Leadership – for Changing Times
“The times they are a changing…” sang Bob Dylan. And some of us thought that was true back in the 60’s and 70’s!
The magnitude and speed of change in today’s world dwarfs what we then imagined might be on the horizon back in those olden days. Why my mother’s mother, born in the late 1800’s and who died in the late 70’s, personally witnessed the demise of horse drawn transportation and the placement of a human footprint on the surface of the moon.
What might those of us now alive… what might we yet see? What challenges do we face that we cannot even see? What kind of leadership do we require for this emerging future? How do we support the developing leadership potential of our children?
I would posit two things here:
One is that leadership, real leadership, is an inside job. That is, it can only arise out of inner authenticity and wisdom, and I further suggest it will and does arise out of the collective intelligence. That collective intelligence, by the way, includes the other than human world, the intelligence of Nature we are embedded within.
Furthermore, I suggest that any such visioning we might have for the real leadership we require today and tomorrow, must account as best we are able for the world-as-it-is and as-it-will-be. It must account for both Our Ground of Being and for the Power of Our Arrival.
This issue is up for me currently not because I await today’s NH Presidential Primary voting. No, I’ll cast my vote when the time comes but I frankly don’t see real change coming out of a system that is structured to produce more of the same. Meanwhile, if you want to get a picture of the world we might want to be preparing ourselves for, take a look at the Shift Happens / Did You Know III YouTube video.
Meanwhile also, later this week I’ll be gathering with a group of colleagues to envision this question of how to support the development of real leadership for our future.
Many people wonder how long we have to turn things around. It is really not a question of some critical turning point, but of nurturing more viable systems even as the old ones decay. One metaphor for our changing world is Norie Huddle‘s story (Butterfly) of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. After consuming hundreds of times it own weight daily as it munches its way through its ecosystem, the bloated caterpillar forms its chrysalis. Inside its body, new biological entities called imaginal discs arise, at first destroyed by its immune system. But as they grow more in number and begin to link up, they begin to survive. Eventually the caterpillar’s immune system fails, its body goes into meltdown and the imaginal discs become the cells that build the butterfly from the spent materials that had held the blueprint for the butterfly all along. In just this way, a healthy new world, based on the principles of living systems, can emerge through today’s chaotic transformation. (Elisabet Sahtouris, Earth Dance, 364)