Our current reality reveals the possibility of a duplicitous future. In our communities, there is a legacy practice — old-fashioned and outdated methods that have stood the test of time not because they are correct, but because no effort has been put in to create change. We see this legacy behavior all around us, and there is an immediate call for change. Our environment is threatened by a proven global increase in temperature, year-over-year. The fabric of our communities is being torn by inequality and injustice. Our survival — our future — is at stake.
These antiquated ways of doing business, handling social issues, and building communities are driven by survival emotions: hatred, anger, fear, suffering, competition, and pain. These paradigms seduce us into believing that we are separate from one another. We are driven to compete, pitted against each other in a system that creates more loss through such delusional victories. This old-world view creates divisiveness in every part of our lives — from the individual to the global community level, we learn to separate ourselves by personality, ethnicity, race, cities, boundaries, and the like. This mindlessness, greed, and disrespect of human existence is threatening life as we know it. Using pure logic, science, and predictive analysis, we come to a conclusion: this type of culture cannot sustain itself for much longer.
Many of our current systems are all being pulled into a major paradigm shift. We see this most clearly in the media industry, where credibility and truth are blinded by inaccurate statements and false claims, leaving people unsure what to believe anymore. As our society continues to evolve, the misalignment of vision, goals, and direction on a micro and macro scale rises to the surface, expanding the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
The mere ignorance regarding this paradigm shift is a sign of the existent tension about the future of our world. This tension about our future — manifesting itself as anxiety, panic, and stress — stems from our inherent false sense of division. Despite our differences, we are an interconnected network of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and capabilities. These interconnected elements of our system are what define something bigger than all of us: our culture.
The interconnected network of our community creates an exciting opportunity for us to embark upon a new journey, both individually and together. The crises that we have endured — racial inequality, gender inequality, socioeconomic disparities, and to top it all off, a global pandemic — have opened a door to a realm of new possibilities. With all of the paradigm shifts going on, this is either an exciting time of change for you, or an anxiety-inducing movement in history. Either way, the old must fall and something more functional and sustainable must be built in its place. This is how we as a society will evolve.
That’s where Project Cultural Evolution comes into play.
What is Project Culture Evolution?
Evolution refers to the development and diversification of life as we know it. Our very existence and evolution is dependent on our sustainability. You may be asking yourself: What aspects of our culture are collapsing? What aspects do we need to reinforce or reinvent moving forward? How can we energize and empower ourselves to be Cultural Champions during this major paradigm shift? What can we do to reach a level of cultural coherence in our society?
To answer these questions, we plan for Project Cultural Evolution with an approach we call Cultural System Design.
There is a systematic approach to designing everything — this includes sustainable culture. A systematic approach requires a holistic perspective — consider the individual elements within a system, but the relationships between those elements as well. Not only can this approach be applied on a macro-level to communities and organizations, but to individuals and teams at the micro level as well. Any individual can execute this -just one person, can make a significant impact on the evolution of culture.
Cultural System Design + You
Cultural Evolution sounds like a pretty lofty luxury. The truth is, it’s not — it’s a need. Sustainable culture starts with engaging and empathizing with the elements in your life. On the individual level, this may include your friends and family, peers, direct cohort, neighbors, and the like. You can engage and empathize with your team too, no matter how small or large. Be vulnerable and courageous, and you will feel engaged and understand where you are today, in terms of your mission, vision, goals, and culture.
From here, you can start to envision the sustainable culture that you need. You’ll be able to see the gaps between where you are and where you want to be. This requires discovery, direction and vision setting, and design of your Culture Compass, a tool that will help guide you in your journey of Cultural Evolution. You will feel energized by the opportunity and empowered by positive intention and a clear direction.
At this point, you achieved 4 points of clarity: 1) you feel engaged in understanding where you are today, 2) you are empathetic in collectively understanding where you want to go, 3) you feel energized by a clear mission, vision, and direction of your personal and organizational/community culture, and 4) you feel empowered by positive intention. The next step is taking action to create sustainability, the next chapter in the evolution of your culture. Being bold and courageous, taking progressive action, driving passion through collaboration: this is what it looks like to be a Culture Champion.
This is what Project Cultural Evolution looks like.