Executive Positioning

Can psychedelics help create better leaders?

Show Notes

Over the past few years, more and more organizational change experts have been calling for a holistic, systemic approach to leadership and success. As such, they defend deep listening, humility, and intense self-reflection as the top qualities of a real leader.

Could psychedelics be an effective ally in the quest for such compassionate modes of leadership?

Renowned universities and research centers such as UC San Francisco, Imperial College London, and Johns Hopkins have linked psychedelic-based therapy to improved cognitive functioning and potentially a smoother introduction of new habits.

Leaders who advocate for the use of psychedelics – including the late Steve Jobs – highlight their central role in their business vision quests. They defend that these substances help them leave their egos aside and become truly open to change.

In this episode of the FutureReady podcast, host Arne Kötting speaks to Maarten van Huijstee about the science, business, and spiritual side of psychedelics.

Maarten is a serial entrepreneur, and someone who has occupied executive positions in multinational companies such as Heineken and Unilever. He is also the CEO and co-founder of Spinoza, an Amsterdam-based human growth company that provides its clients with curated psychedelic experiences.

04:33 – Arne and Maarten discuss the travels that inspired Maarten's interest and appreciation of psychedelic therapy

08:14 – About the professional experiences that led Maarten to become an entrepreneur and to eventually found Spinoza

14:05 – On the development of Spinoza’s products and services - which center around the physiological benefits of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance found in 'magic mushrooms'

17:54 – How the medical community is becoming more involved in psychedelic research

19:49 – Maarten's thoughts about the transformative character of psychedelics as well as his personal experiences with these substances

22:09 - On the science, physiology, and psychology behind psilocybin, a hallucinogenic substance that helps rewire the brain

26:02 - Ego death, the experience of metaphorically dying and being reborn, and how it can help you break negative loops and habits

29:48 – How understanding, empathy, and connection can foster more collaborative teams and holistically prepare leadership to move forward

35:02 - How psychedelics can boost connectedness and combat feelings of isolation from nature and other people

40:19 – About experiential learning and neuroplasticity, which occur as the brain adapts to new experiences fostered by psilocybin

41:36 – Maarten's recommendations on where to start learning about and experimenting with psychedelics in the right manner

If you're curious to learn more about Maarten’s work at Spinoza, check out their website here. If you’d like to reach out to Maarten, here’s his LinkedIn.

Book recommendations brought up in conversation include Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy, Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind, and Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal’s Stealing Fire.

FutureReady is produced by COSYN, a global communications and change agency on a mission to shape more healthy and thriving businesses. Find out more at www.wearecosyn.com.

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This episode is presented by Arne Kötting, and was produced by Ana Luiza Loio and Dhriti Kamath. FutureReady music theme "Botanics" by Elizabells, and sound editing by Carsten Steffens.