Sustainability – when less is sufficient

Three years on from first being introduced to Gayle Avery and her work on sustainable leadership and I still cannot easily explain what I mean by the word sustainability.  Now my colleagues at the Linked In Group are asking whether we need to move beyond sustainability because to some, sustainability implies sustaining ‘what is’ i.e. the status quo.

This implies that ‘what is’ is not enough and that more is better and this common business view continues to trouble me.  For me sustainability is closer to sufficiency but I don’t quite know how to apply this to examples such as health, love etc. because more more health or love does sound better than sufficient health or love, except to the extent that I don’t need to strive so hard with the former.

The meaning I prefer is adaptiveness – where sustainability means our leadership, organisational and national capacity to adapt to changing environments.  And in some environmental contexts more is better, whilst in others less is sufficient.

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