Home Concepts Employee Engagement & Motivation Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space/Stage Three Leadership

Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space/Stage Three Leadership

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Breakthrough Sensitivity. Breakthrough sensitivity is seeing and embracing opportunities for discontinuous outcomes. Most people will not promise themselves or others what they cannot predict. Unified Action in complex systems is not predictable, so it is rarely promised.  Since commitment — not reasoning — does the mental sorting to produce breakthrough results, readiness to throw one’s hat over the wall and then follow it is necessary. For example, our government promised to go to the moon within ten years, before planning how it would be done.

“Thou” Sensitivity. Thou sensitivity is the recognition that all people are human beings, not objects to be manipulated, and to behave consistently with that awareness. Most public political and commercial communication is “I-It” based, often concealed in caring or solicitous language. When people feel they are being treated as objects, the opportunity for willing, Unified Action disappears. Treating other people as full human beings with an inner life and perspectives as legitimate as our own is a challenge in any relationship, and may be especially difficult for an impatient visionary leader. Coercion and manipulation are tempting shortcuts, but they foreclose the possibilities of Unified Action.  Objects can be used, or refuse to be used, but they can never choose to partner with us.

Possibility Sensitivity. Possibility Sensitivity is seeing the world in terms of adjacent possibilities. This gives the ability to invent new possibilities in the face of apparent impossibility, and to give that which is chosen such compelling importance, it can’t be resisted.

In the past fifty years powerful methods have been adapted from Marine, SAS, and Navy Seal training, and from intensive personal transformation programs, that provide people with a powerful experience in which they see for themselves the possibilities which arise from changing their points of view. Methodologies now exist to transform how leaders experience the world in ways that will increase the likelihood of Unified Action. These methodologies give them new choices for transcending their former points of view. As in an effective boot camp, there is a moment of truth, a moment in which leaders come to appreciate the terrible cost of their current segmented and self-centered world view. This moment is followed by seeing what is really possible out of claiming their own courage and leadership.  They then have a choice to move the best ideas toward Unified Action for the greater good.

In developing Stage Three Leaders for the future of space and other critical challenges, there are examples to follow. A former marine told me that his drill instructor’s motto was, “Let no man’s ghost say my training did not do its job.”  The same level of commitment and persistence is necessary in training leaders to invent desirable futures and unify intractable boundaries and conflicts. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, said in his 2005 Stanford University Commencement address that,  “… it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards, ten years later. If we can’t connect the dots looking forward.., only looking backwards…, then we have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. We have to trust in something — our ‘guts,’ destiny, life, karma, whatever belief systems we’ve grown up in or chosen. Believing that the dots will connect down the road gives us the confidence to follow our hearts, even when it leads us off the well-worn path.., and that makes all the difference.”

The choice to stay where we are, or to turn away from the challenge ahead is always with us. Ultimately, the crossroad we face is whether to stay comfortable with and ‘right’ about our particular point of view, or to work together in service of our common humanity. The major challenge in formulating the training and development of Stage Three Leaders involves defining areas of agreed and limited goals, and assuring the imperative of Raison d’ Humanite. It’s not just a matter of implementation, but rather “to stay on a path of “experimentation and inspiration…, to let go and follow the course of what is emerging.”(7)

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