, they would need to implement a plan to be more sustainable.

Every organization needs to monitor and account for their energy needs to be able to correctly function which should be aligned along a good energy plan. Every single asset which is controlled by an organization needs to be accounted for in terms of energy efficiency and has to be tracked and monitored efficiently to verify consequent carbon emissions and the scale of energy use. Few people doubt that legislation of some kind will be implemented, as after all, international consensus is calling for emissions control.

The Senate energy bill plans to commence emission reduction efforts in 2013 and accelerate the results through 2050. The US Senate could have a varied opinion from the House of Representatives, who might also have a different stand from the administration. However, there are calls from most sectors of society for change and a renewed push for more energy investment, especially as a consequence of the disastrous oil spill.

While many organizations are choosing to become as sustainable as possible and gearing up their entire operations to ensure energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction, still others are awakening to the concept of pure cost-saving through energy efficiency. In the wake of the recession there may be some resistance to the thought of adding to the cost of electricity through a carbon tax of some kind or other, but nobody argues that the bottom line could be bolstered through an approach to efficiency across the board.

The Senate energy bill is a major legislative consideration during the second half of 2010 and business leaders must comprehend the movement and understand how it may impact their futures.

Leaders Must Speak Up For Their Beliefs

Which is better, being tactful, or getting something that is needed accomplished? Many supposed leaders seem to prefer using tact because either they don’t wish to offend anyone, they are trying to be polite, they are being “nice,” they want to be popular, or, if we are being truthful, to avoid confrontation, conflict, and action that may not be universally popular.

Leadership is not, and must never be about popularity. Many leaders have referred to themselves as “populists,” yet, in general, these individuals are lacking a personal vision, or inner yen to accomplish what they feel is essential. If someone calls himself a leader, he cannot avoid action by saying that he wishes to do what his constituents want, often using words like, “I’ll take my lead from our members.” After more than three decades training individuals to be leaders, and what that entails, not having and voicing goals to accomplish, an agenda to follow, or one’s vision, is the antithesis to effective leadership. Those types of people should be referred to as caretakers, rather than leaders, and their “action by avoiding action” method of “leadership” generally results in them not taking very good care of their organization either.

Effective leadership demands that one speaks his mind, especially related to important issues. Avoidance and procrastination are not appropriate reactions or remedies, and almost always results in serious, generally undesirable future ramifications. A leader cannot and must not “bury his head in the sand,” and think that avoiding an issue will make it go away. Appropriate decision making will determine the significance and priority of a particular situation, and if one follows this procedure, he must take whatever action seems most appropriate. There are those in leadership positions that seem to think that they should not speak up until after others voice there opinions, yet the very definition of a leader is one that leads (not one who follows the herd). The late Senator Charles Goodell said that “Politicians are like antelopes. When there is danger, they paint their behinds white and run with the crowd.” Is there any doubt that type of behavior is a major contributing factor to the low esteem the public holds for most politicians?

Each of us must never fear speaking our minds on issues that concerns us. We should educate ourselves fully to assure we understand the issues thoroughly. We should understand ramifications of acting as opposed to doing nothing. We should try to be polite, but demand that “right” is done. Leaders must understand that staff will never correct something unless it is pointed out, and the need is shown for why the change is needed. There is a big difference between being tactful and delusional!

Overcome Adversity the Possible Impact of Servant Leadership and Being a Humble Servant Leader

The theory of the term and details of this new (yet, ancient) leadership philosophy, servant-leadership, was developed by Robert Greenleaf, who worked for forty years as a management and training research specialist for AT&T. While at AT&T Greenleaf experienced the leadership and management realities of real world corporate America. He retired from AT&T in 1964, as Vice-President of Research. While at AT&T, he discovered that he had developed strong opinions about the management of organizations and of workers. He reflected on his experience and decided to use it to help other leaders deal more effectively with the issues they faced.

Servant-Leadership embraces the idea that leaders, organizations, and institutions should strive to improve their caring and quality of their people by inculcating the servant-leadership philosophy and model as part of a paradigm shift to putting the needs of those being led needs ahead of the leader or the organization, a part of this fresh approach to leadership, structure, and decision-making. This new concept called Servant-Leadership — emphasizes increased service to others; a holistic approach to work; promoting a sense of community; and, sharing of power in decision-making.

