We need students and participants — whether they labor in a narrow, disciplinary area or in a broad leadership capacity — to understand that they are an integral part of something bigger than themselves. This realization encourages and empowers our students to embrace their responsibility towards the greater whole. It will also enable students to have a greater awareness of the inter-connectivity and complexity of the systems surrounding them. Although it may be impossible to fully understand what happens when one tugs at an edge of the universe, a more holistic, comprehensive and systemic perspective will increase the probability that future graduates are problem solvers, rather than problem creators.
This perspective will help lead teachers and students alike to develop models, frameworks, practices, structures, systems and processes that comprise superior solutions, particularly when compared with the current global economic and social systems that often optimize locally but in the process create global challenges that threaten the well-being of the entire human race and the planet on which we live. This approach, along with a comprehensive portfolio of knowledge and skills, business leaders (and other leaders) will enable us to create a positive impact far beyond what they imagined possible and thus contribute to a world that is optimized locally, regionally and globally on multiple dimensions: economic, environmental, sociopolitical, spiritual and societal.
We need to recognize that unlearning is equally as important as learning. What we have learned in the past may represent a serious impediment to becoming the kind of leaders the world needs. As a result of fractioning business out of its context and separating business functions into separate disciplines, we have created operating modes in business that represent serious limitations to a more holistic approach, whereby business defines its role as contributing to the well-being of society and, by extension, to all living beings in this world.