When we think about the current: state of our educational systems within America, the large numbers of children living in poverty, the changing world economy, the national and state by state employment percentages and/or any number of other issues from the environment to energy it is hard to see a bright future.
When we think about a better future we often think about all of the ‘loss’ and ‘change’ that might need to be sustained to transition from the present – albeit fraught with imperfection – to a potentially better future. Our comfort with the status quo leads us to be weary of letting go of the known to embrace an unknown future.
Heifetz, et al writes: “Successful adaptive changes build on the past rather than jettison it.” Framing change as adaptation makes sense. Not jettisoning what is good and valuable about the present makes sense. Finding new ways to think and work together makes sense.
Ron Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky in their book: The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World (2009, Harvard Business Press) write about adaptive leadership. Their definition: Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive (page 14) sounds like the kind of leadership many of us might want to experience. Tackling tough challenges and thriving is the direction to the future that I want to put my energy into.
When I envision thriving families, schools, communities, cities, states, regions, countries and/or globe – I envision people willing and able to think and work together in service of the common good.
From my point of view thinking and working together are among the crucial skills the future will require of us. Let’s get good at thinking and working together!