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Evolutionary purpose is one of three remarkable principles Frederic Laloux has brought to a viral discussion about how pioneering organizations around the globe are operating already on a next level, what he calls Teal level, by mainly “operating from the inside”. 1)

With the other two self-management and wholeness being pretty much on their way 2), I find the outlook evolutionary purpose is engaging us with to be far more challenging. Especially for those of us with several decades of training in how we come together, work and create and are being successful in this world.

And as if looking at “the how” all anew were not enough, the principle of evolutionary purpose ask us to simultaneously take a new attempt on “the why” as well. 3)

Let us take the good news up here first: When the “why” is at stake, transformation and a leap in consciousness is within reach.

Supposing this is something we want to invite.

This same stage of essential re-inventing, trans- and re-forming could come with some serious commitments on our side, as well as with repeated intention, in the sense of:

A commitment for discipline. The discipline of keep practicing, exploring and finally sticking with new ways of being together.

A commitment for knowledge and understanding. Of ourselves, human growth and evolution of consciousness.

A commitment for choosing love over fear. Every time it’ll get too tight along the process.

Intention being to serve something wider then us and – as I’m suggesting here – to play an active role in bringing forth conscious interdependency through us.

Yes, and sometimes it comes with unstoppable excitement and fun.

Turns out evolution is about constant growth. Growing in complexity. 4)

No wonder we tend to be overwhelmed. Especially when we bring with us on a psychological level the assumptions – explicitly or implicitly – of not being “good enough”, “loved enough” or “having enough”. In that case the call for life, a call for growth, can become pretty intimidating and even terrifying at times.

Some of us might even wonder whether evolution should care for our psychological growth. I’d suggest a “yes”, in the sense of being empathically connected. In the sense of “evolution having to stop its progress and wait until we humans are ready to complete our psychological growth”, probably not.

To understand better, I find it helpful to look at how Richard Barrett is bringing light onto the context of psychological and evolutionary growth. 5)

In order for evolution on all levels to progress, there are, what he calls, universal conditions. These conditions are to establish internal stability and external equilibrium with every level of growth and complexity.

By analogy with an atom having to enter some sort of internal stability and external equilibrium in order to successfully bond and form a next entity, what would be a molecule, an individual human being is invited by evolution itself to grow (physically, psychologically, intellectually) and establish internal stability and external equilibrium in order to bond on a level of independence and viability and build mutual beneficial relationships, families etc.

And similar as only stable and balanced organisms, on a next level of complexity, can collaborate in such ways as to form creatures like animals or a human being, – only stable and balanced relationships, families, nations and organizations are able to collaborate in such ways as to create a platform for next level entities to emerge.

This means in reverse, that entities of higher complexity are dependent on the stability and equilibrium of the next lower entity.

Here is where the psychological growth of us human beings comes into play with evolution : if we are capable of establishing internal stability and outer equilibrium on a individual and a relational level, it could be us indeed, who can create the possibility for next level entities to emerge.

Now, listening and creating on interdependency and responding to what wants to emerge is a very different dimension and a far more complex “why” for coming together, than the need to be together out of what we call the social dimension.

On the social dimension we are coming together with the purpose of satisfying our needs of being safe, having enough, belonging and being seen in what makes us special. And, to not leave anybody behind, as long as “they” belong to our social entity.

And somehow we seem to always create an “us and them” by doing what we do on these social terms.

The evolutionary level of interdependent connectedness invites us to go one step further and entering, what I would call, the unconditional We.

Here we ask ourselves, what is the living organism being created through our coming together ? What is the next level entity, that is more complex than the sum of us being together ? What is the exponential, non-linear potential that enters the room with us ? And how can we serve it ?

This way of following an evolutionary purpose starts with listening. Not with knowing. It starts with intention not with a goal. It leaves us responsible for our inner stability and outer equilibrium in order to be able to sense and respond to something that is not just us – individually and collectively – asking for our attention.

Listening deeply or sensing into the field, as Otto Scharmer is describing it, is that type of interaction with no talking up-front, with our minds still and hearts open and connected. 6)

Practicing the act of listening deeply when coming together could be our short cut to cope with evolution.

Seems it is not an easy task in our reality. It is against our current social behaviours of being together to satisfy our deficiency needs of having enough, belonging and being seen and heard. And we have being incredible creative in inventing all sorts of dependent and independent behaviours that are reflecting and re-producing just these very needs in a very high intensity.

There is definitely a time to speak, express or “making noise” in the process of approaching evolutionary purpose. But it comes after the repeatedly listening, after the tuning in. That is what we mean by “operating from the inside” in practice.

