Earth Day Leadership Challenge: How Will Your Garden Grow?

It’s Earth Day. Perhaps you’ll take out the recycling. Or, maybe you’ll sing a sweet song like these little leaders. Good start. Others are doing more.

Ron Finley Guerilla Gardener

I’m blown away by the leadership of Ron Finley, Guerilla Gardener. Ron’s leading dramatic change in South Central Los Angeles. He’s given new meaning to “taking back the streets, by creating “gangster gardeners” and “gardening graffiti.” He empowers the community and engages the children by helping them plant their own healthy food in vacant lots. His work got pushback and involved a petition on change.org. The renegade won.

If you don’t know Ron, watch his Ted Talk.  Some highlights:

  • “Drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys”
  • “Food is the problem and food is the solution”
  • “To change the community you have to change the composition of the soil”
  • “Growing your own food is like printing your own money”
  • “The funny thing about sustainability is that you have to sustain it”

Ron didn’t wait to be asked. He didn’t have traditional power. He had a vision, passion and a shovel. You do too.

You don’t need to wait for a “program” or company-wide initiative. I asked Ned Tillman, CEO of Sustainable Growth, LLC how frontline leaders can get started. Similar to Ron, he recommends getting people involved in areas that matter most to them (Read more Green Business Matters).

“Sustainability is a process that engages the passion of people in meeting the goals of the company. Frontline leaders empower their employees by adopting sustainability goals and creating teams to find creative ways to meet those goals.”

Earth Day Challenge

  • Define your garden
  • Set an achievable goal
  • Recruit some passionate volunteers
  • Plant your seeds
  • Watch your world grow

It’s Earth Day.

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

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