In a world driven by capitalism, it is compassionate leaders who ignite the spark of change. In this episode, host Margaret Graziano interviews Dr. Abraham Khoureis, Certified Visionary Leadership Coach, on the power of compassionate leadership. Dr. Abe shares his journey and dives into his initiative for improving capitalism. Dr. Abe presents a groundbreaking new approach to capitalism, calling for a shift from competition to collaboration. He emphasizes the importance of compassion and highlights his research-backed model that unveils seven transformative levels of compassionate leadership. Dr. Abe also discusses that at the core of compassionate leadership lies self-awareness and mindfulness. By embodying compassionate leadership, individuals not only become better leaders but also foster personal growth and positively impact society. Join us in exploring the profound impact of compassionate leadership on capitalism and human potential.
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Compassionate Leadership: Transforming Capitalism For A Better World With Abe Khoureis
We are interviewing Dr. Abraham Khoureis. Welcome, and tell us a little bit about you and what you do in this world.
Thank you so much for having me. They call me multi-talented for many things. I am an adjunct professor. I teach MBA classes. I have a few businesses in the city of Los Angeles. I do classes, seminars, workshops, and anything to do with leadership. We have an initiative and improving capitalism. I'm heading that.
I have a passion for advocating for disabled individuals. I have a learning model theory on how to improve people with disability within the workforce, plus online. It was a pioneered approach where you provide access to individuals with disability online with compassionate leadership. I have a show. I host the Who's Who Leadership & Politics with Dr. Abraham Show. I have a symposium where I bring thought leaders, the top of the line, and they present their own insights on what is happening in the industry.
I want to ask a couple of questions. You are an accomplished man. You got lots going on. Where do you teach? You said you are an adjunct professor.
I'm teaching at the University of Redlands in California. I have been teaching with them for several years. I teach MBA classes, plus leading teams and individuals.
Tell me about this initiative for capitalism. What is that about? What does it mean? What is the name of it? People reading this are interested in a new way to work. They are interested in innovation and optimizing human potential so that they can be part of the solutions to workplace and even life challenges. What is the new approach to capitalism you have?
I have written several articles. I published those in Forbes. People are invited to research my last name, and they will have access. I will also send you two articles. It has more details, and specifically to revamp capitalism. We love the system. We think it's a good system, but we can improve it. How? It is by adding a human element to it. This is where the compassionate leadership model comes into play. As you know, I have the pyramid, which states it has seven levels. The initiative is to improve the capitalist mind, the capitalist individual, to think not only in his mind but also in his heart.
A capitalist individual, when he goes to any society, whether local or international, things happen. The minute they cross the border, they break all the laws they can. Here they can't because there are laws. They put them in place. When they go outside something, they become a different individual, a corporation, or an entity. What we are saying is, “Let's put it all the way. Let's add humanity to it.” This is where the compassion leadership comes into play. If you like, I can talk about that.
It sounds like a little bit of conscious capitalism. I don't want to put you on the spot if you are not sure what conscious capitalism is.
I'm very aware of it. Mine is different. You are dealing with an individual that has been in different worlds and has an understanding of what is happening. The reason I'm not presenting this and trying to advocate for it is that I know the consequences. This is a call to action. Compassionate leadership is not just to be nice.
I'm not saying be nice, which is good because if you do it as a leader or a manager, you change the organization, individuals, and performance, which we understand. We are saying, “Let's change or work within the status quo to improve it. If you maintain it, it is rotten from within. It is going to collapse.” Let's maintain it because the system is a good system. Work on it. It is called to action from within.
If you are calling me to action, what are you calling me to action to do?
To improve the status quo of everybody, the leadership, employees, and customers, from end out, from out end. Instead of competing with another company, collaborate. This is an emerging trend. We are not saying everybody is going to adopt it. We have research to back it up. I will share the numbers with you. Eighteen percent don't care. Eighteen percent say, “We want to stay with what we have.” For the homeless in LA, they say these people deserve it. They don't say we have to care for them.
It is different because it gives you a plan. I shared the pyramid with you. Whenever you want to share it with your audience, that will be good. It has seven levels. The levels start with self-compassion. We are not saying to become an instrument of helping others while ignoring yourself. Do not ignore yourself. Be the best you can be. Become the richer you can be. Do it for one purpose mindset. Do it for the purpose of helping others as you help yourself.
I want to hear about the seven levels. Am I oversimplifying by saying, “This is what, in my world, we would call conscious leadership?”
It adds to what is available out there.