Whether we come together as an organization, a professional peer group, a circle of friends, a virtual community space, or an ad hoc bumping-into-each-other, in order to serve an evolutionary purpose we can start asking ourselves questions such us:

If evolution comes knocking on our door, are we ready to let it in ? Are we coming together for “us” and for an unconditional we? Mainly for the interest of the parts or the bigger whole?


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1) Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness. If you do not have the time to read the book – although it is highly recommended – you find presentations, videos and wiki here.

2) While the principle of self-management is comprehensible in the current framework of thinking, there are already well elaborated tools and methods to bring it into your organization. The most popular being Holacracy. See for example how Zappo is adapting to the self-management system. Whilst “the revolution of wholeness”, as Lauri Feinsod, CEO of Graphic Dimensions Ltd is calling it, is taking place on all levels of society.

3) Simon Sinek’s TED talk “Start with Why – how great leaders inspire”, gives a perfect framework of the why, the how, and the what dimension in business and beyond.

4) Mihaly Csikzentsmihalyi puts it more precisely in ‘The evolving Self’ : “complexity is not necessarily the direction in which evolution inevitably progresses, but it is the direction in which it must move in order to secure us a livable future”.

5) Richard Barrett in his book “Evolutionary Coaching”. And here with an elaborated slide deck.

6) Very practical approach on having a better conversation with listening first, come from the radio host Celeste Headlee in her TED talk. Otto Scharmers models and terminology are very well documented here.


image: Katharina Fritsch, Kind mit Pudeln (child with poodles), 1995-1996, MOMA San Francisco

Collaboration, sharing economy, Weology, spirit of we, creative empathy, connectedness, agile, open-source, exponential learning, wholeness, teal family, Peers Inc…
Another year full of offerings, developments, insights and wholehearted requests for a different world is coming to its end.

Are you ready to take the leap ?

If your answer is more on the yes-side I invite you to do the following experiment:

Think of all the people you had the possibility to meet, connect and exchange during this year. And then open your perception to all the people you have met so far in your lifetime. All of them. Let them show-up to you at once.

Yes, also the colleagues in school, yes, also the uncle that was harming you as a child in some way or another, yes, also the stranger passing you on the street, yes also that attractive man or woman on the dance floor, yes also your mother, yes, also the neighbor in the plane, yes, also the … yes. all of them. Whether it has been for the blink of an eye or for a continuos while. All the people you had a direct moment of exchange with in your lifetime.

Can you picture this vibrant universe that emerges? Do you get a sense for this incredible, complete organism made of connections ? This is it. Your own human family, your potential impact, your field of responsibility.

And chances are, that this is as big as it can go, and as wide as it should go, when you consider humanity, when you talk about a different world and about collaboration. Your direct human connections. This is your “be the change you wanna see in this world”. This is your Weology. 1)

Wait a minute. My humanity? Is humanity not bigger than me being in connection with some of the individuals? Well, let’s be honest, we just pictured it. Your humanity is a pretty large crowd.

And yes, the whole of it might be even bigger. But as you probably know, its not so much the quantity as it is the quality of these connections that will make the difference.

The quality of your humanity has the chance to transform the world. Whereas the quantity of humanity is just an abstract sum of all our individual humanities taken together. Nobody is left alone, if we are care-in-action for our own human families and if we let them be naturally cross-combined and over-layered across the planet.

From all major system transformation processes we know, that mindsets are more important than technology 2) consciousness is more powerful than tools.

So what I’m offering you here, as 2015 is coming to it final weeks and days, is to look at humanity, to look at your humanity with a different mind-set, a widened consciousness.

Are you ready to even go one step further in the Weology experiment?

Then – now as you have a picture of your influence and impact zone, of your body of transformation, of your humanity – what would be the single one message you want to deliver to all your contact points? What would be the message that would most benefit every single one of them? What would be important to be heard and being brought into their life by you? All the time?

The message that wants to be delivered by me into my human family is this:

you are loved. look at you, your are loved. Everything is possible from here.

It only takes half a tweet on twitter.

This is how we invite the new world, by actively creating it. A world where we connect in non-linear ways 3). Where we learn exponentially 4), where we are connected and collaborating extensively. A world that is serving everybody. A world complex, vibrant, integrated and divers like… the model of the Atlantic Rainforest 5).

A world of the new human families.

Can you picture it?


