We are in the midst of a highly tumultuous wave – a cycle of disruptions, and I celebrate this as each disruption brings a rebirthing! The big challenge this year will be to create wider perspective; to connect even more deeply to both our inherent and transcendent humanity; and to create the opportunities to generate conscious intentional action that will alleviate suffering and promote health and well-being through transforming mindsets, structures, systems and processes, for a better world!
This is no better time than now to cultivate deep reflective spaces, to slow down to examine that which is easily distracted into ‘busy, more important’ activities because it is so hard to actually slow down! Begin now – take a few minutes to read on…
In a space of our multi-diverse, multi-cultured, multi-traumatised land (world) – a seething boil has burst over the last few months in the South African landscape! And I am relieved, because we can now truly have the conversations that count without the euphemistic ‘niceness’ that has at times, hidden some brutal realities. South Africans are being asked to go deep into themselves and be accountable to the values that they claim they adhere to. From top leadership – to the wo/man in the street – our hearts and minds are being called to align to the soul of our beloved nation, and if not, to make other choices. The ultimate acts of (self and other) hatred is suicide and war! These are acts of cosmic despair and under-resourcefulness! We have been there before! What seems paramount now is that our high-level constitution needs to find its expression in the way we choose to live into it! The big questions for us: are we a nation of people that can learn? For to learn is to not make the same mistakes again and again!
As an integral practitioner, businesswoman, South African, and global citizen, I would see it as essential for us as floundering humans, who hold many flawed assumptions about our selves and others, to cultivate ‘ways of being’ that can have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of all. Engaging the multiple bottom lines requires effective navigational MAPS that can help us traverse a sometimes treacherous terrain! These MAPS (highly effective tools for making meaning) have to be ones that can help us find our way skillfully. These MAPS need to hold the multiple complexities of the lived experience of ‘all of us’! They need to provide us with a ‘common’ language – an integrated and inclusive way of making meaning! Our work at The Integral+ Africa Institute™, TCC and the TCC Ubuntu Coaching Foundation™, seeks to do that!
Conventional thinking and wisdom encourages either /or thinking – “if only / but then …” and justifies our fears and anxieties. We see that at play in the market place and on the political landscapes. Separation, alienation, power over, envy, justifications, denials, and lies are all the order of the day. But there are those, often in the background, who are working to support the unifying principles and ‘right’ thinking that can help us through. They need to be in the foreground! And we have a few examples of these courageous people in our midst!
Any system – individual or collective – reacts and shifts quickly to stress through homeostasis (self-correction). Our self-correcting, protecting worldviews can, and often do, lead to delusion, blocking the healthy evolution we so need. Our thinking has to evolve! And so do our conversations! So we welcome ‘disruptions’! They spur us to continue to calibrate and seek deeper for that co-operative and inclusive space where natural holarchies can build what we all long for. This has to be an antidote to those ego- based, imposed hierarchies driven by self-interest, power and greed, which only benefit a few of the self selected ‘in groups’.
We need a 4D+ map for our 3D world©!
What would these conversations look like?
They include both hard and soft issues and experiences, processes and systems that impact our national psychology, values, economics, social justice, education, health, generosity of spirit, and a drive for the next levels of integration. In fact – everything! In South Africa we are perhaps better at bringing the issues out than at having ways to work through them!
These conversations would take into consideration the vast mix of mindsets, worldviews, experiences, competencies, capacities, affiliations, beliefs, cultures, contexts, environments, and the variety of systems – human and non-human – that form part of this mix. By utilising skillfull MAPS – our human GPS can be calibrated to point its light into the tendrils of darkness (unaware and unconscious spaces) that infiltrate our worlds in both gross and often, subtle, but equally disturbing ways.
These MAPS would need to be 4D+© and they would need to:
- Offer acknowledgment and validity to ALL points of view! But also to know what is viable
- Navigate through the many partial lenses that are held as absolute truths (views of the world)
- Find ways to hold multiple truths and co-created solutions that achieve long-term visions
- Enable sight onto different perspectives, both vertically and horizontally
- Enable ways to allow the films of illusion to clear
- Honour the vast range of intelligences available to us as a whole, knowing that each part is vital (a cell to the organism) but also know that not all are equal
- To know what is interpretation, and what is not! What is projection and what is not
- To show that our differences are not the enemy! Our limited and partial and unconscious shadow mindsets are
- Address FEAR, DENIAL, BLAME, & AGGRESSION by offering pathways and practices to counter these
- Invite that deepest need of all of us to be seen, validated, valued, secure, trusted, and to grow
- To do this through ‘right’ action that is moral, humane, and connected to all that supports our planet and our people.
