All the problems we see in the world today, including extreme poverty, economic disparities, social injustice, war and terrorism, and ecological imbalance have been created by human beings that function through fear, greed and competition. We require a new leadership, based on our understanding of love, interconnectedness, and compassion in action.
India represents a unique population that can play a pivotal role in planetary transformation. Already in the US, President Obama is introducing a massive program to encourage volunteerism amongst the youth. There is no reason this movement in volunteerism should be restricted to the US. The Times Foundation is beginning a program to teach leadership skills, based on spiritual values in schools in India. Education has always been strong in India. Indian scientists and technologists are responsible, in part for the technological innovations in the last two decades, and the economic boom that came from these innovations. However, economic development based on the old paradigm, me and mine has now resulted in a global economic meltdown.
Only a new breakthrough in leadership can turn this around:
A new breakthrough in Personal transformation through technology, media, mindfulness, reflection of self-inquiry and establishment of worthy goals can make a turn around.
Relationship building through the creation of peace consciousness and the understanding of conscious non-violent communication can be another goal. This will also include the technology of emotional intelligence. Intellect is defined as the ability to get in touch with our own feelings – the ability to empathize and understand the mechanics of compassion, and the ability to manage relationships in a nurturing way. The technology of emotional intelligence can be easily learned and incorporated in any situation requiring conflict resolution. These skills are sorely lacking in our current leaders.
Adaptive work is required when our deeply held beliefs are challenged, when the values that made us successful become less relevant, and when legitimate yet competing perspectives emerge. We see adaptive challenges every day at every level of the workplace when companies restructure or reengineer, develop or implement strategy, of merge businesses. We see adaptive challenges when marketing has difficulty working with operations, when cross functional teams don’t work well, or when senior executives complain, we don’t seem to be able to execute effectively. Adaptive problems are often systematic problems with no ready answers.
Mobilizing an organization to adapt its behaviors in order to thrive in new business environments is critical. Without such change, any company today would falter. Indeed getting people to do adaptive work is the mark of leadership in a competitive world. Yet for most senior executives, providing leadership and not just authoritative expertise is extremely difficult. Why? We see two reasons. First, in order to make change happen, executives have to break a long standing behavior pattern of their own: providing leadership in the form of solutions. This tendency is quite natural because many executives reach their positions of authority by virtue of their competence in taking responsibility and solving problems. But the locus of responsibility for problem solving when a company faces an adaptive challenge must shift to its people. Solutions to adaptive challenges reside not in the executive suite but in the collective intelligence of employees at all levels, who need to use one another as resources, often across boundaries, and learn their way to those solutions.
Learning creative problem solving by having collective intelligence and collective creativity are some of the skills required.
Service for the collective good: Such a volunteer program has never been attempted before, but holds the promise of creating a breakthrough in leadership skills. The Alliance for a New Humanity thinks that a global program, based on the above principles.