EE Magazine Editorial August 2020 – Evolving Enlivening Edge’s Evolutionary Purpose

By Lia Aurami for Enlivening Edge Magazine

Has your organization ever evolved its evolutionary purpose statement? We at Enlivening Edge have just finished a year-long process and we’re delighted with the results. We’re eager now to get your feedback so it can remain a living, ever-evolving statement.

Ta Da!

Catalyzing relationships among innovators who are accelerating the evolution of organizations and social systems for human and environmental thriving.

This is our third Evolutionary Purpose statement since we started in 2015, and it’s the only iteration that involved so many people over such a long time. We learned a lot on our journey that we hope via this sharing will be of benefit to you!

We used the Holacratic® definition of the purpose of an organization, as we are organized using Holacracy and regard ourselves as maturing into a Teal-modelling, For-Purpose Enterprise.

The Purpose of the Organization is the deepest creative potential it can sustainably express in the world, given all of the constraints acting upon it and everything available to it. That includes its history, current capacities, available resources, Partners, character, culture, business structure, brand, market awareness, and all other relevant resources or factors. (Section 5.2.3 of v4.1 of the Holacracy Constitution)

For us, in addition, it’s important that our Evolutionary Purpose (EP) include the more general purpose of helping the evolution of human social systems toward what we’re currently calling “human and environmental thriving.” In other words, for us an evolutionary purpose must be both evolving itself, and “about” facilitating evolution. For us, the evolution happening globally now is that of human consciousness, affecting all aspects of life.

How did we know it was time for a new statement? What kind of new statement did we want? 

Some people told us the previous statement was “too abstract” or “too jargony”—that they couldn’t understand or relate to it. Not everyone within an organization needs to relate equally or in the same way to its EP statement, but we did want more understanding and relating. So one of our important criteria was that a new statement be close to plain language.

A deep concern I had was whether our new EP, when discovered, would send EE off in radical new directions, such that we’d have to scrap our current offerings and become something other than what we’ve spent the last five years maturing and establishing, that most of you are familiar with—our three main offerings that express our Evolutionary Purpose: EE Magazine, EE Community Conversations, and EE Facebook Group. I didn’t feel radical new offerings would be the best use of our time, energy, and resources.

This is a classic challenge for any group that’s evolving its Evolutionary Purpose, to stay open no matter what fears arise, and we all had various fears. Getting those out in the open is part of the True Purpose process we used.

It was important to us that our process be emergent. We organized our musings around Tim Kelley’s True Purpose process. We held many internal meetings for sensing into our “Trusted Source,” as well as taking into account a lot of feedback on the then-current purpose statement offered informally over the years by Partners, readers, Conversation participants, and others.

We shared our individually-received inspirations from time to time, and we received some guidance and insights from True Purpose consultant Carri Munn. We documented as much of our musings as possible, for our future use and reference, possibly for future sharing.

What’s different now?

Our previous statement used Tim Kelley’s 3-part Purpose statement. (See his book for definitions of these terms.)

Essence: Nourishing the conscious evolution of people, organizations, and social systems.

Blessing: Weaving people, knowledge, and inspiration to strengthen the ecosystem of next-stage movements.

Mission: Boosting the emergent collective intelligence, consciousness, and impact of the ecosystem of next-stage organizations and initiatives, until they become the new mainstream of organizing work.

You can sense how similar it is to our new statement, especially in light of the relationship between forming relationships and increasing emergent collective intelligence that was explained in this Editorial.

Catalyzing relationships among innovators who are accelerating the evolution of organizations and social systems for human and environmental thriving.

So we spent a year of our energy and time. What is different? What did we gain?

The key difference is that our Evolutionary Purpose focus is narrower and more concentrated, thus clearer and more powerful. We expect this will make it more understandable and could attract more-aligned folks to help EE express its purpose.

The new wording shows more clearly the specific way, among many possible ways, that we are “boosting emergent collective intelligence:” by focusing on the first step which is catalyzing relationships.

As a result of our lengthy conversations, we have a much more complex, more nuanced, and broader understanding and appreciation of who Enlivening Edge is. And we ended up even more excited about what we’re offering the world.

Also we got to know one another much more deeply, which was satisfying and bonding. We got to know about the process of evolving an EP very well, with clearly more to learn.

The final similarity was a relief for me, because we have earned the respect of many of you, and we’re told of our great value to many, and some of us wanted to build on that rather than start over!

What will change? 

What changes in our approach, structure, governance, tactics, offerings, or actions will flow from the changes? In our Holacratic operating system, each role figures this out for itself and such changes are not fully clear yet.

Each Enlivening Edge offering still expresses our Evolutionary Purpose in fundamentally the same ways as before: We catalyze connections that lead to relationships, by hosting spaces where people who are co-creating the next stage in organizations can discover one another and begin to communicate. The ultimate societal value of connecting such people results from a snowball effect.

Implications for others in our ecosystems 

We’re shifting in a subtle way toward more explicitly seeking to help groups, networks, initiatives, and movements discover one another and connect.

We’ll ask people who enter our connecting-spaces to share which groups they find valuable and we’ll help each person discover the larger-scale groupings that might interest them. We call on all of you to help your group, network, initiative, or movement become more visible to others through us, for example as in this article and this one.

Feeling called to join us?

Are you someone who delights in strengthening and maturing systems and offerings, creating internal and external synergies, and carrying out a variety of relational activities? Would you express more of your own life purpose by helping EE express ours?

We’d welcome exploratory conversations with people as passionate as we are! We are still all volunteers, for the time being. Contact us; we’re eager to talk with you!

Tell us your response to our new Evolutionary Purpose statement!

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, or use this brief questionnaire with your reflections, especially your understanding of its meaning and how it relates to you and your work! Most especially, we’d love to hear about what value Enlivening Edge offers your life and work.

Thanks to Eric Babinet for major improvements to this editorial.

cropped me at IEC 2016-05-13 at 17.19.30 copy

Lia Aurami: Within Enlivening Edge, I energize a variety of roles to express my sacred life mission: to amplify our human capacity for living, working, and relating within shared higher consciousness. That optimizes the chances of success of transformative changes, by operationalizing collective and spiritual intelligence to help organizations be efficient and effective. I delight in creating and amplifying synergistic connections toward all that! 

Featured Image by Leopold13 from Pixabay