How well do schools respond to societal change?

MIT Business School professor Peter Senge claims a transformational change happening in the business world:

“More and more businesses in every industry sector are incorporating sustainability and social responsibility issues into their goals for the future. They’ve accepted that they must do so if they wish to survive and thrive in the tumultuous times ahead.” – The Necessary Revolution p.101

Among the evidence to back his claim is a Goldman Sachs study of six key industry sectors that looked at companies that are considered leaders in implementing environmental, social and governance policies and strategies. The results? These companies outperformed the general stock market by 25%; and 72% of them outperformed their peers in the same industry.

“A company’s reputation in relation to the environment and related social issues is now a matter of competitive advantage.” p. 109

What changes in business habits does this transformation require? Senge says:

Seeing larger systems within which businesses operate, fostering relationships, building creative teams and networks, a knack for connecting what matters most and unleashing the latent collective imagination and energy residing within and among organizations.

Are we talking about fostering systems thinking, creative teamwork, and unleashing the collective imagination and energy of our students? We might want to talk about it more if we are serious about preparing them for the 21st Century.

“When society changes its mind you better be in front of it and not behind it, and this is an issue in which society has changed its mind.” -Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric

Let’s get out in front of it!

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Categories: Stage 5: Students as World Changers

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