With the continuing pandemic, the economic disruptions, the racial justice movement, and the most contentious presidential election campaign in memory (and we haven’t even had the election yet), saying that these are “unprecedented” and “challenging” times has become common, so I say:
It’s time now for us to make a "flying lead change"!
OK, you’re probably asking, “What is a flying lead change? And why would we want to do that?”
Good questions! A “flying lead change” is an elegant maneuver that horses use when adapting to changing topography in the midst of a canter.
See if you can picture this. When a horse is cantering and needs to make a quick change of direction, the horse shifts its leading legs from one side to another while in midair.
That's 1200 to 1700 pounds of horse making a flying lead change! Can you imagine? Kelly Wendorf describes it in Flying Lead Change: 56 Million Years of Wisdom for Leading and Living.
I think it’s a powerful image for the change we need to make and have the opportunity to make now, as individuals and as a culture, because we are clearly facing changing “topography” on both the inner and outer levels.
With all the cultural upheavals and breakdowns, many people are looking for a “light at the end of the tunnel,” for new, more life-sustaining, life-affirming, life-harmonious possibilities.
This is a chance for us to do our version of a “flying lead change” in which we spring off of where we've been, radically change our balance, and engage in a new way forward.
One possibility for our version of a “flying lead change” is to begin to use sociocracy as our new cultural “operating system”.
Again, I hear you saying “What?!?!?” Yes, I know. I said the same thing. 😊 It’s not exactly a household word yet.
Sociocracy is a relatively new method of organizing ourselves and making decisions that is based on the values of freedom, equality, and self-determination, and ensuring that they are implemented. Could be a good idea, do you think?
It’s unique in that everyone’s voice has equal value and we collectively decide how to support our needs getting met. One way this happens in sociocracy is that consent is required for policy decisions.
Giving consent does not mean unanimity, agreement, or even endorsement. Consent means “no objections.” Consent to a policy decision means you believe that it is “worth trying,” or “I can work with it.” This is a new, and even radical (getting to the root), approach. Right?
All members of a sociocratically governed organization are guaranteed the ability to collaboratively decide their living and working conditions—as citizens, employees, neighbors, students. Again, a new, and even revolutionary, approach, yes?
It is effective in organizing small and large groups, associations, businesses, and governments, and produces organizations that are both collaborative and highly productive. That sounds good to me!
Sociocracy is a model and structure that supports, promotes and requires connection, caring, consideration, cooperation, and collaboration. These qualities are an important part of why people join an organization--for belonging, being valued, and for connecting with others as part of something bigger than themselves.
This model actually functions in alignment with, implements, and fulfills the values and ideals of democracy. I was inspired and encouraged to discover this approach, along with the fact that similar approaches are also being used under different names for the same purpose and values.
This is an example of a “flying lead change” that becomes a cultural transformation.
If you’re interested in exploring this idea, some resources include Sociocracy For All, Sociocracy Consulting Group, Sociocracy 3.0,The Sociocracy Group, “What Is Sociocracy and Why Does Democracy Need It?” and “Sociocracy: The Movement”.
With all the social upheavals we’re experiencing, we have a chance now to recreate our culture and lives based on “right relationships”—mutual respect, honoring, valuing, reverence, and harmony—not just with people, but with the planet and all living beings. This is the perspective that indigenous peoples have known and lived for thousands of years.
This is the world I’m choosing to live in.
It doesn’t appeal to everybody. Does it interest you?