1) The term Weology I did borrow from Peter Aceto, President and CEO of Tangerine and #1 on the leadership innovator’s list 2015. #Weology

2) See Steve Denning and the Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy in their sturdy report to the Drucker Forum 2015. http://www.druckerforum.org/fileadmin/user_upload/2015/slides/dayII/parallelsession/steveDenning.pdf

3) Key message from Ruimin Zhang, CEO and Chairman Haiergroup, first Chinese entrepreneur to win the Outstanding Achievement Award Thinkers50 “Best Idea Practice Award“. http://thinkers50.com/biographies/zhang-ruimin/

4) Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, the largest car sharing company in the world, collaborative pioneer and author of PeersInc. http://www.peersincorporated.com/what-we-do/

5) The wisdom of the Atlantic Rainforest, translated by Sandra Epstein as a vivid model on how to thrive amidst diversity through creative cooperation. http://www.sandraepstein.com/atlantic-rainforest-wisdom/

I’m on my way to the 7th Global Drucker Forum, a gathering of 500 people in the venerable and vivid city of Vienna. Thought leaders in management and beyond, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, supporters and educators. Men and woman, professionals from around the world.

This years topic is twofold : “Claiming our Humanity – Managing in the digital age”.

While the second part of the challenge, the managing in an age where digital connectivity and businesses are disrupting not only whole industries but also the way we interact and collaborate locally and globally on a day-to-day basis, seems somewhat manageable and linked to the professional expertise and experience of the attendees, the first implication stands out with a total different nature.

Why is it, that we feel the need to claim our humanity? Did we lose it?

To claim our humanity as humans is comparable as for water to claim its humidity, for light to claim its brightness or for brain cells to claim synchronized activity. Its somewhat essential.

And if we suppose for an moment, that we actually did lose it along the way. What would that make of us in the consequence, who are we as humans without humanity?

Chances are that we are isolated beings on some level, as humanity is about feeling connected with other humans and life itself.
We are probably beings out of balance in some ways, as humanity is about integrating all of our aspects and potential of humanness.
And we are almost certainly unhappy beings, as humanity is the playground were humans tend to find and execute on genuine meaning.

Peter Straub, president and host of the Drucker Forum puts it this way:
“It is perhaps ironic that in a moment of technology-driven information and knowledge explosion we should be feeling our way back to something that has been largely forgotten in the frenzy of accelerating change and instant gratification: genuine wisdom. Yet it is such wisdom—which can only come from human beings and not from machines—that we need in order to make the decisions that will create a better future for all.”

So if genuine wisdom is the call for action for this claim, genuine meaning would be the purpose.

And maybe its helpful to start with this honest distinction: While business, management and smartness has come a long way together, wisdom has not been predominately on the agenda. So in order to change that, we should give us the benefit of practice.

The distinction of acting smart and being wise can help us choosing directions and discussing interconnected solutions: Smart is the perspective of the few, wise is the perspective for the whole.
And when smartness is about picking the apples, wisdom would be about tending the ecosystem.

I’m exited to practice genuine wisdom, meaning and smartness in a circle of impactful business leaders. Todays corporations, its stakeholders, technological and non-technological services are at the center of global human interaction.

We are the ones who can grant us our humanity.

Daniel Goleman, bestseller author of Emotional Intelligence, contrasts in his latest book Focus the good-enough leader with the great leaders. “Great leaders do not settle for systems as they are, but see what they could become, and so work to transform them for the better, to benefit the widest circle”.

Work to transform systems to benefit the widest circle. This is how we see the grandiose responsibility of today’s corporate leaders.

Grandiose because its a widely creative, innovative and meaningful work you are asked to do by the challenges of our time, by humanity itself. And responsibility because it refers to the mere ability to respond. Respond to the widest circle, to operate in the big picture.

The given corporate system embedded in the business system, is the playground of your performance. It is the most globally connected, influential and producing system the human world operates within at this stage.

A good-enough leader would operate and react, even excel, within this given system to benefit a partial or a single group.

The great leader goes beyond the drivers of the current system, beyond growth, financial return and fierce competition.

Why? Because her horizon tells her to do so. Because he has a notion, that we can do better than treating our planet and ourselves in a paradoxical way: optimizing short-term wealth by threatening our basis of life, our life together and human life itself on this planet.
The bigger the horizon, the bigger the system you can see.

But don’t just look on the outside in trying to understand. If you are serious about the big picture it comes together with self-awareness and the human ability for compassion. How we see and treat ourselves, others and the world on a fundamental and on a day-to-day level.

Your level of consciousness as leader determines the scale of transformation that is gonna happen with the system you operate in.

