As we engage in our own development and the edge of conscious evolution carries us into unconventional territory, we might find ourselves wondering: Is there anyone else out there? How do I carry what I now sense and understand into a world that still sees it self in conventional terms? How does the leading edge of consciousness meet others and find its expression in the world? An answer? Through community and leadership.
A colleague who is working on transformative change in one of our most critical domains recently forwarded to me Seth Godin’s TED talk, in which Seth points out that the kind of change that is needed now demands that we find new ways to form ‘Tribes’ of like-minded people and to lead movements toward change. The person who sent me this lamented that it may be years before policy makers and existing institutions find their way into bringing about the kind of change he saw needed.
While it is true that our web-based world creates unique opportunities and challenges, ultimately Godin is really speaking of the avant-guard. On the leading edge of change, communities of practice are not obvious and avenues of change are elusive. What does this tell us?
Working and living as evolving beings, the avant-guard has a way of receding away from us, transforming anew, surprising us and changing us again and again. It is not about a new ideal, but about engagement in the developmental process. As such, the capacity to find, coalesce, and evolve in community is a new necessity. We no longer have our identity and our tribe, as Seth suggests, but have an evolving identity and tribe. We must learn how to create and re-create, over and over, communities of depth, support and action in the world.
This means that leadership takes on a new kind of importance. As we evolve and find new ways to stand in the world, we find less and less, that conventional pathways of expression – business models, organizational concepts, and communication approaches – are helpful. We realize we are part of an evolving world and our own development is inextricably interwoven with that of our world.
Thus, we are remade (perhaps unexpectedly) as community organizers and leaders, if we are to have the insights and perspectives we gain find expression and impact in the world. What we now see and know is of critical value in impacting the positive futures that are available to our collective human family. With that comes a new responsibility to community and leadership.