The Conversation
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The Conversation

Orchestrating Evolutionary Change

About the Book

When I contemplate what evolutionary shifts the human species is being called to make, my mind and heart goes to our seeming incapacity to cooperate and look after each other and the beautiful planet we live on. How do we, with integrity, answer the question, “What is important right now and in the long run?” This is at the heart of this conversation! The approach we will take to answering this question has lead to an orchestration of evolutionary change. It involves three broad processes:

  1. Cultivating moral self-determination;
  2. Taking perspective on, and mapping your way to, a preferred and probable future; and, 
  3.  Establishing a healthy normative environment that builds and maintains trust and reciprocity. 

These three processes comprise a series of structured and facilitated dialogues designed to have change agents with their people reflect on what is important personally and professionally and how they can more effectively move towards what is valued in the long-run. Those involved are introduced to a suite of simple, yet powerful, tools for exercising psychological flexibility and taking choices for action toward things that fundamentally matter. The aim is for intentional and positive change within our lives, close relationships, work with others, and our future. Importantly, the facilitated discussions and reflections are complemented by journaling and fieldwork designed to reinforce and embed desired change operationally. My aim in this book is, as far as possible, to have these three conversations with you.

Dr Robert Styles

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About the Author

Dr Robert Styles
Dr Robert Styles

I initially trained in music then, in a later chapter of my life, went on to become an academic doing applied research in the field of Contextual Behavioural Science through the Australian National University. Over the last couple of decades, this stream of activity has had me working with communities, organisations, and governments across the Australian, Pacific, African, Asian, European, and American regions. Presently, I am working with Prosocial World, an organisation that has developed a change method based on behavioural and evolutionary science that enhances cooperation and collaboration for groups of all types and sizes that is potentially effective on a global scale. When engaged, for me, this means co-designing behavioural and evolutionary approaches to realising environmental and socio-cultural resilience and wellbeing for those I am working with.

The approach I take to this work is captured in my two books, The Functional Self-Discrimination Measure and Interview and The ConversationThe Functional Self-Discrimination Measure & Interview provides a method for analysing language that has shown the way people describe their own and others’ behaviour predicts their long-term wellbeing. Applying this understanding has led to the design of healthy social behaviour by successfully identifying and aligning the intrinsically held values of community members. The Conversation translates this research agenda into an easy to read and evocative conversation that strives, with integrity, to answer the question, “What is important now and in the long run (for you and the significant others in your life)?” In this way, applying an empirically validated understanding of the function of language and cognition and how it regulates behaviour to reinforce prosocial and moral conduct in different contexts. The significance of these two books extends from the one-on-one session work of therapists and professional coaches with their clients to the work of leaders and change agents aiming to coordinate broader systemic change. The History of Music, reflects my enduring love of the art.

About the Contributors

Exmond DeCruz
Exmond DeCruz


Table of Contents

Part 1: How Do We Evolve?

• What Evolutionary Shifts?

• Using Evolutionary Science

• The Conversation

Part 2: Re-Authoring Yourself

• Being Beyond Form

• Your Act

• Attending to What is Most Important

Part 3: Re-claiming Our Common Ground of Being Human

• If We Are to Survive This Century

• Collaborative Societies

• Reclaiming the Commons

Part 3: Orchestrating the Broader Conversation

• The Big Picture

• System Analysis

• Strategic Roadmapping

• Polycentric Governance

• Action Learning

Part 5: Stories of Evolutionary Change

• Being Interviewed

• The Resulting Impact

• The Journey of Others

Part 6: Prosocial Compact

• A Behaviour Analytic Perspective

• Love, I expect!

• References

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