Small picture recipes and tools alone will not do it here. Its not even about know-how, most likely its about integrated knowledge of the dynamics of system transformation, of timeless truth and physical reality and about the clear and very distinctive way we see ourselves, others and the world.

Whats the risk? And what’s in it?
To be honest. If you are up to system transformation you risk everything. Everything you know so far from past experience about the current system. This journey comes with insecurity, openness, building on trust, already mentioned responsibility, vulnerability, growth – inner growth, creation, leading on a large scale, co-creating, paradigm innovation, even being in service of human evolution. To list some of the options.

It definitely comes with discipline and purpose.

Goleman dedicates his work at the beginning of Focus to the well-being of generations to come.

Whats is your widest circle, the circle you want to dedicate your work to? Whats the widest circle that can benefit from your company’s operations? What is the big picture you are responding to as one of today’s great corporate leaders?

We are curious to find out with you and passionate to support you on this journey.

your lovecom.
love-based Executive Education

Can you imagine business without focussing primarily on the doing?

Let me go back to the source of this question by understanding two things. First, the implications of the model of the Deferred Life Plan. And secondly by having a look at the origin of the word ‘business’. (part II)

The Deferred Life Plan, introduced by John Scherer in his book Five Questions that change everything is the simple and disturbing truth of the belief system most of us, especially in the industrialized western societies, tend to organize our entire life accordingly.

Its the somewhat subconscious mechanism and yet thousandfold told story in our culture, that we all have to DO (a lot) in order to HAVE (enough) to finally BE (somebody).

Or even shorter: Do today – be later.

A famous and much accomplished composer I had the pleasure to have a conversation with recently, was very serious about this not being the model for success anymore, especially not in a complex global culture.

His goal is to be at least with 60% being and only 40% doing. Not because he is lazy, but because of his experience that with a percentage like this, he delivers better, more meaningful and successful work, especially in the long run.

Its an interesting experiment to ask ourselves what our current overall percentage of being and doing is, and if this percentage serves our goals and our values in the best and most effective way.

Being is a different type of investing your life time than doing.

The tricky thing is, if you are not practicing the being, the doing will automatically consume more and more of your life time. Thats the default mode. Some of us experiencing it when we, while being in our rare holidays (coming from holy days), are not feeling comfortable at all with just being.

John Scherer suggest not less than the total turn-around of this model of life time investment and thus reversing the formula for success:

“People’s tendency not to think about the BEING aspect of their Deferred Life Plan is ironic, because it’s the BEING that’s the goal for all the DOING and HAVING.
Reversing the formula for success means starting with who you ARE and letting what you DO emerge from that place, reducing the importance of what you get from the world (HAVE).”

Leading business with a focus on being in that sense could mean, being very clear about why you are doing what you do. As an individual and together as a collective. And being responsible that what you are doing is mainly serving being, your being – and the being of others.

Let’s not forget, that we do call our species neither human doings nor human havings. What we call our selves for good reasons is human beings.

Most of todays CEO’s don’t realize how influential they are.

This opens a very interesting gap, as at the same time, most people would think that being influential is exactly what a CEO is all about.

On certain levels they are right. Chief Executives are shaping the corporate agenda, representing the company in the wider context, and making the crucial decisions that will allocate resources to the strategic goals in the big picture.

But theres is a different type of influence playing within the corporate organism all along, and this one is coming to the surface for example when a new CEO joins the company. It is a very subtle and profound type of influence. I call it the evolutionary influence.

The day a new CEO enters the company, the whole organism is in expectation, excited and aware. Then you can observe, that every word spoken or not spoken by him or her, every glimpse, every message is received attentively and multiplied immediately to every corner of the system.

Evolutionary influence is a type of influence that is as well genuine to any hierarchical system: the one on the top having the most influence and that comes together with a responsibility for the whole.

I have seen first hand a new CEO leave the company after the promising start of a whole-system corporate transformation. He seemed to not have been able to fully see and perceive the impact he already had on the organism and the people in his care, and that he was indeed influencing the direction of a silent but steady river.

I also witnessed the very painful and abrupt decision of a successful and visionary Chief Executive to leave this world by his own hands. The powerful flood of all the messages immediately and several weeks after his death were speaking about the tremendous influence he has had on the lives of the people who worked with him. He had touched their souls in a way he certainly not have had realized while he was still alive.

Realizing and understanding the full extend of my influence alters my behavior and has the potential to strengthen a sense of being connected to the whole, which lies at the bottom of leading a meaning- and successful corporate transformation.


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