I am an advocate of all cultures that learn, teach, model and show how to get more abundant supplies of food, energy, learning, and health along with cultures that cultivate access to opportunity to maximize potential for all groups and individuals.
These cultures all share one set of universal principles:
1. They are honest with a tendency toward one set of rules and shared mutual understanding and goals.
2. They emphasize FIRST STEPS. This means they are ruthless in evaluating where they are and what they have before they make any plans.
3. They use an “Apollo 13” mentality of making the best use of what the group does have, rather than itemize what the group doesn’t have only to get lost in fighting over why that is.
4. They have a clear imagination of exactly what the goal of their mission is.
5. They make decisions based on the clarity of that imagination, not in response to available or lost objects.
6. They use mission-based hierarchical structures to plan, brief, and execute tasks. But the more power you wield in the hierarchy the more you are expected to serve the mission.
7. They use communal, egalitarian structures for mission analysis and debriefing before and after each plan, brief, and execution.
All of this is definitive to any true problem-solvers culture.
Failure to have a good first-step can result in jumping out of a plane without a parachute, building a bridge without any nuts and bolts, or planning a political reform that treats symptoms, not roots. It is the most important step, before planning or execution can begin.
I believe that as we learn, teach, model, and show good first step practices – which are being shown to us by our “Greatest Generation,” our returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and countless civilians — a true renaissance is closer than we realize, if we simply decide to do so.