At our recent convening of IONS Circle members, I hosted a workshop on “Noetic Leadership” that quickly strayed from my neat and tidy agenda into an organic, personal, and even emotionally-charged conversation. While we explored the potential role of noetic sciences in leadership, several people raised pointed questions: What are our true motives as leaders? Are we ready to go beyond servant leadership? Can we part with our egos? Is being “mindful” just the door opener? It was a profound conversation demonstrating that we are unveiling something very significant with Noetic Leadership—requiring no less than an open, collective, and candid dialogue.
But before I had the opportunity to further process that provocative discussion, I found myself exactly two weeks later in a similar conversation—however, this time I was over 5000 miles away at the Octave Center in Suzhou, China. As part of IONS partnership with the AITIA Institute and the Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research, I was invited to the program launch of Quantum Leadership—the impressive joint creation of Chavalit Frederick (Fred) Tsao, Chairman of IMC Pan Asia Alliance and AITIA founder, and Chris Laszlo, Ph.D., Professor of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
As with other program offerings at AITIA and Octave, Quantum Leadership has emerged from Fred’s personal journey after his own epiphany—similar to that of IONS founder Edgar Mitchell—that the 21st Century requires a new paradigm based on consciousness transformation.
Fred and Chris propose that the lessons of quantum science hold two fundamental opportunities for transforming today’s leaders: 1) to experience heightened awareness in the present moment, which is imperative for clear thinking, creativity, and effective communications; and 2) to expand one’s mindset to be all-encompassing—fostering an understanding of how our leadership actions impact others, which is essential for a society not just to survive or be sustained, but to flourish!
The conversation was spirited during those three days in Suzhou, as leaders from China, America, Hong Kong, Signapore, and Australia discussed how to apply the Quantum Leadership model to our own leadership roles in a variety sectors—corporate, education, healthcare, entrepreneurial, and family business.
In addition, Fred and Chris ensured that each participant had ample access to daily awareness practices such as meditation, breathwork, Qigong, sound therapy, and even hydrotherapy. I observed that these awareness practices were a first-time experience for many of the program participants and served to deepen our group dialogue.
Interestingly but not surprisingly, the program sparked similar challenging questions that were raised during the Noetic Leadership workshop two weeks prior: What changes to leadership practices are needed to foster both organizational success and societal flourishing? Am I personally ready to embody this new leadership paradigm on a daily basis? What if my ego says “no”? How can we collectively move our aspiration from sustainability to true flourishing—and what will this require of today’s leaders?
With such crucial questions, it is no surprise that we are seeing a surge in new forms of leadership—mindful, humble, quantum, noetic, authentic, and more. But as one very wise IONS member said to me, this is not simply about new forms of leadership—this is about the New Leadership.