Leadership & The Beauty Principle
The old economic paradigm was based on power and influence. But the soul of the new economy is based mostly on beauty. Because beauty is ultimately a democratic concept; discerned personally and locally. It is central to ‘who we are’. Like great artists, business leaders sometimes radically change the whole form they are working on. And what leads to this transformation is beauty.
Applying this notion of beauty, to rethink leadership as leader-ship also builds on and extends towards ‘holocracy’ (as opposed to autocracy), the idea that by removing structures, hierarchies and distributing authority and decision making to all employees, guided by the roles they perform and sensitizing them to the tensions they experience, everyone has the scope to become a leader.
Something beautiful is not only in the eyes of the beholder, it is also a matter of personal experience. This notion of beauty is intimately connected to impact and making a difference. For Steve Jobs, making objects that were beautiful as well as functional was a cornerstone of Apple’s philosophy. What was most important for him was setting the profit motive in the service of a higher purpose - which was putting the quest for beauty back into the mainstream of human consciousness.
Beauty reinforces the importance of putting the sense back into the way we engage with situations in everyday practice with consciousness. Communicating through beauty and touch invites empathy with the other. It enables us to connect with the sense of the experience itself. But the way that beauty helps create a sense of empathy, meaning and connection addresses a deeper need that the world also longs for and deserves.
So the path to beauty is not only a platform for innovation and transforming how we do business. It is also a fundamental principle of life, a springboard for building resilient and hospitable communities. Power may define what we think we need, but it is beauty, through directing the eye to a greater possibility, that finds promise in an uncertain world.