Why Conscious Leadership is the Name of the Game

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Stefan Beiten
E 138

In This Podcast

  • Bringing trust and purpose to the world
  • Be terrified about missing conversations 
  • Businesses as instruments of purpose
  • The potential dilemma of AI

Do you really trust your people? Do your people trust you as a leader? Is your company a trustworthy stakeholder for the society and the planet as a whole? And if not, why not? 

The answer, says Stefan Beiten, Founder and Managing Partner of Argo Ventures, always lies with your people, you need to learn to connect with them.

Stefan is an out-of-the box thinker and serial entrepreneur, investor, company builder, and opportunity finder from Berlin. Best known for producing the global phenomena, Earth, the most successful nature documentary ever produced, on this episode of Corporate Unplugged, Stefan discusses how to empower purposeful leaders to solve real world problems. 

To find out more, download and listen to this truly insightful episode.  

Show Notes

How to Empower Purposeful Leaders to Solve Real World Problems with Stefan Beiten

Stefan Beiten is an entrepreneur, lawyer, film producer, and public speaker. He’s the founder of investment holding company, Argo Ventures, where he’s founded and co-founded over 20 companies on two continents in three decades. He’s the founder of Greenlight Media, where he’s produced global classics such as Deep Blue and Earth. And he’s the founder of Argonauts, a global community for innovators, executives, and entrepreneurs, where he hopes to inspire them as changemakers to find their own meaning. 

“We need a complete paradigm shift in leadership. The world that I grew up in, the narrative that I was born into, was the classic transactional leadership mindset, the mechanistic thinking model.”

The world grows more complex every day, says Stefan, more uncertain. And the old transactional leadership mindset doesn’t work anymore. It has too many limitations. So what’s required from leadership? 

“We have a consciousness that is far greater than just our cognitive mind. And to expand that consciousness is the name of the game. So conscious leadership. That is the answer to the complexities of these new times.”

Bringing trust and purpose to the world

Stefan’s goal is to bring trust and purpose to the world. It feels like we’re lost, he says, that we don’t know who to trust, that the institutions we believed would be there forever, are now in question. And it doesn’t matter who he speaks to – CEOs, employees, single entrepreneurs, they all describe the same thing: What can we trust in the world? What is my responsibility? What can I bring to the world? 

“My purpose is to provide spaces to allow people, to allow leaders, to define themselves as change makers, as paradigm shifters, as people to inspire us to find those answers for themselves and for others they lead.”

But the journey to finding answers isn’t easy, says Stefan, nor is it a journey for everyone. You need to evolve from a Me-mindset to a We-mindset. 

The three values

For Stefan, there are three meta-values that are universally important: 

1. Being aware of what it means to be human. 

“Life happens in the space between impulse and reaction. So be aware of the impulse, how you fill that space is where you as a human have power over it. If you don’t feel that space, you just react to life.”

2. Respond to the awareness of full responsibility. 

“That’s a great English word, because it means are you able to respond to that impulse? And if so, can you respond with full responsibility?”

3. Create a space of empathy for oneself and others. 

“You cannot have empathy for others if you don’t feel empathy or don’t embrace the love for oneself, without falling into the narcissistic trap. And when you do that, then it goes to – are you capable of creating this third space of empathy that others can join you in? That is the true We-space.”

Be terrified about missing conversations 

The missing conversation between generations, says Stefan, between hidden and forgotten traumas, the things that we don’t speak about, and especially the conversation that we don’t have with ourselves, we should be absolutely terrified about. 

“Missing conversations manifest, they create a lingering hurt, and that will break out in and affect your view on yourself and on the real decisions you make. That is a missing art that I found we have lost in our very transactional mechanistic based societies.”

We need to tap into our collective intelligence, says Stefan. Collective intelligence, conscious intelligence, happens when we combine IQ and EQ; and tapping into it allows us to grow our ability to deal with complexities exponentially.

Businesses as instruments of purpose

Businesses in general are instruments serving a certain purpose, but they’re also serving the purpose of healing people at the same time, because we’re at work 10 or so hours a day. So why not use that time and that space to include all aspects of life, both private and professional, and have a joint growth journey together? Too many people worry about mixing personal and professional lives, but if you don’t, how can you bring your full self to work? 

Any kind of short term thinking is essentially violating the golden principles of the long term goals of purpose and trust, and is hurting the company, says Stefan. The paradigm shift and understanding that the investment in these two main pillars of any future-proof organisation is a must-have. 

Just take Google’s Aristotle study; the number one reason for a high performing team is that they can operate in a space of psychological safety and trust. 

“Truly purpose driven companies embed values in the corporate DNA. And when you have that, then you have an alignment – every person’s individual purpose with the mission of the company, in those companies that truly have that, outperform the market over a period of five years by 42%.”

Every private equity investor who doesn’t understand that trust, purpose, and conscious leadership is the name of the game, should be looking for another job, says Stefan. 

The potential dilemma of AI

A study from Goldman Sachs said they expect in the next five to seven years, that up to two-thirds of all jobs in the western world will be replaced, or on the verge of being replaced by AI. Huge changes are coming and much faster than we’ve ever expected.

“The IQ-only space that we’re in will be replaced by AI. But that’s not the space where true human intelligence resides. The EQ space, the emotional intelligence, adding that to our skills, to our competencies, and then together with others, going into the space of collective wisdom.”

Those companies that create spaces which allow EQ to be matched with IQ, those organisations that create a meaning-making layer on a continuous basis, says Stefan, those are the ones that produce trust and purpose, which are the breeding ground for a corporate culture that allows us to innovate, and to have a future together with any AI model.

Trust your people

“Distrust in the belief system of Excel spreadsheets, and algorithms. Trust the collective wisdom that lies in your organisation. If you create a space of psychological safety, where you can have the conversations that truly matter, you’ll find alignment of the individual purpose of your people, of all stakeholders, with the true mission and vision of the organisations that you lead.”

Do you really trust your people? Asks Stefan. Do your people trust you as a leader? And the same for a company? Is your company a trustworthy stakeholder for society and the planet as a whole? And if not, why not? The answer you will always find lies with the people. You cannot outrun the competition by producing faster or selling faster. True innovation doesn’t come from just your laboratory. It comes from the collective wisdom of the whole organisation. 

The world needs people to connect on a deeply emotional level, as humans. As Stefan says: live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, and speak without offending. If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: Amy Edmondson