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"Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.
It is precisely that simple and also that difficult.”

– Warren Bennis

Introducing the Argonauts Leadership Community

by Stefan Beiten, January 2019

I f your supreme goal were to create the most impactful leadership group in the world, how would you go about it?

 

No doubt you would look around to see what is out there already. There are the annual meetings of world leaders at the UN in September. There are the Gxx summit meetings held periodically. There are the annual leadership gatherings in Davos and Aspen. There are more secretive, exclusive gatherings such as those of the Bilderberg Group and other elite societies.

 

All of these are impressive organizations and events, to be sure, bringing together great minds and powerful people. Impressive speeches. Excellent wine. But the leaders arrive in their limos, and helicopters, and then they go back home. The world is not appreciably changed. The problems remain.

No, we are thinking of something different: a leadership model capable of creating more sustained, ongoing change, continuous mentorship, personal guidance, social influence, business impact. Sure, there are think-tanks for this issue or that, each with its own limits and biases. But does the world really need one more special interest group? Do you?

 

The internet has opened new vehicles for the dissemination of leadership ideas. TED talks come to mind. The YouTube channels and podcasts of speakers and thinkers we admire come to mind. But these are not groups. They do not grip us. At least not for more than a few minutes. We may follow our favorites, but social media is not a leadership organization.

 

With due respect to all past efforts, none of these vehicles is really changing the world, at scale, with the urgency required to solve the menacing problems humanity confronts.

 

No effort and no organization are responding adequately to the dramatic challenges we face as a species, confronting economic and political crises, technological revolutions, planetary threats.

 

To find leadership groups who come together at that scale, at that speed, we would need to look back further. The Manhattan Project, for example, where the greatest minds of a generation were pulled together to develop the most destructive weapons ever conceived. Another example are the massive heavily-funded research efforts to find cures for cancer and for HIV/AIDS.

 

No coincidence that these examples were the result of threats from war and diseases. The fear of imminent collective death is a powerful motivator. But think about it. These past mobilizations were engineered and funded largely by governments, the most powerful nations on earth. Is it even conceivable that the creation of a leadership group could be assembled, organized, funded, and grown sustainably from the private sector?

 

Yet precisely this bold mission is already underway – quietly, modestly, far from the public eye – led by some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial minds on the planet. That they have assembled the people and created the best practices to make this dream a reality. But before proceeding to the who and the how, let’s address the why.

 

In a word:

necessity.

 

That perennial mother of invention has given birth yet again, this time in an altogether new form. Great minds came to the conclusion that business as usual will no longer cut it. That we as a species cannot continue to plod and plot along with the same old same old as potentially catastrophic forces – economic, technological, climatological – are proceeding at a far faster pace, threatening our societies, our very existence, the mother planet we inhabit. 

 

Traditional leadership has failed us. Traditional leaders have pandered to the masses, followed the crowd, chosen the easy ways out. Perhaps it is the modern entrepreneurial leader whose time has come to step up and innovate, thinking out of the box and developing solutions that more established institutions and methods have not managed over centuries to devise.

 

Hollywood, naturally, has envisioned such crises. Aliens invade, an asteroid strikes, an epidemic breaks out – and the survivors must scurry to craft an ingenious solution, the last hope for humanity. Sometimes the movies have a happy ending, sometimes… not so much. Other great minds have decided to write off Earth and head out to another orb, the Moon perhaps, or Mars, or maybe somewhere in a distant galaxy, to settle there instead.

 

Some of us blessed with abundance and affluence believe we already live in a different world than the rest of humanity. To some extent, we are part of a breakaway civilization that lives by different standards, and travels in different circles, than the 99+% of the rest. But the reality is “caught together, hanged together“ – either we learn to cooperate and solve our shared problems, or the legacy we leave will shortchange future generations, the children and grandchildren we cherish or dream of. As the American revolutionary Benjamin Franklin, now the face on the US hundred dollar bill, once said: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.

Benjamin Franklin

There’s no time to hang around, waiting for someone on a white horse to ride to the rescue. It’s up to us. The vision so many successful people share is that just getting by, trying to survive, is not much of a life. We want to inspire each other to do great things and manifest human aliveness in our daily activities. Courageous leaders seek to create and harmonize personal, professional and relationship prosperity not just for themselves and their own organizations. They seek to create a broader global community based on mutual trust and respect for each other.

 

We Argonauts love to challenge ourselves, both personally and professionally. We want to build from each other, cross-pollinate ideas and motivate each other in the spirit of healthy competition and cooperation. We are forming a new philosophy and lifestyle that is non-ideological, non-theological, cross-cultural and designed in great detail to meet the daunting challenges of today’s world.

 

We’re evolving past exhausted mentalities such as zero-sum economics and scarcity-based politics. We’re creating a global community based on sustainable growth and renewable energy for the mutual prosperity of all. We seek to infuse all of our works with a spirit of hope, optimism and human aliveness – the means as well as the end for the true prosperity which embodies both tangible success and the ineffable sense of human fulfillment for a mission accomplished. 

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Creating a leadership community poised to change the world

We caught up with Stefan Beiten — entrepreneur, investor, award-winning producer and filmmaker — to discuss why he founded The Argonauts and to clarify his mission of creating a global community that nourishes courageous leaders.
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