We are stuck. We have woven our economies inextricably together. And yet, governments around the world seem to be attempting to address the challenges we face as if national boundaries are not porous and we are not forevermore interconnected as a species sharing the same planet. We are operating from old models of organizing ourselves (18th century) and pulling old solutions (19th-20th century) out of the drawer to deal with never-before seen problems and challenges (21st century). No one should be shocked that we can’t seem to find our way out of the current global economic crisis.
Our inability to shift our thinking politically and economically keeps us divided and keeps us stuck. Every living system has the capacity to adapt, and reorganize in order to survive. There is a way forward. It will require a macro-level shift in terms of governmental policy and economic thinking and a micro-level shift in terms of the mindset and skill set of our leaders. Like the proverbial frog in almost boiling water, we are reaching the point where it may be too late to jump out and save ourselves.
There is one glaring and wonderful exception to the stagnation and division that grips our political and economic institutions. That exception is the emerging social model fueled by social media and the ability and desire of people to connect and interact. Imagine if the emerging social model were truly leveraged and adapted for positive use by conscious, connected, and concerned leaders and organizations? The lessons of the explosion in social media and interconnectivity appear to be lost on most political leaders and many business and economic leaders as well.
We are trying to put something back together instead of imagining what new form our interconnected world might take. Conscious, connected, and concerned leaders will take us beyond the narrow quest for profit and power and imagine structures, solutions, and systems that are appropriate for our time and for our challenges. We don’t need to just think outside the box. We need to burn it. Bury it. And never build another one. We need to pay attention to the examples already around us of how to accept our interconnectedness, leverage it, and open ourselves up to what is trying to (or needing to) emerge as a result of our connections. This will allow us to imagine a new way forward and energize the transformation that is possible if we only will it to be.