BRANZ CEO Chelydra Percy says that the environmental issues our industry faces call for a range of practical tools and skills reflecting collaborative leadership embracing a head, heart and hands approach to drive change.
CALL ME CYNICAL, but I’m more than a little suspicious of self-help gurus who speak in sound bites and seek to solve the world’s problems with platitudes.
However, from time to time, some things resonate, as did this quote by Rasheed Ogunlaru, which struck me as capturing the ethos of much of the work we do at BRANZ.
‘All the tools, techniques and technology in the world are nothing without the head, heart and hands to use them wisely, kindly and mindfully.’
Theory meets practicality
As a science-led organisation, BRANZ could just be all about theory and ideas. However, our work is always concerned with the actual doing or use of something – we focus on practical application and ensuring that the building and construction industry is supported in meaningful ways.
As you will read in these pages, BRANZ continues to develop a range of practical, online and interactive tools from planning for an energy-efficient home through to building compliance and beyond. Many are provided free of charge, and all are designed to empower the industry to make the changes necessary to improve the built environment in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We are proud that our research work has practical application and makes a real difference to how the industry can respond to the many challenges and opportunities it faces.
However, BRANZ also believes that to successfully tackle the environmental and sustainability challenges facing the industry will require more than tools. It will require collective, collaborative leadership.
Leadership is also a tool
We need to work together because no one leader or leadership position can drive change across the sector. I also believe it will take a balance of what have been called the head, heart and hands elements of leadership – hence my recognition of the truth contained in Rasheed Ogunlaru’s words.
All three elements are equally important to achieving buy-in and empowering the sector to work together cohesively to embrace change:
- The head is focused on identifying and communicating the broader reasoning for change – the big picture and organisational goals.
- The heart aspect is ensuring that everyone in the organisation – and across the sector – understands and accepts the reasons for change.
- The hands element is ensuring the tools, skills, training and resources are available.
We need leaders across the sector who can bring all three elements into play, both within the organisations they lead and working collectively together within the industry.
Meeting challenges through great leadership
There is no question that the changes necessary to assist the industry to reduce natural environmental impacts, enhance sustainability and achieve zero carbon targets are substantial. They will take time. There will be challenges – but they are surmountable.
Change always meets resistance in pockets, large or small, but if as an industry we can succeed in identifying and supporting leaders who bring head, hands and heart to their leadership, we will have powerful advocates. Not only will they need to bring their influence to bear on their own people and the sector at large, but also to convince clients of the value of more sustainable practices.
BRANZ will continue to play its part through participating in the Construction Sector Accord, leading its Environment workstream and continuing to develop the tools that will underpin significant improvements to industry practices.
We believe that those leaders who champion the environmental benefits of a more sustainable construction industry will make a lasting contribution to its future success and prosperity.
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