Servant Leadership specifically encourages those in leadership positions to re-think their approach and to now take on more personal responsibility and accountability, with the ultimate goal being to build a more caring society. Many have argued that it wasn’t necessarily that the old “system” that was the source of society’s problems, but rather a failure of the corporation or organizations leadership, especially the senior leadership. Servant-Leader believers have called for a new style of leadership, with leaders who are more caring and serve those they lead. The implementation of Servant-Leadership may be a major determining factor on which companies, corporation, or institutions will be viable and survive the current trying times. The primary qualities of a Servant leader (from Greenleaf, Spears and others) identified specific servant-leader characteristics, which include: foresight, awareness, listening, withdrawal, acceptance, empathy, and persuasion.

Servant-leadership followers strongly disagree with the command and control leadership, or the old fashion authoritarian and hierarchical leadership. In Servant leadership, enlightened leader’s obligation is to the organization as the ultimate caretaker, and that the leaders should practice more servant-leader principles to ensure that they were, in fact, building a better organization.

Servant-leadership focuses on servant-leaders making their employees, their firm’s customers, and their communities their number one priority, not the ego of the leaders, or their possible bonuses.

One of the unique findings from my research was the importance to sixteen prominent and successful leaders I personally interviewed for my Leadership Doctoral dissertation was the importance of being a “Servant Leader” and more specifically a “Humble Servant Leader.” “Humble” in this context was not meant that you need to weak and meek, but rather enlightened, in tune, teachable and serve those you lead.

The importance of having servant leadership in the sixteen successful and prominent leaders i interviewed was repeatedly expressed by the participants, with their citing specific examples of the importance of being a servant leader. The prominent leaders expressed repeatedly that working with and learning from servant leaders had changed their lives.

The groundbreaking findings from my in depth leadership research, for my leadership research, with the sixteen major leaders (that had all overcome adversity) was the importance, in their view, of specifically being a “humble servant leader” and that it has positive changed their lives.

Having enlightened mentors, who were servant-leaders, had shortened the learning cycle, helped them to get out of problems and avoid other problems, and in their opinion made them stronger, as well as built them into strong powerful, yet “Humble Servant-Leaders.”

I will share a few short portions of direct quotes from my Leadership and Overcoming Adversity research from some of the successful leaders with their thoughts on the topic of servant-leadership and being a humble servant-leader, from my personal interviews with them.

I interview Dr. Anthony Bonanzino as one the sixteen prominent leaders that overcame adversity. Bonanzino, a successful entrepreneur and corporate CEO, specifically stated that his personal view or “perspective of leadership, is being in a servant-leader.”

The political arena is an unexpected place to hear, not just once but twice, the benefit and value of servant-leadership, much less the advocating of being a humble servant leader. During my personal almost four interview in Washington, D.C. with United States Senator Orrin Hatch, in his offices in the Hart Senate Office Building and in the meeting rooms of the United State Senate, Senator Hatch said that he also embraced and used in his life the basic concepts of servant-leadership, and being a humble servant leader was important, he specifically noted that a leader “must be the servant of all.” The second voice advocating servant leadership, was United States Senator Daniel Inouye during my interview with in March 2005, in his US Senate offices in Washington, DC, specifically stressed that he believed in the quality that “leaders need to be kind and caring.”

During our interview in early March 2005, at the home and horse ranch, near the US Armt Base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, of Major General Sid Shachnow (U.S. Army, Ret) during his interview with me observed that “being a good leader requires one to be a good follower.” I personally interviewed Entrepreneur, Chairman & CEO of Medistar, Monzer Hourani, for two days at his office and home in December of 2004. Monzer made the point that a: “leader needs to be humble.”

This article has outline what Servant leadership is and the importance of having servant leadership in the sixteen successful and prominent leaders. These prominent leaders expressed repeatedly that working with and learning from servant leaders had changed their lives. These sixteen major leaders, that had all overcome adversities in their lives, was the importance, in their view, of specifically being a “humble servant leader” and that it has positive changed their lives.

Servant-leaders is absolutely critically to survival of companies, institutions, and organizations, especially in these turbulent times. Much of the pain and suffering we are seeing in bank and corporation failures, from what I have labeled the “Seeds of Corporate Greed” would simple not exist, if the basic concept of being a true Servant-Leader existed in corporations and institutions.

It is my conclusion that Enlightened Servant-Leaders will have fewer problems to face, that those focused on their egos or greed. In the opinion of the successful leaders I interviewed, using Servant Leadership actually made them better leaders, as well as built them into strong powerful, yet “Humble Servant-Leaders.”