It is in the realm of being awake, aware, and knowing that your life is for something and how you are going to be the best you can be at work and in the community.
You mentioned a keyword, which is aware. Self-awareness and being mindful are the core of it. At any level you are in, you have to be aware of what has happened. When we say being mindful, what is mindfulness? It is being present. You scan the environment you are in, you assess it, and you behave accordingly. When you are being mindful at any level of these levels, you become a leader. You mention compassionate leadership. Whether it is servant leadership or any type, it is within the scope of that.
In my book Ignite Culture, the whole first four chapters are about you tuning in to who you are and what is important to you. You lead from that grounded place. You can't lead culture and people to be innovative and creative if you are already not doing the work. What I want to know now are the seven levels of compassionate leadership because our audience would be curious about that. Tell us what they are.
They are based on being mindful. There is no one better than the other. If you feel that you need to take care of yourself and you are at the top of the society level, you go down to self-compassion. It starts with self-compassion. Self-compassion is where you care for yourself and improve it to the best of your ability within your limited budget or means for one purpose. The key is one purpose. The purpose is to help others. It is not you are not improving yourself to be selfish. We are transforming the mindset from the I to the we.
That goes back to my life has a purpose. I'm here to be a contributor, not to be a consumer.
We are one component that we call human beings. I don't want to go religious on you or spiritual, but we are made of the soul as the core to our energy, the self which is the learning component, and the body which is the vehicle. We all, whether male or female, have the same components, and there are three of them. How we develop them as human beings will make us better, more contributing to society or an average person.
We all have the same components. How we develop them as human beings will either make us better and more contributing to society or just an average person.
It seems to me that it is the circles I hang out in, but it seems like mind, body, and spirit. Before I moved to California, I lived in Illinois. I owned a recruiting firm, but I wanted to do work that was less transactional and more transformational. I switched my career to organizational development, organizational culture, and executive coaching.
I came to California because California was more open-minded than Illinois. I had a product called Conscious Hiring. My question for you is, do you find, and we will go back to the seven levels, more people are interested in living a life awake, aware, and being a contribution, or do you think we are far away off?
The research tells us, “We have 70% of people overall who believe in the goodness of doing good things.” The challenge is leadership. If you have a leader that is compassionate, transformational, transactional, charismatic, and someone who cares for the society or the organization they live in, we have these seven people that won go that job in the society that is in line with what we believe in.
Seventy percent of people believe in good.
It is determined by the leader that is leading this path. If the leader is compassionate, believes in the ideals that we believe, compassionate in that, and changes the status quo for the betterment of society, 70% of people will follow that leader. If that leader goes the other way, they will follow that leader. We call this the masses. These people care for themselves as well. They are mindful of their own and of what they need. If they are living livelihood will change, they will change what the leader. They are not in it with commitment. They are in it to survive.
People operate out of survival. Let's go back to your seven levels.
The first level is self-compassion. This is an individual, he or she, and I will call them they. They will care for themselves for one purpose, to improve the lives of others. It starts with the self, from the I to the we. It is a mindset. It is being mindful and being aware. Not everybody is like this. We are seeing they get the best education. You don't have to stress it, but at least attempt it because when you improve yourself, you are able to improve others.
When you improve yourself, you're able to improve others.
What is the second one?
When you improve yourself, you go to the next level. It is next of kin. Here where you care for your family, elders, neighbors, and siblings. You care for individuals and improve them to make sure that they are also aware of what is happening in the environment you are in. We go there and call it a smaller community. This is where your local businesses where you patronize those businesses. You improve a common instrument of good to the community you are in.
We are not saying to be the perfect individual, but at least be a responsible individual toward the specific community. You go to the organization. The organization improves a lot of leadership. If you improve, you care. I emphasize this. You care for the shareholders. You tell them and communicate with them, “In a sincere way, we care for your investment, and we are going to make you multimillionaires. We are the people who are making this. “
As we care for you, we want you to care for the employees. We want you to care for the community you are in. We want to care for the customer and consumer. We are going to tell them, and we will tell them. We are going to include the product have benefits. We are going to introduce the product and services that bring you value.
What level is this? Are we at five?
This is the fourth, and we go to the community at large. The community at large is where you start acting in corporate responsibility as an organization. When you start building clinics and hospitals, assist them because your intention is to improve society and regardless of who these individuals are. You go to society. You become the individual that changes the leadership voting by being a responsible individual in the community plus society on the national level. If you want to be global, you can be global as well.
