When we think about drivers of change, we often think about technology. The most primal and ancient technological advance, the domestication of fire, changed everything about us. Some of us think of change as a “top down” process and so our thoughts go immediately to government as the main driver. Futurists, who are all about studying change, scan the STEEP (Society, Technology, Economics, Enviroment, Politics) domains for drivers of change. Most of us so often think of the big forces that drive change that we forget the very human role in local and global transformation.
In that light, I want to lift from obscurity another profound force that is driving 21st century culture: Humans are looking for a new way of living. Click to tweet this idea. Thanks
The pursuit of a new way of being is why educated and motivated sales people go on vision quests, high powered corporate executives explore Buddhism, and intellectuals experiment with psilocybin.
It’s why the country of Costa Rica wants to do away with their Zoos and let wild animals live wild.
It’s why Millennials in the workforce want to volunteer for community projects and will work for less for an organization they believe in.
People want to feel whole.
In terms of religious change, there is a rise in the number of those who claim “no religious affiliation”. We call them the “nones.”
I know so many people of intense, vibrant faith who classify themselves as “nones” because they’re detaching from traditions in search of something authentic.
This leads me to suspect that the rise of those who identify themselves religiously as “nones” may reflect the rise of the discovery of a deeper spirituality as much as it signals an abandonment of the institutions of faith. Click to tweet this idea. Thanks!
We want to be healed, to feel connected. We just don’t know exactly what it is that ails us. We just know that being “friends” on social networks isn’t enough. The discovery of a new way of living requires a journey of discovery, and our whole culture is on it.
What does this mean for leadership in the 21st century?
To believe that “things” can “make sense” is quite a leap of faith. But all leadership is about “sense-making”. Leaders must describe reality (assessment), a preferred future (vision), paths to get there (strategy), and the non-negotiables (culture). In a world in which humans long for meaning and pursue a new way of being, leadership means both the way we talk about what ails us and the way we energize human community towards a commonly desired future.
Some of us witnessed, during the last two decades of the 20th century, the demise of centrally controlled hierarchical organizations. This demise was represented most visibly by the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980’s.
Q: What has been replacing these pyramids?
A: Experiments in ways to build community and attend to friendships in the context of our passions.
In a way, humans want to build that ancient tribal fire again. This is a deep driving force without which we cannot understand the world around us.
Idyllic and fanciful?
But changing the world does not begin with a plan. It begins with a dream. Click to tweet this idea. Thanks!
What do you think?