We need students and participants – whether they labor in a narrow, disciplinary area or in a broad leadership capacity – to understand that they are an integral part of something bigger than themselves. This realization encourages and empowers our students to embrace their responsibility towards the greater whole. It will also enable students to have a greater awareness of the inter-connectivity and complexity of things. Although it may be impossible to fully understand what happens when one tugs at an edge of the universe; a more holistic, comprehensive and systemic perspective will increase the probability that future graduates are problem-solvers, rather than problem-creators.
This perspective that will lead teachers and students alike to innovative models, frameworks, practices, structures, systems and processes that comprise superior solutions compared with the current global economic and social systems that often optimize locally but in the process create global challenges that threaten the well-being of the entire human race and the planet of which we live. With this perspective and a comprehensive portfolio of knowledge and skills, business leaders (and other leaders) will be able to create a positive impact far beyond what they imagined possible and thus contribute to a world that is optimized locally, regionally and globally on multiple dimensions: economic, environmental, sociopolitical, spiritual and societal.
We need to recognize that unlearning is equally important as learning. What we have learned in the past may represent a serious impediment to being able to become the kind of leaders the world needs. As a result of fractioning business out of its context and separating business functions into separate disciplines, we have created operating modes in business that represent serious limitations to a more holistic approach, whereby business defines its role as contributing to the well-being of society and, by extension, to all living beings in this world.
We need to recognize that unlearning is equally important as learning. What we have learned in the past may represent a serious impediment to being able to become the kind of leaders the world needs. As a result of fractioning business out of its context and separating business functions into separate divisions, we have created operating modes in business that represent serious limitations to a more holistic approach, whereby business defines its role as contributing to the well-being of society and, by extension, to all living beings in this world. We have learned to negotiate hard, of winning through cut-throat competition, of either rendering our consumers dependent or seducing them to consume more “stuff”. We have learned to pay employees, suppliers and partners as little as we can get away with and to charge our customers and clients as much as we can. We thereby have created a cage which prevents us from connecting to any desire to do good or to offer our energy and efforts to a greater good. Freeing ourselves from the many written and unwritten rules in business is an essential starting point to enable leaders to connect with their hearts and souls, to stop and to listen, and as a result to liberate their desire to do well by making a positive and relevant difference.
Above and beyond these rules and regulations, we have created important walls of protection. We are so scared to be touched (more figuratively than literally) that we have created very strong mental control mechanism that allows us to go through a day without getting too overwhelmed with everything we are confronted with and are asked to digest, starting with the news in the morning, to mildly dissatisfying personal relationships at work to sorting out kids back home. Most of us are in survival mode. We have shut down everything within us, besides the few vital areas that are required to get us through our daily life. If we expect future leaders to address their fears and deconstruct these walls of protection, we need to offer them an alternative that works. Such a process starts by recognizing the fear within the person in front of us. It requires us to see where the other person stands and to acknowledge his fear by offering a hand to take a step outside of it by providing the needed support. Without this support personal transformation will not be possible. Daring to be touched and knowing how to enter into resonance with himself and the world, are the key fundamental ingredient for any future leader that will act for the world and the societies it includes.