It sounds like your formula is about if you want to be a contributor in life, if you say you want to make the world a better place, I know you said levels, but I almost look at it like concentric circles, where my influence is and what is the difference I can make by being here on the planet.
It doesn't matter what position you are in. You can contribute. We made it in levels because we can teach this with time to leaders and individuals interested in whatever their key is. Are they mindful enough to know where they are at? Do they care for themselves? Yes. Are they healthy enough? Okay. Jump to the next level. Do you care for your mom? Do you take care of your mom, dad, or neighbors? Are you that compassionate to check on them and call them? At least my note stuff will make you a better individual. When you become a compassionate leader, what does it lead to? It leads to being a better human being.
You are talking about micro steps like, “I care about my employees. I care about my family. I'm going to see how somebody's doing. I'm going to give them grace.” My question for you is this. What is going on in many companies is the engagement is down. People resigned even though they were not quitting. They do this thing called quiet quitting. They feel entitled.
For as many issues as companies are having with employees, there are issues with management because people are people. How do you compassionately take a stand? I'm listening to Tim Ferriss' people. He is direct and he doesn't tolerate any BS. I find it freeing because people know who he is, and they know how to work with him. He doesn't want to waste his time in life. He feels that he got big work to do, and it is not muting around with people at work that aren't getting their stuff done, aren't reliable, aren't dependable, or show up at meetings.
Most of the people reading have jobs. They work with people. They want to know, “How am I passionate? How am I compassionate and tell somebody I have to lay them off? How am I compassionate and tell somebody, ‘This is the third time you have shown up unprepared for a meeting. I'm not going to meet with you anymore? ”’
How are you compassionate? Tell somebody that they need to get better or they need to look for a different job. If there is anything most of my clients suffer with is accountability. They are nice people, and they want to stay nice. They allow people to be their lowest selves at work. I don't think that is compassionate. That is hurtful. That is my rant. What do you have to say about it?
Compassionate leadership doesn't mean pity. It means changing the status quo from worse to better and making it the best. If an individual within the organization is not committed and being truthful to who they are and to the commitment of the organization, the compassionate leadership approach doesn't say you can't fire them.
What we are saying is don't fire them. Retrain them. If they do not retrain and they do not commit to the cause or the organization's objectives and perform accordingly, you have to let them go. We are not naive. We do not create individuals that are naive leaders. It doesn't matter what level you are in. You have to be accountable.
Find a new job for them. Give them an opportunity to reform but don't tolerate them not performing or not doing what they said they do.
If you are conscious enough, self-aware, and mindful, you have to respect the environment you are in. Compassionate leadership is understanding. When we talk about the organization, I teach organizational behavior on an MBA level and graduate level. The objective of the courses I teach is to change the mindset and behavior here of individuals to conform to the organization. What is an organization? It is made up of people, individuals, teams, and groups for one common purpose is to achieve an objective. How do you achieve an objective? Through performance. How do you do the performance? Through behaviors. How do you change the behavior?
When you want to change the behavior of individuals, you motivate them, and you see what they need when they lack. When you talk about quietly quitting, it comes down to performance. How do you do a performance? It is through behavior. The behavior would be modified, manipulated, or regulated by the leader. This leader has to understand the process. How do you motivate these individuals to commit to the organization and be accountable? You motivate them accordingly. There are different types of motivations.
You can't motivate another. You can inspire, but the motivation is intrinsic. How do you recommend motivating
They are intrinsic and extrinsic. They are two types. Motivating them is knowing them. Talk to them, “What do you need? What are your needs?” Meet their needs. You would talk about quiet quitting. Why are they quiet quitting? It is because there is no engagement. Probably everybody's leaders out there. They are not engaging. The minute you give them this power, and you put them in a position of power, they change. They become a different person. They think that power corrupts unless you are grounded. Compassionate leadership will give you the understanding to be grounded, make you humble, and lead with humility.
In my own life, I came out to California. I’m clear about why I was coming. I wanted to launch this software. I wanted to have the software make a big difference in how people are hired. I hooked up with this partner who was going to develop the software. I didn't consciously evaluate him. I evaluated three different partners, and he, I felt, could get us there faster. I didn't vet his personality, values, beliefs, and the past businesses he founded and ran into the ground.
I allowed myself to be corrupted as his partner because I didn't do my normal process. In the end, he butchered the software that we were building. He fired my partner, who was a PhD in IO Psychology. He stopped paying people. All of these things I wasn't in charge of, but there was peripheral noise, and my spidey senses were up. The board kept telling me that I put in place, “This is going to be worth millions. Tolerate the BS. When we sell it, you can take your money and ride off into the sunset.”
