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Episode 74

Re-Imagining Adult Development in a Time Between worlds

How do we re-imagine what we are as a species so that we become a life-fostering collective? And how can we foster change in the face of the developmental challenges we face?

In this conversation with leadership coach Rob McNamara we discuss our relationship with complexity, the devolution of adult development and some original ways to create significant shifts in consciousness.

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The Devolution of Competence

From a bigger picture perspective, we are becoming ever more complex and adaptive as a species. But in our current cycle of development we are actually in a downwards spiral in terms of complexity; less complex and less capable, with children showing less moral reasoning, interpersonal capability and complexity of thought than fifty years ago.

Given the stack of global issues we are facing now, we have to ask ourselves if we can actually accelerate humanity’s developmental maturity in the time we have to make a positive change.

Part of this worrying trend in adults staying at lower developmental stages is the transmission of adult responsibilities to children, asking them to advance to a stage of development beyond their years in an attempt to shirk the role of elder.

Re-imagining Ourselves

Rather than growing up and creating more complexity we have to go “down”; we have to get into the building blocks of what are we individually and what are we together. We must change the basic orientations around the human being and find our way to re-imagining what we are and what we are to become.

In this re-imagining we need to examine the images we have of what it is to be human. Our perceptions create the world we live in, there is no fixed “reality”. The way that we choose to see defines the way that things unfold; for example, do we see competition or potential collaboration?

The Vital Shift

The conventional stage is not easily advanced passed, and the central issue might be that we’re trying to create stable societies through growing homogenous interchangeable units of complexity but which don’t nurture human uniqueness.

The sense of aliveness or life force is probably what we need in order to really evolve into being able to be with more complexity by raising our vitality, which our post-modern culture does not foster.

This is an “ensouling” process, becoming fuller of the unique purpose that matters to you. Orienting towards the ever-deepening process of being and becoming human shifts our concept of what it is to be human.

Resources Mentioned:
Critical race theory

About Rob

Rob McNamara

Rob McNamara is an author, leadership coach, advisor and consultant with expertise in adult development and human performance. He is a co-founder of the leading consulting firm Delta Developmental, a faculty member for the Ivey School of Business' LIFT Advanced Coaching Program, and is a Senior Monk and Integral Zen Dharma Holder training with Diane Musho Hamilton Roshi. Rob’s coaching focuses leaders on clarifying life purpose, growing critical leadership skills to advance value creation and fostering organizational development to enhance learning and innovation.


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