Today is an exclusive live video interview with Keith Reinhard for the interview series “Interviews with the Leading Edge.”
In this series of interviews, I engage with people who are on the leading edge of transformational change, doing work to further the consciousness revolution and how it is manifesting in culture, politics and spirituality, in order to help bring along a more enlightened society.
Keith Reinhard is one such person.
Keith is the former CEO and Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, and a founding director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
In this far-ranging and insightful conversation, Keith talks about creativity and creative thinking, leadership and the leadership toolkit, having a dream, passion, the bottom up organizational structure, the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, the ability to think different, his work with Cornel West and the Union Theological Seminary, creating multi-faith dialogues, his work in helping to create a better world, and the tools it takes to create a new mind for a new world.
He stated that one tool for creating a new mind for a new world would be something that would give people bigger ears and bigger eyes, so that they could listen better and be more observant.
Keith has made the subject of leadership a lifelong study and has much to say on the topic. When he discusses the subject he can easily quote from a variety of sources, including Lao Tzu; Gandhi; Abraham Lincoln; Bill Bernbach, a giant in the advertising world; and Jesus.
Keith is a tireless advocate for creating a better world, and in that regard he has worked with and advised a number of organizations, including The World Parliament of Mayors; Mennonite Economic Development Associates; Jazz at Lincoln Center; the Sesame Street Workshop; The Brookings-U.S. Islamic Forum; The USC Center on Public Diplomacy; The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy; The Center for Global Engagement; and the Episcopal Charities of New York.
As a part of his brand consulting work for St. Bartholomew’s, a landmark Episcopal church in New York City, he produced the following statement which I asked him about in the interview, because of the profundity of it. This is the statement:
What we are against
Claiming to have all the answers. Elitism and exclusivism, especially in church. Bigotry for any reason. Authoritarianism. Indifference to injustice and suffering. Certitude in the face of ambiguity and superficial answers to hard questions. Boring sermons, bad music and general cluelessness. (So God help us, because we don’t always avoid them.)
I met with Keith at his apartment in the Time Warner complex in New York City, and from my time spent with Keith, I can truly state that he is an enlightened thinker and the embodiment of a leader, and a person we could all learn a lot from in terms of how to approach life and the way to see the world: I could sum up his approach by describing it as a bottom-up, open-minded worldview in which the status quo, the “what is,” is continually transformed into a world of “what if” possibilities.
To think in this way is the way of the enlightened leader, and it is a way that all of us are capable of.