As I looked across the room of masked faces I could feel a smile coming across my own face. It was both heartening and hopeful to see such a significant change in the landscape of humanity. What was once a very homogenous landscape was now a great tapestry.
This shift was intentional and generative. The community had an ever increasing awareness that their leadership had a monolithic perspective. As such, they began to ask a fundamental generative culture question, “Who is missing from the table?”
At the core of this query is an aspirational desire to continue to be in a growth mindset. This is what generative cultures do. They are constantly discerning: What is working well? What are we missing? What else is possible? What is the next horizon we are being called to? To be clear, this not about chasing after the next shiny new thing. Rather it is cultivating a dynamic mentality of wonder, curiosity and openness that builds on what is right in front of you.
Kevin Oakes in his highly regarded book Cultural Renovation makes the compelling argument that the most successful organizations are the ones that consistently seek to renovate, “Companies that effectively changed their cultures were successful because they were renovating what they had, not starting from scratch and completely rebuilding or transforming.”
“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.” Issac Newton’s quote encapsulates the generative mindset that we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us – and – we now need to be strengthening our shoulders for those who will come after us.
As my spiritual director often reminds me, “God uses our history. This is the voice of wisdom. God invites us to use our imagination. This is the voice of where we are being called.”