A little context
When living in Italy for a number of years, I remember how my colleagues would call someone Ingenere even if they weren’t an engineer. Ingenere! (with an exclamation mark!), was said as a compliment, acknowledging the intelligence of someone, with a dash of irony of how valued the profession is in western society.
They certainly are a clever bunch – and I would say that in all my 25 plus years of sustainability, leadership coaching and facilitation, it is the profession I have worked closest with. From the computer engineers at Microsoft and GoogleCloud, to chemical engineers at Scott Bader and DSM, industrial design engineers at Dyson, civil engineers at Bilfinger, mechanical engineers at Nissan or on super yachts, electrical engineers at Ericsson to environmental engineers at UNFAO.
Order and chaos
The profession is about logic, analysis, detail, data, problem solving, control, process, precision, perfection, order. They build, construct, manifest, appearing in every industry.
Whether working with high flyers or seasoned professionals leading the company, a common thread is seeing them get as fascinated with the chaos, brilliance and messiness of themselves, people and the world, as with ‘fixing things’. Like,
- becoming more courageous through listening to their heart and seeing emotions as a valuable form of data
- nurturing intuition as a source of knowing
- believing in people potential
- developing not just IQ and EQ but also CQ
- acknowledging that we are all work in progress
I think all of my leadership blog articles have been useful reflection point for engineers – because they are all about inviting in feelings. And taking a whole-systems, mindful and nature-based approach. Here’s 12 to start!
- Remember not just to tell, but to ask
- Control the controllables…and learn to embrace the unknown and mystery and go beyond problem and solution
- Learn that the opposite may also be true
- Cultivate mindfulness and learned optimism
- Challenge to think beyond anthropocentrism
- Appealing to the love of a good formula, use this for compelling goal setting and this for developing trust.
- Learn to visualize the future such as for our climate
- Get pleasure out of helping to grow leaders
- Understand the power of vulnerability
- Embrace masculine and feminine qualities and archetypes
- And given that so many are reluctant people leaders, a reminder about the importance of having 1:1s
I visualize a profession of wise integrated conscious engineers who joyfully collaborate with others to create products, processes and services which are kind, necessary, true and helpful. People who carry with them, an incredible ability to focus intently and see the bigger picture for which they are part. Where they contribute to industrial healing, with work that is responsible, devotional and adds to the beauty of the world.
If you are interested in designing positive futures, please reach out here.
Like many freelance consultants, the majority of my corporate leadership work has been as an associate or collaborator with a ´bigger entity´. Respecting that the case studies and client relationship belongs with them (In this case Lane4 and Impact International), it is also important for me (and my potential clients) to understand the contribution I have made and can make in service of #peopleandplanet. Hence this piece. Looking forward to our conversation.
Photo by Tim Swaan on Unsplash