Last week I had the privilege of speaking about radical change to a large group of CPAs in Las Vegas. Many CPAs are caught feeling irrelevant as the practices and environment around them constantly evolve, and they must change their behaviour to realize productivity improvements – They are not alone in this.
The piece that is radical is that change, and more specifically, transformation, is no longer a choice. Transformation is now happening so frequently that thought leaders have given it a name: VUCA. VUCA, as a phenomena, is now prompting thought leaders to consider whether “capitalism” and the underlying paradigm that informs economics, finance, business and wealth creation have actually run their course.
Evidence at the macro-economic level over the last 40 years suggests that this holds true. Examples of dysfunction include stagflation in the 70s, the interest rate explosion in the 80’s, the ‘87 stock market crash, the 2000 dot com explosion, the crisis of 2007 – 08, followed by the Great Recession, and the mediocre recovery that followed. This is radical for business, but not so radical for the person on the street. Citizens are now demanding radical change – as seen with Brexit, the US political election, to name just a couple of examples.
As a species, we are not coping well with this degree of transformation, as statistics at the micro level suggest that 70% of the workforce is disengaged, youth unemployment is rampant and no clear solution in sight from government and academia.
The solution is a new approach to everything. At first glance, that may appear to be dramatic. The good news is that science is paving the way to a new understanding of the interconnected nature of living systems. Systems-thinking allows us the means to understand that the economy is a system, the environment is a system, a business and it’s extended value chain is a system, and most importantly, the human body is a system. All of these systems are interconnected and the Science of Energy Networks and Living Systems is providing us with a way to expand our model of capitalism, and then, by default, business and society, to be more aligned with the complex logic that informs living systems.
At the end of April I traveled to Chicago to celebrate Ervin Laszlo’s life as a thought leader in systems thinking, philosophy, science and much more. Dr. Laszlo is generally recognized as the founder of systems philosophy and general evolution theory, and his work in recent years has centred on the formulation and development of the “Akasha Paradigm,” the new conception of cosmos, life and consciousness emerging at the forefront of the contemporary sciences. Dr. Laszlo is the recipient of the highest degree in philosophy and human sciences from the Sorbonne—University of Paris, has been twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize and much, much more.
The Global Purpose Movement hosted the tribute to Ervin Laszlo, which premiered the PBS film Life of a Modern Day Genius, Ervin Laszlo, and provided me the opportunity to meet Dr. Laszlo and speak to him about his work. Dr. Laszlo’s insight, and the depth of his work, provides us with a scientific basis that supports the need for behaviour change and bandwidth expansion in the interconnected nature of living systems.
After this event, I was invited to attend a conference in Cleveland held by Dr. Laszlo on Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The messaging that I received there was strong: behaviour change is at the forefront of business transformation. We need to create initiatives to improve bottom-line results, inspire authenticity, creativity, and collaboration in organizations, and engage employees and partners in work that is meaningful and purpose-driven.
The need for behaviour change has never been greater and we need to learn how to align ourselves with it, to lever it and eventually, thrive.
What would that look like for your business? If you’d like to find out, I invite you to get in touch.