Leadership according to the laws of nature

What happens when patterns of war and rivalry cease to exist in our culture?

After countless, endless wars, crises and conflicts of the past, the 21st century offers an opportunity to free itself of old patterns of control and domination and to dedicate itself to higher-level needs instead. It’s all a question of leadership.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.

Albert Schweitzer

From competition to coopetition

The original state of human beings is one of inspired curiosity. People are generally willing to learn, creative, cooperative, loving and strongly willed. The inner “mood”, the original curiosity and the courage to make your own will a reality are the drivers for experiencing yourself as a natural being and acting in harmony with natural laws – with all the senses and out of sheer curiosity.

However, we have a long way to go. When in business jargon, for example, something is meant to be “mission critical” and competitors are to be “attacked” because “it’s a war out there”, where it is often the case that “heads will roll” – it is exactly then that everyone, from the lowly employee to the big boss, feels subjected to extreme pressure. But what is this actually all about?

We want everything. And there’s just no getting enough, ever. Martin Sage then always likes to recount the story of a gangster in a mystery thriller who wants to squeeze even more money out of his hostages after the ransom is paid, and one hostage asks him what it is that he really wants to achieve. After long consideration, the gangster answers: “More.”

“More” is the driver of our economic dynamics, and it sounds sexy, for a while. “The New York lifestyle is simply ‘more’,” says best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer. After a 42-kilometer marathon, a sports app says: “Well done. So what’s your next goal?” Higher, better, faster, wider … “more” is the new “keeping up with the Jones”, the self-image of our performance-based culture. But the core message in “more” is: driven by ego, instead of: guided by self. Mostly, the reason for “more” lies simply in the fact that many don’t know how to relate to themselves. The sluggish consciousness has long made itself at home in the comfort zone. All that we achieve on this level is therefore humane average.

Money makes the world go round – and also rules most of us. Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the world, is not known for being content. Instead, it is known that his employees are under such extreme pressure that they have to urinate in bottles while they are at work. This is exploitation and pressure according to the old principles of the industry. His ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, the second richest person in the world, invests her billions from the divorce settlement in various humanitarian and climate projects.

 Welcome to the wasteland –
of eight billion people, a considerable portion is sitting at home gambling right now

The danger of our discontent lies in heading where, instead of goals and meaning, there is only distraction. In a certain stage – when it doesn’t really your development is stagnating – the risk is that people tend to kill time rather than use it. It is estimated that, during the pandemic, around three billion of eight billion people were sitting at home gambling – maybe even billions more if you include stock market speculation or Tinder. In the movie business, there is a word for this: the “wasteland” phase.

The protagonist negates his actual destiny or responsibility by dedicating himself to wasting time in all kinds of ways: casual sex, gambling, alcohol or other drugs are some ways the “wasteland” plays. James Bond, who is presumed dead, takes a break in the Caribbean, where after a short while he pursues all three components. It is only when he hears that his beloved former MI6 employer is in danger that he remembers his vocation and leaves his female lover in bed and the drinking games at the beach bar behind him. This interim threshold decides whether things will continue to go well or not. It all boils down to whether you remember your original goals.

The history of the necessity of competition and rivalry has been deeply imprinted in our worldview. This thinking of the past leads to the crises we are facing today.

Gregg Braden

If you do business they way you play a game and not the way you wage war, it will bear fruit. There are two ways to play a game: so that you win or so that the others lose. In the post-industrialized world, the principle of destruction dominates: it’s less about making progress but rather about putting obstacles in your competitor’s path. It’s a question of “conquering” or “winning”. The “conquering principle” is an emphatic “conquering of another”; “winning”, on the other hand, arises as a result of your own power, which even allows for a third option: striving together to achieve something bigger. Those who let themselves be guided by curiosity and vocation, doesn’t have to “lead” in the traditional sense in business. Martin Sage prefers to talk about “conducting”, in the sense of conducting energy, which flows like electricity. This is about “leading in compliance with the laws of nature”, as coined by physicist, founder of Global Challenges Network and friend Prof. Hans-Peter Dürr.

First of all, leadership means being led yourself – by an idea, a vision, a wish – in order to conduct that energy to others: a kind of leading according to the laws of nature, which involves an orientation based on what is given.

Leadership, so to speak, means a high degree of responsibility – which is the opposite of exercising power. As today’s German Einstein, Dürr explained to us: “For me, knowledge is not only a means of obtaining power but also for insight and wisdom. Not directly, but by recognizing our limitations and those of others; that’s why I am interested in dialog. We absolutely have to bring the spiritual component back to our world, otherwise we will see endless suffering.”

Coopetition: Guiding and being guided

For this reason, the modern character of leadership no longer lies in competition but in “coopetition” (Martin Sage), meaning the duality between cooperation and competition. The goal of strictly competitive leadership is to maintain power. It’s only a matter of extending influence and eliminating other players. “Old leadership” involves getting everyone in line in order to realize what the leader wants. New leadership will be guided by human intelligence, in contrast to artificial intelligence and old value paradigms.

In coopetitive leadership, the leader has a sense of the market. They are guided according to current needs of the zeitgeist and try to develop solutions for it. Employees don’t have to get behind them but are invited play the game, voluntarily and for the fun of it.

The leader forms the team in such a way that every coworker is placed in an ideal position, where they can best contribute their talent and best develop their potential. Leadership and management merge into one. To put it in the words of John F. Kennedy: A new leader asks not what the employees can do for him, but what can be done for his teammates.

This is the point where “Radar for Leaders” comes into play. Sonja Becker’s vision is to realize the principles of modern leadership, deleting old-style brain patterns on the mental motherboard, to train “consilience” (a “mutual alignment” according to Gregg Braden) instead of resilience, to overcome dualities of the mind, not to think in terms of either/or, but instead in terms of “this as well as that” because “I see a world where war is obsolete and using the threat of war to solve our problems no longer makes any sense” (Braden). Instead: “I see a world where our love of cooperation is greater than the fear that drives violent competition. And I see the shift in thinking that makes each of these things possible.”


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