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When the human world is in crisis entrepreneurship and society call for true and transformative leadership. Why is that? And what kind of leadership?
The very first thing we have to acknowledge when the human world is in crisis is that the way we organised our world has become obsolete, else it would not be in crisis. Trying to restore old securities is therefor no sign of leadership at all, it is called management. Management will never get anyone out of a crisis simply because the paradigm (the total set of values on which human interaction is based) has cracked up. It served its purpose in the past but now cannot be revised and needs to be replaced with a new paradigm. And that introduces two leadership issues: Definition of the new paradigm and the intense en risky transformation exercise from one paradigm to the other. Let us deal with each separately.
Definition of the new paradigm: We can distinguish five different paradigms that humankind can apply. In times of crisis we have seen four that have been regularly been called upon in history: The State, The Church, Money and Technology. The one that has not been seriously used is the one that places the individual human being at the center of all our strategies. While we placed artificial human invented systems in place to conduct our progress we noticed that they invariably ended up in crisis. For the very first time in modern history the individual human being has sufficient access to information to become aware of its own evolutionary responsibilities and create a culture of progress through cooperation. This paradigm means that we leave all artificial structures behind and get ourselves into a purpose driven culture of individual responsibilities shared through our common progressive, evolutionary objectives. The shift between paradigms is intense because it places responsibilities at the individual level through self-leadership and at community level through result drive sustainable progress. Political leadership is asked or forced to let go and facilitate the process of self-leadership of the people. We are seeing this happening around the world while corporate leadership is asked to take purpose driven humanistic initiatives to drive progress with the power of result driven united talent and energy, demanding a totally new business culture and structure.
Transformation between paradigms: The transformation between paradigms demands from leadership strong professionalism that goes way beyond technical or financial leadership. It requires strong understanding of human fears and hopes, the psychology of change and charisma to conduct the long term change by producing short term securities for all the people involved. It is a very humanistic type of leadership, a servant kind but also strongly demanding from the people on the verge of dictatorship. Sustainable progress is not a political discussion or democratic choice. This type of leadership that has nothing to do with the drive for power over people but the drive to provide comfort through change by getting people to provide comfort to themselves by taking responsibility. It requires strong insight, will power, anthropological/anthroposophical understandings and perseverance giving people their own share in the fruits they achieve through their own productivity.
Does that mean that the other paradigms are obsolete? From an operational leadership point of view: yes, because they cannot be placed at the kernel of human progress anymore. But the learning that we have reflectively embedded in our collective awareness is important to use those paradigms to feed the new one in development. Moral awareness that was claimed by religions is needed to provide ethical guidance to the humanistic drive of purpose driven communities, the state is needed to provide territorial cohesion and interaction between groups while technological innovation is required to provide the necessary tooling for humankind to produce abundance for all. The speculative money system needs to transform into a true value system that does not measure and speculate on shortages but values abundance through result driven investment of individual and collective talent and energy. This part of the transformation of values is probably the most complicated one since most of the old paradigm has glued all current human systems around monetary dependencies. To break through that the crises need to do their work because human interaction will only encounter dangerous opposition from the old power positions. This impasse will slow down the processes of the paradigm shift at the expense of human suffering. The introduction of new value system based on different criteria can slowly make way for large human structures that can break through the protective walls of the old money driven paradigm. That’s why I see a huge chance for technology driven corporate business organisations to make the shift first and become creative in valuing their people while creating a movement of change through visionary, multidisciplinary cooperation with other actors in this holistic approach.
The call for leadership is hence a significant one. Extremely few people today unite the conditions that profile the transformative leader. They cannot necessarily be found in the current leadership positions because those are jobs for high level managers guided or puppeetered by the self-interest of powerful shareholders. The true leaders that will stand up are currently without a job but with a personal mission. They may have lead significant ventures in the past which have provided them with the network and experience of old paradigm people management. Their personal enlightenment, together with a renewed energetic impulse to become the true instrument of change (they have no leadership ambitions but strong desires to see the paradigm shift). Others stand up and start anywhere in society or in a corporate organisation with sufficient skills and freedom to make the difference already today. On them the speed of the paradigm shift will depend and with them the sustainable progress of humankind that needs to be addressed.