Last week I had a most enjoyable week being totally immersed in discussions that involved the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Time spent within the macro is definitely my sweet spot but at the same time I am an absolute advocate for alignment with the micro. This in itself raises an interesting dichotomy as often macro and micro needs are at odds thus creating tensions.
As I explore these tensions I find many others share this interest and often describe it in the term of polarised tensions. These can be presented in many differing forms and perspectives:
- From a corporate perspective the tension is often experienced as being between culture and behavior change.
- From government perspectives the tension is often between the extremes of tertiary demands and prevention needs.
- From the charity sector perspective the tension is described as having absolute clarity and awareness of what needs to be done but actions limited through inaccessible resources.
In earlier blogs I have hinted or expanded on these relationship tensions recognizing the situation as being complex, commenting how the solutions are varied and one size does not fit all.
The phrase ‘one size fits all’ was refuted and explored in Blog #7 describing leadership as the missing link. In this Blog I build on this argument and strengthen the situation where all the sectors are also facing a new paradigm, which is commonly being referred to as the purpose economy.
In this era of distraction and with a pace of change like never before the pathway to navigating these relationship tensions are multiple and often unknown. I would go as far as suggesting that if you are currently doing business as you have always done then you are on the wrong path!
What I mean by such a bold statement is that much of traditional business approaches are based on a production approach where needs were not as complex or changing quite as fast. You only have to consider the changes in telecommunications where it was only under a decade when the Apple ‘i’ family became part of our lives. There are generations now entering the workplace who have only known life post the ‘i’ invasion and expectations across generations continue to be different.
This does not have to be a bad thing BUT working in the same old ways with no attention to better alignment is on a ticket to nowhere or as I describe in Blog #25 like moving the cars around the car park. Although the Consequences Blog may be the view of an X generation/er finding her way in this fast paced millennium period, disruption was part of the X generations’ staple diet. Those who were born between 1961-81 got to experience the inventions of the time and even inspire them to change the world as a result (maybe this is what inspired me to do a PhD?!)
Drawing on my learnings from my PhD exposure to academia, whilst balancing my personal experiences gleaned from nearly three decades of implementation, I have become very clear on the importance of alignment when considering disruption. This seems even more prevalent when being led by purpose and the links between macro and micro become incredibly important.
Macro goals like the SDGs provide an umbrella of clarity that can rise above the disruption or the mist of complexity and emerging change. In saying this I recognize the challenges of aspirational agendas and spent much of Blog #25 dispelling three myths relating to the SDGs i.e. the SDGs are both domestic and international; they can never be too big; and such overarching frameworks do not already exist (particularly in Australia).
My point is why not adopt a structure that is globally accepted particularly at a point in time when the world is in chaos. This Blog is not a reflection or commentary on the current global chaos be it Brexit or turbulent times of Trump (I shall leave that to esteemed colleagues) but it does navigate the importance of the relationship between alignment and chaos.
I am sure I would evoke much agreement in the sentiment that at times of chaos much opportunity is also evident. Opportunity for change, opportunity for improvement, opportunities that haven’t even yet been considered – but I argue only if the experience between the macro and micro is somehow enabled and more importantly aligned.
To this end I was intrigued by this article “Think the world’s in a mess? Here are four things you can do about it.
- be a reflective producer
Consider where your current employment sits within the economy frames and its contribution to society
2. be an ethical consumer
We all give lots of money through purchases we make and it is up to us to ensure products reach us through better labour conditions or have lower environmental footprint
3. be an active citizen
This is more than tactical civil disobedience but becoming more conscious recipients of political messages
4. be a principled person
Be sure to stand for your own principles and when others raise points of concern be it misogynist or racist insults tactfully respond and call unacceptable behaviour into question
Alexandre Christoyannopoulos is the author of these simple four reminders and his work is grounded in Tolstoy (who before the turn of the 20th century wanted us to bethink ourselves).
Bethink is a term used to ‘wise up’ or take personal action to combat systemic injustice. I expand these sentiments by stressing the importance of having such individual action aligned within a common purpose.
Alignment of the macro and the micro provides the perfect platform to navigate chaos whilst achieving shared common goals. I suggest if the 17 SDG’s seem to be too many and add to the chaos then simplify them and embrace the Five P’s (http://www.waynevisser.com/report/sdgs-finalised-text)
Much of the macro to micro thinking is so much easier when the alignment (hard work part) has been done. In recognizing the need to distill the 17 SDG’s big aspirational goals into themes or trends the relevant work has been completed presenting them under the umbrella of the following Five P’s:
In future Blogs I plan to share an extremely exiting movement CultuRecode™ which can be found at www.culturecodesv.com . CutuRecode™ identifies how the five Ancient core values of Australia’s first people align with the SDG’s Five P’s and 17 corresponding goals. Now if you want a good example of alignment of the Macro and Micro within a context of chaos that brings revolutionary opportunities for all cultures across Australia – that would be the one!
Looking forward to sharing some BE-THINK actions or let’s rename it to WE-THINK!