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Will the leader of tomorrow be an entrepreneur of progress?



I felt deeply challenged and involved in the debates that I attended during the 10th edition of the «Parlement des Entrepreneurs d’Avenir» in Paris last week. As an individual, as a citizen of my country and of the world, as a father, and as a business leader.

As I was going through the passionate discussions, I observed that a number of arguments were putting themselves together to form a compelling driver for more and more entrepreneurs of « progress » to develop, in order to lead the world through the profound mutations to come.

"We are developing stratagems not to believe what we know"

Facing the growing danger for the world, evidenced by the acceleration of social gaps, climate change and natural diversity destruction, I was asking myself the following questions:

. why have a large number of companies changed their behavior... so little?

. as business leaders, haven't we realized the situation?

If we, leaders, are aware of the situation, why do we continue to make decisions against societal and environmental interests?

Part of the answer is probably in this sentence, pronounced by Etienne Klein in one of the sessions: "we develop stratagems not to believe what we know". It's human . Especially if we haven't set up a credible and desirable future.


« Progress » is: « accepting to sacrifice part of the individual present for the collective future »

How to design a credible and desirable future, in the context of global economic acceleration and in a world of finite resources?

It is even more difficult than before to predict the future of a company, so we must invent it, having in mind the environmental and societal context, define a "purpose" by thinking in terms of " progress ”where the time and money invested contribute to creating lasting and collective value, and no longer only in terms of “innovation ”where the time and money invested can create individual value (for the company) but often without collective value (zero or negative sum game where the value created by one leads to value destroyed elsewhere).


"Is the obsolescence of the current leadership ineluctable? "


This shocking question focused my attention on the leadership necessary to lead companies towards this desirable future, following a path of progress.

Can the "shift" in terms of leadership be achieved by additional skills or by a leap of consciousness?

There was lots of exchanges on this matter in the various sessions. Thomas d’Asembourg referred to Einstein's proposal: "no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it".

Suggesting that the leaders of tomorrow will have to know how to create spaces where the solutions will involve the new generations, take nature into account, listen to the heart, to more “feminine” than “masculine” intuitions….

This suggests that what is ineluctable therefore is the obsolescence of the currently dominant leadership model: hierarchical, masculine, focused on profit….

It is by a leap of consciousness allowing the triggering of a new mindset and the development of new skills, that the leader of today can progress on the path to a new leadership.


"A passion cannot be fought by reason, but by a stronger passion"

The “why” changing the mode of leadership was beginning to emerge. My questions then were:

. how to motivate this change?

. how deep will it touch us, as leaders?

. what deep motivation will lead us to "sacrifice", to deconstruct certain modes of thinking and personal and professional behaviors, to build new ones?


It seems to me that a first answer is to be found in the discussion that took place around Spinoza's reflection: "a passion cannot be fought by reason, but by a stronger passion".

But what could be a passion stronger than the one that drives us today?

That is very tricky, as this question contains two questions actually. Hartmut Rosa (sociologist and philosopher) proposed an answer to both.

Firstly he suggests that what is behind the willingness of people to earn more, always more, is the feeling that increasing our material capital is a mean to increase our social reach to the world, which in turn provides a good life. This feeling is tightly associated with the fear of losing the link with that social capital, the fear that the world would one day become deaf and no longer respond to us.

And at the same time he offers a path to an alternative passion, bringing everyone to explore the true conditions of a beautiful and desirable life, conditions where we would be in permanent "resonance" with self, others and the environment.

This opens a way around questions such as: what can be the conditions of resonance with oneself, others, nature, the environment…?

At the individual level, aligned with the collective level, by reviewing companies’ « purpose » along the lines of the new leadership of entrepreneurs of progress.

I found there a compelling driver for more and more entrepreneurs of « progress » to develop, in order to lead the world through the profound mutations to come.

What about yourself?

Francois




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