Systemic Leadership for the New Europe: For a group of 38 people, the attendance at Alpbach in Motion was for sure one of the most exciting and memorable adventures of 2022. Patrick Jaritz, former AIM participant, shares his insights.
In the light of enormous transformational dynamics, it is crucial for leaders to develop a certain set of skills and capacities to enable, catalyse and support processes of systemic adaptation. Since the transition we are facing is not linear, yesterday’s logic won’t show us the most reasonable path to choose. Leaders, therefore, need to be increasingly aware of their responsibility and gain various skills to be able to look for adequate ways to be prepared for the future. The variety of such required leadership competencies is individually acquired in different ways and with specific focal points. Under the tagline “Systemic Leadership for the New Europe”, Alpbach In Motion provided a premium opportunity for aspiring executives to discuss what it takes to deal with profound transformations on a global scale.
It was an exceptional honour for me to be one of the selected participants. I’ve been following the EFA (remotely) for many years, so my expectations were quite high. A main reason why AIM22 absolutely exceeded these expectations was the commitment of our mentors. Charly Kleissner and Katharina Norden were guiding us with dedication, sensitivity, and inspiration.
During this brilliant time in Alpbach, we got an animating introduction to the holistic application of circular principles and new concepts such as the deep impact movement. The outlined road we are encouraged to choose leads to the emergence of a regenerative financial and economic system serving humanity and the whole ecosystem. “This road is much more uncertain and unknown, yet filled with infinite possibilities”, as Charly writes in his introductory statement. The potential for fundamental change is there, and many people are aware of what must be done. Yet, what is holding us back? The outlined topic is huge and potentially overwhelming. But Katharina and Charly showed us how to break it down and get to an understanding of where to start and how to overcome initial impediments. Much comes down to conducting a thorough self-analysis and getting a clear picture of individual values and goals. Our mentors offered a set of methods and tools to evoke reflective states and spark innovative creativity.
The settings were shifting between joint discussions, smaller group works and solitary contemplation. Hiking was used as a very suitable format for transmuting internal reflection to external dialogue and vice versa. All of these process steps gave us the opportunity not only to connect the dots but also to get to know ourselves and each other better – and how to use this for shaping our personal impact.
This equipped us with the awareness and mindset needed for the next steps in the process: to create conditions that enable transformative work to happen, to give existing efforts more visibility and more funding, and to massively accelerate and scale them – both bottom-up and top-down.
During only four days the degree of diving deep into such a complex matter is quite limited. However what can be done – and was done magnificently in this short period– is to sow the seeds for further processing and refining. As Robbert, a participant from the Netherlands put it: „It was like a high-pressure cooker – the processing started afterwards.“
The visible proof of the successful implementation of this concept was the ad-hoc exercise we did on the last day. We were free to spontaneously pitch an idea to work on – some attendees took this opportunity to present their proposals, and the others could then choose which one they wanted to join. One of the presented topics was how to efficiently acquire cross-country financing for impact businesses. I joined this group with three others, and we had 30 minutes to come up with a presentable result. When I think back on this exercise, I am still amazed by how four people who have known each other for barely four days collaborated in such a focused, open-minded, and effective way that the outcome we presented was a solid concept that (with some more refinement of course) could easily be pitched at a startup contest. This clearly demonstrated that the AIM concept worked. Apart from that I was really fascinated and touched by how deeply all of us connected during the short amount of time we spent together.
I am very grateful for this experience and want to thank our mentors Charly and Katharina, the AIM team Bettina, Leonie and Mariebeth, as well as all the great EFA and AIM people and last but not least (not less) our absolutely amazing AIM22 cohort – it was a pure pleasure meeting you, taking on this journey with you and setting the framework for further reflection and action.
I am looking forward to all the discussions, ideas and collaborations that will evolve out of this collective impulse!
By Patrick Jaritz, S&LP Manager, Amazon.com Inc.