To do this we have to WAKE UP! To see and build that capacity to look at what we do not want to see, given that each person’s truth is relevant to what that person can see.
Then we have to GROW UP! To take on the complexity and the responsibilities necessary for adult maturity.
Well – here is our chance! (We have had many by the way – but it is hard to listen). As a human species, we are only 12 minutes old in a 365 day-long year! We are young! We are not yet competent! We are trying to find our way! We are making mistakes! We are impulsive, unable to control our hungers and our anxieties! Yes, we are still babies finding our way. And each time there is another disruption – a wake up call to us – we are provided with an opening to learn, to let go of what is not working and to include something that may work better.
Capacities and competencies
There are a number of competencies, and internal capacity – creating developmental stretches that can take us to a place where we can respond skillfully. Our current world is pushing us all to new frontiers. There is so much complexity and vast sensory overload. This is set to continue and even the simple tasks will rapidly multiply, and ‘overwhelm’ will be the order of the day. We need to be prepared for the tasks ahead: as individuals, as family members, as members of various communities, we will need to have the kind of coaching, support, and interventions that will help us assimilate, cultivate, integrate, and take action with ease. In watching these trends we can see that…
Leaders will need to become Integral Designers…
…and architects of note in sourcing, accessing, initiating, solving, and prototyping the ‘new world’. This stage of our evolution in modern life is being termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Davos 2016 WEF). We will have to cultivate some very distinctive capacities and competencies in order to navigate our way through and to go beyond. Leaders today are going to have to work with upgrading their own internal operating systems and those of their organiwations and communities, into becoming integral operating systems. Preparing coaches and leaders who can support this management of rapid change, will require finely-tuned development initiatives that will address the cultivation of these competencies. Our new realities are in our own making. Who you select as your intervensionists and fusionists, will be critical!
And so, with acknowledgements, and apologies, to the originators (Design gurus from Google, Artefact, Microsoft, Ideo etc) I have taken some of the trends identified in the world of design and worded them into those competencies and roles necessary for leaders, who could be ultimate designers of the future. These are:
- The ability to deliver immersive and intuitive experiences that are tailored for their industry (Gavin Kelly)
- The ability to work with multi-media ( Glen Murphy)
- The ability to integrate holistic business design (Yves Béhar)
- The ability to conduct teams through the complexity barriers (Bill Buxton)
- The ability to provide conceptual leadership and creative vision through being versed in the ‘language’ of all cultures: this requires visual fluency and the ability to balance collective possibilities with individual styles (Matias Duarte)
- The ability to cultivate embodied interactions: this requires thoughtful attention and skill at persuading disparate business stakeholders of a product’s viability holding the well-being of people as core, while also being able to access the resources needed to deliver on it (Matt Schoenholz)
And perhaps my favourites are:
- Becoming a fusionist: this will require that a leader have the ability to transform an element in one form to another and in doing so, create cross-disciplinary (function) opportunities. – (Atsa Roseway)
- Being an interventionist – which will require the ability to help people digest new ideas, and build towards a better future (Ashlea Powell).
Ultimately, the 4D+ leader will need to be able to access the full spectrum of human experience, both objective and subjective. This is going to require taking ‘time’ – a dirty word in today’s world. Practice to operate at high levels takes time – but it can be purposefully cultivated rather than it being left to organic happenstance. To become masterful takes time, attention and practice. There are no quickfix solutions. But there are exquisitively designed developmental pathways, of which each step takes one closer to mastery and this is where we help our clients in navigating that territory. The 4D+ leader will be able to unite teams to create spaces in which to solve complex interaction problems, allowing interconnectivity, communication and co-operation so as to reach unprecedented levels.
These shifts will need to start in many areas: from matter, to mind, to spirit. They would need to take place in school curriculums, health systems, with monetary policies, governments and in board rooms. We believe that the disruptors to current ways of thinking and doing are necessary to bring about shifts in worldviews through exponential trajectories.
The challenges are deep
Ultimately leadership must ensure a healthy society, and when there are so many variables to human development and so much variation in capacity, availability and competency across a range of levels, cultures, systems and environments, the task seems daunting. Business will need to connect itself to social development while governments need to truly play their role as public servants in service of this fusion. Power needs to shift its consciousness so that the economic, health, education and social landscapes are better for all. The design of our current systems needs a complete overhaul! Those who are up for it need to pave the way – or we die out! I am not attached to perpetuity – but I am fairly attached to the alleviation of suffering wherever I can make a small difference. And it is a wonderful challenge to that human mind that we hold in intelligent esteem.
And then, with this singularity – there will be no need for jobs for leaders.
Now what a radical idea is that!
Paddy Pampallis: CEO of The Coaching Centre.
IMAGE CREDITS: http://ricomoney.com/