The other night, I had a conversation with a neighbor who expressed concern about the overwhelming challenge he and his clients face to introduce new models of leadership into their organizations. A man near his seventies who has been consulting on collaborative decision-making for nearly 20 years, he was disheartened. “I don’t think society is changing much at all,” he said.
I disagreed. In fact, trend watchers would tell you that the rate at which our society is changing is alarming. The growth of a demographic labeled the “cultural creatives” is one indication. The problem is that we are, in fact, too close to the change to see it, sitting in the eye of the cultural hurricane where nothing really seems to be happening.
I have had the privilege of observing that change occur organically this past year. I work with a company that teaches systems thinking to Fortune 500 players in the corporate world. Clients hire us to teach their employees how to see the impact of their actions and financial decisions on the larger system that is their company because it makes financial sense to do so.
Those of us involved in this work would never label what we do and teach as “social change,” but, in fact, it is. Systems thinking—the ability to see, leverage and make decisions based on, connections—is a feminine leadership competency.
What is fascinating to me is that the social organism we call our organizations is changing organically right before our eyes. And it doesn’t matter if those involved are unaware of it. All that matters is that it is happening and that the larger story is changing.
Your Story: Look at your current work “system,” even if that system is one of strategic partners. How can you leverage the connections within that system for the good of the whole (yourself included)?