As we are finishing out the "Year of Energy", when N.C. State students are supposed to be paving the way in areas of environmental stewardship and sustainable development, I thought it would be appropriate to pursue the topic of how the science of energy is playing a role in leadership.
The basic principle behind the science of dynamics is that energy is never created or destroyed, only transferred. Simply put, the only constant is change. The most dynamic leaders understand this idea, and they do not only adjust for changing markets and societies, they make them.
Studying feedback dynamics has enabled scientists to better understand climate change. Understanding consumer feedback has allowed entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs to accelerate Apple's revolution of bringing portable computing to the masses. The iPhone illustrates how great leaders create markets by giving people what they want: portability, personalization and user friendly interfaces.
Many people mistakenly believe that the basic precept behind physical change is the creation and destruction of resources. General Electric, however, has proven that not utilizing resources can be change in itself. CEO Jeffrey Immelt announced a few months back that GE's Ecomagination effort brought in $14 billion in revenue last year, as he pledged to expand the initiative by conserving 20 percent of the company's water by 2012.
GE is not the only corporation trying to reinvent itself as a social and environmental enterprise - after years of building his empire, Bill Gates, has added social justice to his resume, funding AIDS and malaria research ventures and supporting NGO development projects worldwide. Reading about his most recent donation towards an AIDS care center in West Bengal, I am reminded of the fundamental concept behind dynamics: everything is connected.
With its extensive population and diverse faculty, NCSU offers students the perfect opportunity to explore elements of diversity and change, and to grow as leaders. Now is the perfect time to focus on academic and research pursuits, creative outlets, and social causes, and to develop that energy of leadership.
Whether they are chief executives, entrepreneurs or politicians, the greatest leaders of the 21st century recognize the concept of what corporate strategist C.K. Prahalad deemed "a global ecosystem." They recognize that change cannot occur without diversity and collaboration. Through embracing these ideals and the principles of dynamics, leaders are transferring energy from the top down and empowering people around the world. So too, should NCSU students, be energizing the communities in which they live with the leadership skills they have developed here on campus.
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