Monday, January 21, 2013

Leadership Literacies: Platformation #3

Assumption 3 [of 4]:  

Interconnected: Every individual and organization is a living system nested within larger systems and networks.  We are interconnected and interdependent.

All together now. All together now. All together now. All together now….
The Beatles

No human, organization, community, corporation, nation, or region is an island unto itself. Everything we do has impact and consequences somewhere, whether that strengthens or weakens the larger systems of connection and support.

Most of us would say ‘of course’ to the statement above, but do we run our lives and our companies that way? Do we really look at the systemic impacts of our resource and material use, our waste disposal, the systemic costs of how we eat? 

Can we make the leap to what I’m calling bio belonging--accepting that we belong to the planet/ the natural world, rather than it belonging to us as a resource to be used however we want? What are the implications for how we think of our systems and our responsibilities then? What does that mean for what leaders [and all of us] need to be literate in, as a matter of species survival [ours] vs. a political position on economic models?

Interconnectedness is an easy conversation topic but a tough real shift to make in our mental frameworks, worldviews and daily decisions and practices.

But, perhaps we can learn and practice together, taking advantage of our natural connections and thought contagion. As digital networks grow and connect more and more of us in the world around our interests, causes, concerns, and communities, we become more aware of the field of connection that pervades everything.

“…latest evidence from many disciplines—from neuroscience and biology to quantum physics—suggests that nature’s most basic drive is not competition, as classic evolutionary theory maintains, but wholeness….new research demonstrating that all living beings, have been hardwired to seek connection above virtually any other impulse—even at personal cost… ‘The individual’ is only the sum of an infinite number of inexactly defined parts, and the parts as we currently understand them are shifting and transforming at every moment…Nature’s most basic impulse is not a struggle for dominion but a constant and irrepressible drive for wholeness.” [Lynne McTaggert, The Bond]

We each have a sense of ourselves. Western cultural bias has us see ourselves as separate, individual beings who are distinct from others.  This is reinforced by our five senses, trained to see physical boundaries of our bodies.  Our education system rewards individual learning, individual performance, and individual responsibility. Our organizations typically reinforce competition by rewarding individuals with bonuses, raises, and promotions.  Individuals are acknowledged in sports, even when it takes a team. And yet, we are learning that we are “wired” for connection, collaboration, and social groups in some surprising ways.

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