In modern business, it is important to have a mindset of sustainability and environmentally friendly business practices. Two fundamental characteristics of an effective and sustainable leadership model are having the foresight of what the company is trying to attain and identifying the worth in the process and supplying the leadership to reach the companies goals. Leadership begins with trusting in the process, and adhering to the steps themselves. The single best way to achieve this is to lead by example. In this paper the author will explain how Marie Ziegler of John Deere help set the company on the path it follows today.

Marie Ziegler has set the standard for John Deere and the employees of the company. As the vice president and treasurer for the John Deere Corporation it is within her responsibilities to ensure that the product that they are producing meets and exceeds the standards of the industry.

All of John Deere’s products meet the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) off-highway equipment emission regulations as of 2011.

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The regulations set out to reduce the particulate matter in the atmosphere by 90% in addition to reducing oxides of nitrogen emissions by as much as 50% (John Deere, 2012). In one position or another Marie Ziegler has preformed various duties within John Deere since 1978. During this time Marie has grown to know the company and industry well and has helped the company to grow, remain profitable and become an industry leader.

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The decision to make sure that John Deere’s products met the EPA standards was just another stepping stone towards the goal of being an industry leader. The virtues of a good leader within an effective and sustainable business include vision, values, strategy and systems. Marie began with the vision to achieve a product that met the standard set forth by the EPA guidelines and pushed forward with that goal (Weitzman, H. 2010).

Values, values include the practices and beliefs that the company uses to achieve success. These include people, people being the employees of John Deere who treat each other with respect which in turn promotes teamwork and the ability for the company to succeed and grow. Marie recognized that the customers are the reason a company exists. As a good leader she understood that without customers, there is no need for the products that John Deere provides. The product and the service that any company provides is a direct reflection of the dedication of a company, its values and its employees. The conduct of a business from the president and CEO all the way down to the staff on the sales floor reflects a company’s values. Strategy is what a leader uses to develop a set of actions to follow that supports long term visions, values and objectives (Desjardins, 2007). Strategy is the crucial aspect for the integrated management system.

There are key elements to developing the strategy that surrounds all the health, safety, and environmental considerations required to fulfill the strategic plan. Included within this are the planning process, setting targets and objectives, establishing and environmental policy that backs the vision of the company, contemplating which industry code of practices will be instituted, and defining the framework for communication. When these aspects are combined, they create an environmental policy that states a company’s base principals and projected intentions for environmental performance. Marie exhibits a take control type personality which is a strong leadership style. As an effective business leader she knows what needs to be done, she develops a plan and sets it in motion. When the EPA established new emissions standards Marie knew how to strategize a plan to implement the changes to John Deere’s production process in a timely manner.

This meant that she had to clearly communicate the needed changes to her team of employees to enact the strategy that she developed. Communication is the key aspect to ensuring a plan is enacted properly, effectively and efficiently. One of Marie’s actions as a leader in sustainability was instilling a culture of sustainability amongst her employees by implementing sustainable practices and adhering to those policies herself in order to lead by example. In addition to leading by example she uses clear communication skills to communicate her needs to her employees to ensure her decisions as a leader are disseminated down the chain and that policies are understood by all employees and team members. Marie displays strong leadership skills and knows John Deere inside and out, she believes in the product they produce and this is an important aspect to being an effective leader in sustainability. With the leadership of Marie Ziegler John Deere can set forth a standard that allows the company to be a leader in green sustainability.

The author of this paper tries to uses general management strategies that promote sustainability within the work environment but finds that it can be difficult for an individual to do so considering the following. As an employee of EC3 International, the author’s duties are usually prescribed by test plans which leave little room to enact sustainable management methods of his own. However, the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of the Army (DoA) have been enacting environmental standards and practices that promote sustainability and are more environmentally friendly for many years now. The army has most recently switched its primary small caliber ammunition to more environmentally friendly ammunition in order to reduce the negative environmental effects on weapons ranges.

Many years ago the DoA along with the Proving Grounds implemented a new policy of no longer indiscriminately firing depleted uranium (DU) tank rounds out on to ranges. The DoA mandated that all DU test rounds must be fired into a catch box that can be cleaned out and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. In summary as a leader in sustainability within a company it is crucial to lead by example. No manager or business leader can expect his or her employees to conduct themselves in a professional and responsible manner unless they practice what they preach. When a leader takes a shortcut employees take note and will feel that it is not a problem to do so because their leadership does it. Marie Ziegler is an excellent example of how to conduct oneself who wishes to become a leader in sustainability.

DESJARDINS, J. R. (2007). Business, Ethics, and the Environment. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Lomborg, B. (2008). Cool It. New York, NY: Vintage Books. John Deere, Products, (2012). Retrieved August 10, 2012 from Weitzman, H. (2010, Nov 25). Deere counts cost of emission controls. Financial Times Retrieved from

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