Sages and mystics the world over have
been teaching for centuries and centuries that all of life moves
and is moving -- from matter to body to mind and on to soul and
the highest realms of spirit. Now scientists are confirming the
same. And every one of them, each in his or her own way, keeps
inviting us to keep exploring, keep moving and practicing, keep
growing and evolving toward those higher spaces.
That's all well and good, but in the meantime,
there's work to be done. It's just that simple, or so it used
to be. The business of business was business. So was the wisdom
of the day from President Calvin Coolidge. But somewhere along
the way, things have gotten rather muddied and complex.
When things first started to go awry, we called
it "transition," under the comforting impression that
if we made just this one big move, all would soon be returning
to normal. When one transition begat another and another and
another, we renamed it "transformation" and hunkered
down for the long, dark winter. In time, we admitted openly in
conference rooms and strategic plans that this was a whole lot
deeper than we'd bargained for. Still, we reasoned, it was going
to end, was going to get better. Normal was out there somewhere.
What's more, it was going to be that much sweeter (eventually)
for our pains and struggles now. More and more, however, it seems
that we've worked our way into a case of good news, bad news.
Which do you want first?
The good news is that work really can be a
whole lot easier, inspiring, open and flowing. The bad news is
that it already is but most people have yet to experience it
that way. This story then, is about beginning to make the connections
between the wisdom of sages, mystics, poets, and scientists --
eastern, western and native teachings -- in a language that everyone
can use at work and all of us can practice everyday. Indeed,
in words and structures we already use, but may not yet fully
appreciate what they really mean and how they really work.
What we've wrestled with as "transformation"
is giving way to "evolution." Indeed, as we look back
from here, we can see that it's been evolution all along. Lo,
and behold! Evolution is normal!
And again, there is good news and bad news.
The bad news is that unlike transition and transformation,
evolution really is too big to kid ourselves about ever escaping,
ever returning to a secure sort of "normal." The good
news, however, is that this new wave can be surfed -- and it
can be fun.
And so, our newest, biggest challenge is fast
becoming one of paying attention and making sense, in words,
pictures and patterns, of what pops up now -- and now, and now.
It's all about balancing, conversing, constructing and aligning
atop this evolutionary wave of new information and events.
And as we look around, this notion of evolution
in organization has shown up in all kinds of places. But just
what kind of organizations are we evolving or surfing into? How
are we supposed to lead ourselves there? And how are we to manage
ourselves if (and when) we ever actually get there? It seems
that the answers we seek must now lie somewhere between the wisdom
of the sages and the realities of our everyday working and living.