We never did that because I pulled the plug. The journey and the inside out pulling apart, “What are my values? What does integrity mean?” It was brutal for me to come home back to me. I lost about $1 million in a year and a half of my life over it. In hindsight, I also got corrupted. I listened to what he said. I was listening about the millions of dollars and not about, “In this moment, does this thing make sense?” That happens at companies all the time.
You were mindful because you were aware of what was happening, and you were accountable within. He didn't voice out that thing to him because he didn't see the influence. The power had influence. I don't know if he was the financier of that position. He worked within the authority.
He knew how to make software. I didn't.
Do you know how to do software now?
For that one, I'm going to sag away for a few minutes. I knew the potential of software and AI. I tell this to you before anybody else. I went through a bootcamp program with San Diego University. I learned how to do software and HTML.
You did that yourself.
I went schooling. I know how to do it because when I guide my clients, I always tell them to do this because this is the future. I went to my team, online class, and online program. These are eight courses. It took too much time. I did data science and machine learning. While I was doing it myself and I was preaching to others to do it, I did it. It is an impressive thing you do. You can hire any people and individuals to do whatever you want. You have the understanding. You weren't corrupted. You worked within the environment anywhere within 70% at that time.
That justifies it.
I'm not justifying it. I'm saying the category you put yourself in.
I was nervous. I had invested a lot of money in time. My son worked there, and I was scared.
How do you bring you out of the 70%, and how do you bring these people out of the 70% to make them aware?
How I left the 70% is I went to see a therapist. The therapist said, “You don't need therapy. You need a lawsuit.”
The action of this individual is not the things we educate for and emulate. It is happening everywhere. That is what we are trying to attempt. That is the status quo we are trying to change for the mind of this individual. This is not acceptable to your partners, employees, or consumer because, in the end, there was no product or something valuable to them.
I'm going to ask you another question about conscientiousness. Do you know anything about cults?
We have experienced that.
I was part of a company for a long time. A volunteer didn't get paid. It was a company that did transformation. They made a big difference to me. They helped me see that I was putting all my energy into my work and I had no other life. They made a big difference. I started volunteering up to twenty hours a week.
In the end, I was leading programs for them, and it took a person intervening in my life to say, “You are working for free. You are taking time out of your own life with your own family to give to this company. It is fishy.” I stopped. All these years later, I watch a documentary called The Vow on Netflix. I bring this up because they help people. Their technology was amazing. I highly recommend you watch it because it is the dark side of personal development and the consciousness movement.
They took all these people. I guess 75,000 people went through the program. They learned that they could overcome their thoughts and beliefs. They could contribute. The company brainwashed them into thinking the only way they could do that was with them. It gets even worse because the big guy at the top was corrupted and created a sex ring of young women. He was the master, and they were his slaves. This happened in 2022.
To me, it is unbelievable that this could happen. As I was watching it and listening to you, I was one of those skeptical people that said, “I like what they are saying, but what are they trying to get from me?” I still volunteered for 8 years, 20 hours a week with them. I saw people give their whole life to them like a vow. They missed several years of their children's lives.
What was their value system? Was your value system in line with your value system at the time or you didn't know anybody?
They used the first circle. The first internal circle was the self, being conscious, being awake, and not being reactive. The second one was family. The third one was work. The fourth one was community overall. They didn't brainwash anybody, but certainly, they had hundreds of people after they did this program who say, “I want to keep it. I want to volunteer.”
The value system was being a contribution and making the world a better place. That is how they pitched it, then. Even at this NXIVM that The Vow documentary, which is pretty powerful, the guy who produced what the bleep is the producer of this documentary, which was like an early-on conscious awakening on TV. Anyway, they spin it as you are a contribution to society.
These are buzzwords. You see it everywhere. You see it in organized religion. You see it within sex. The problem with them is they take away your identity. The other issue, which I haven't a quarrel with, is they don't lead you to build a nation. They build their own unit. When you become within a cult, whether it is a political, religious, or social cult, these individuals aim to serve society, but their intention is to serve themselves.
How do you tell the difference?
You tell the difference by being aware. It is self-awareness. That is why I'm telling you, “We don't build weak leaders.” I don't have voices within my tools. Everybody is aware, clever, and not a manipulator, but they know how to regulate the process because we give them tools to understand. We don't have weak leaders. We are not supposed to have weak leaders. I'm going to tell you that because when we reached the last level, which we didn't cover, after society, there was the servant leadership level, which is the peak.
