Thomas Midgley was a great U.S. researcher and a very successful business man. He developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline, to avoid motor noise, as well as the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as cooling liquid or propellant in aerosol cans.
After 1930, the time when he created these inventions, he was well respected and earned a lot of money through his patents. Today Thomas Midgley is regarded as the human being with the biggest impact on the atmosphere in our entire history.
He is only one example among many others, how most leaders handle challenges.
They solve problems by reducing a system more and more, until they discover a clear cause-and-effect chain. The big picture of the whole system has been lost. The impact of a decision is not predictable anymore.
Successes are changing the world for the better. We have to thank Mister Midgley for quiet cars, fantastic refrigerators, light aerosol cans and a huge ozone hole.
This way we also produce successes which nobody wants. Unconsciously we have created an economy which is using 50% more resources than our planet can regenerate. Every child understands that we cannot continue like this. We cannot treat business as a standalone system anymore. Business is a wholly owned subsidiary of society and society is a wholly owned subsidiary of the natural environment.
We need a new leadership paradigm. We not only need a holistic mind-set, we need a new consciousness, from which we operate. Conventional leadership models taught us to efficiently handle processes and results. But where do our thoughts and ideas come from?
The source is the consciousness of each leader.
Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer at MIT tells: “Successful leadership depends very much on the quality of the awareness and the intent, which a leader has in each moment. Two leaders, who work under identical conditions, will produce completely different results, depending on the inner state, in which they operate.”
Do you know your current inner state?
Probably not, because we are far too busy. We are far too busy in functioning as part of our reduced system and we lost the big picture.
The goal is to earn money, for ourselves and the company. This is the original and important purpose of business. But we can expand this purpose by the factor meaning. E.g. we could have a positive impact on society and the planet.
Company cultures which consciously focus on the common good of all involved people (customers, employees, suppliers, investors) are proofing to be extremely successful. Adobe, Google, Southwest Airlines or MasterCard are demonstrating this already for several years.
The Conscious Leadership approach produces happier employees, improved creativity and as an almost automatic consequence sustaining success.