When I was doing my research, I looked at what is available out there. There was Abraham Maslow's, which is based on needs. There was the Giza, the one in Egypt, the three pyramids. I was saying, “What is the purpose of this?” When Moses was here, Moses came to a corrupt leader. We have many corrupt leaders, but Pharaoh was the most corrupt leader because he said, “I'm your god.”
This is a story I'm sharing with your audience. Moses came and said to them, “There is a better person you can follow. We call them God.” “What is He?” “He is in the skies. He is in heaven.” Pharaoh came to his leaders. I'm not talking about that Giza pyramid, but a story in history. He said, “Build me a pyramid or something I can reach the God of Moses with because I want to fight the God of Moses,” with their limited belief system.
They build that thing. Giza is not the one, but they built a pyramid, and Pharaoh went to that peak. It dawned on me. I said, “As we climb these levels, we reach the top and become the best we can be. When we serve others without anything in return, we have to expect, and in this small, private, exclusive space, people are corrupt, like the Pharaohs, waiting for us to fail and not make you change the status quo.
How do you not be cynical? I'm listening to you, and I'm like, “If people at the top are corrupt, how do we ever help them not to be corrupt?
Change the system by not following them. How do you take somebody's power from you? It is by not following them. How does somebody like a boss or manager have an influence over an individual and they are stressing the hell out of them? Every time they go to work, this boss is mean. How do they change that? How do you get out of this power of influence of this individual? You exit.
You don't have any other alternatives. It is easy for Dr. Abe to say exit. What are the alternatives? You go to human resources, and you address it. There are grievances and laws. There are labor laws that will allow you to have an environment that is healthy and out of any hostile behavior. If this individual is doing this to you at this micro level, you can address it. The way you exit anybody's influence and you take away their power is you exit their sphere and environment.
The way you exit anybody's influence is, and you take away their power, you exit their fear, their environment.
When we tell our medical leaders, “People think you are the most precious one because you are leading with compassion and empathy.” You can't be that because when you reach that level, people are going to fight you. Your position is to change the status quo from the I to the we. You expect people to say, “That is okay with us.” You will be aware and be strong, self-develop, and become a millionaire because you need to fight a fight that is equal when you reach that level. Have the best education. You become the best you can become for one purpose, serving others.
Tell me about your conference coming up at the end of the summer of 2023.
On October 8th, 2023, we are celebrating the legend, Peter Drucker. We are going to talk about his legacy. Peter Drucker, for those who don't know, is a management guru. He put a lot of theories out there. He is considered the author of a lot of the concepts of management. In 1971, he established the first executive program in the nation. He established that at the Claremont Graduate University. That was the first MBA program. After this, every school in the university established that. The nice thing about this is the University President, Len Jessup, President of Claremont Graduate University, is going to come to the symposium and tell us what happened in those 50 years.
Is it all day? Is it eight hours?
It is only two hours.
Is it a public event?
It is going to be virtual. I do those every year. Let me tell you who else is at this symposium. We have several panelists. We have Miss Krista Newkirk. She is the President of the University of Redlands. She is going to be part of it. This is going to talk about education. We have David Ulrich. He is the guru and leader in human resources. He is considered the father of human resources. We have Mr. Bruce Rosenstein. He is a Managing Editor of Leader to Leader. We have Karen. She is a student of Peter Drucker. At the same time, she is a researcher in her own right at this time. It is going to be impressive.
How do people reach you if they would like to follow you or reach out to you because they are interested in this model?
DrAbeKhoureis.com is my brand. I want to mention a few things that come out of compassionate leadership. We don't advise to compete. We say collaborate. Collaboration is real diversity. When you employ compassionate leadership, you remove the inclusion of inclusion. You put real inclusion, engagement, understanding, and improving performance, which we talked about customer satisfaction, no stress, no anxiety, and social responsibility. Those are some of the things that benefit from compassionate leadership.
Thank you so much, Dr. Abe. We look forward to checking more out and coming to that symposium on October 8th, 2023.
Thank you so much for having me. Continue the good work. I love what you are doing.
Dr. Abraham Khoureis - LinkedIn
About Dr. Abe Khoureis
Dr. Khoureis has a strong background and expertise in organizational leadership and management. In addition to his creation of the compassionate leadership model and its pyramid, his academic research led to the creation of the Degree Attainment Model, a factor-based model when applied properly may help professional disabled students complete their degrees in higher education.