The root cause of our social and ecological crises today is an impoverished and imbalanced way of attending to life. Put simply, our prevalent experience of life is corrupt. Rather than a natural flowing-with experience, we are often distracted, anxious, fearful, judgemental and war-torn.
At present, there is a near total disequilibrium between what modern humanity aspires to and how nature works. This disequilibrium is due to a disharmony – a debasement, fragmentation and consumerisation – of our embodied experience of life. This spawns an underlying corruption deep inside the individual and collective psyche, creating anxiety, fear and insecurity. This fear drives a desire to grasp, to fix, assert, control, achieve. We then go about achieving and fixing things from this imbalanced disharmonious way – exacerbating the very problems we seek to solve.
Without attending to this imbalance within side our own selves, and in our systems, we miss-the-point of life, become purposeless, out-of-synch with our true nature, cut adrift and rudderless, tossed this-way-and-that by ego-fickle desires, wants and mores, ‘fixing’ and ‘fighting’ at the surface-level, avoiding the deeper challenge this trilemma of social, environmental and economic crises reveals = what it truly means to be human in this more-than-human world of ours.
To limit our future-vision of humanity to managing carbon and transitioning to a ‘green economy’ in order to keep our imbalanced consumerisation of life rolling hedonically onward, would be a grave error leading to further downfall for humanity and the wider fabric of life on Earth. Don’t get me wrong, climate change is clearly very important but a symptom of a deeper malaise. Try and patch up the symptom through a narrowed-focus on carbon while leaving the underlying corruption intact is not a way for the wise.
What is well within our capacity in this epochal hour is a real transformation toward future-fit life-affirming futures. But, what do terms like ‘future-fit’ and ‘regenerative business’ actually mean?
You will find definitions here on The Future-Fit Leadership Academy website written over 8 years ago by myself and future-fit business specialist Geoff Kendall. These definitions are as relevant today as back then, though now seem more mainstream, popular, perhaps even trendy. Back then (only 8 years ago – not a long time in humanity’s history) they were viewed as pretty edgy.
For the benefit of this article – see a summary of definitions here:
What do we mean by the term ‘Future Fit’?
The scientific definition of a future-fit organization is one that in no way undermines – and ideally increases – the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever.
The question I ask you to reflect on, right now, is: ‘Why would we wish for anything less?’ Surely humanity can contribute to life? Ofcourse we can, and in-so-doing we activate our purposefulness.
In practice this means:
The organization is actively working towards reaching a threshold of performance across a range of social and environmental issues. This can be quantifiable through holistic benchmarking, such as the Future Fit business benchmarking goals.
The organization’s sense of purpose, culture and leadership is aimed at becoming a regenerative business. This life-affirming strategic intent drives behaviour throughout the inner-nature (culture) and outer-nature (value propositions and stakeholder relations including interrelation with society and nature).
What do we mean by ‘regenerative business’?
Regenerative business seeks to be life-affirming by aiming beyond the preservation and restoration of our human communities and natural ecosystems – i.e. it is not simply ‘net positive’. It is about operating in ways that contribute, replenish and evolve within the evolution of life: business that is not just copying living systems logic but seeking to embody this logic, by seeking harmony within the rhythms, flows and evolutionary currents of life. Regenerative business seeks to serve life while tending toward harmony with life. This necessarily involves a shift in consciousness; and directly attends to the root problem, the corrupt in our way of attending to reality.
What do we mean by the term ‘life-affirming’?
Life-affirming is a quality: an intent, attitude and mind-set.
This mind-set can be characterized as a shift from an overly mechanistic and materialistic perspective rooted in separation/fear, toward recognition of the inter-connectedness of life. It is an awakened and embodied recognition/remembering that our selves and our organizations are living systems immersed within the living systems of society which are immersed within the living systems of our more-than-human world. Everything inter-relates with everything else, and in sensing life beyond separateness our fearful self-as-separate-and-in-competition with life eases, and a deeper self-as-participating-within life emerges.
This mind-set shift affects how we lead, manage and organize in business and beyond. And a future fit regenerative leader is anyone who is actively pursuing the development of a future-fit regenerative organization.
Sounds great in theory – but how are organizations and leaders actually embodying this in practice? Its this that I unpack in detail with frames, tools and examples in my latest book Leading by Nature.
Practical business examples are exponentially growing in number by the day. I have the real pleasure and honour to be directly assisting a wide range of different organizations across the globe on the regenerative journey – by example:
The B Corp consultancy Greenheart – who explain ‘Sustainability is no longer enough. For a meaningful transition to a future-fit economy we need more.’ With their expertise in B Corp, impact management & planetary health they help clients build businesses that are regenerative by nature. You can check out their work here.
The award-winning minimalist footwear and wellbeing brand Vivobarefoot – who say ‘Why is Vivobarefoot becoming a regenerative business? Because the status quo needs shaking up with actions that urgently revise ingrained, habitual approaches to commerce.’ You can check out their work here.
The insurance and professional service provider AXA Climate – who affirm ‘Reducing our negative impact on the planet is not enough. Our collective challenge is to switch from extractive companies to regenerative companies. To that end, we are transforming our business models, our organizations and our collective missions. And this transformation movement drives us.’ You can check out their work here.
The consultancy, footwear producer and insurance company (along with the investment bank, food retailer, design agency, fashion brand, manufacturer, creative agency, wellbeing provider, food charity, global corporation, local housing association, and many other diverse organizations I directly engage with on the regenerative journey) all share in common an authentic deeply-felt sense of the challenges and opportunities in unfolding toward becoming regenerative – to work the way nature works – not just in some theoretical way, but through practical methods enabling future-fitness, agility, entrepreneurialism and synergistic value throughout the business ecosystem, society and ecology.
Over more than a decade of coaching leaders through their process of becoming regenerative, I’ve found that vital to the rebalancing/reconnecting into living system logic is an embodied shift. This embodied felt-sense deepens our coherence and awareness of how life works. A letting-go of the ‘achiever mindset’ and a welcoming-in of the ‘regenerative-mindset’ involves a comprehension of, but also an embodied tuning-in to, living-systems.
A simple frame I offer coaching clients is the Three Levels of Learning from Living Systems
Three Levels of Learning from Living Systems
These three levels of learning from living-systems go hand-in-hand with a shift in how we perceive reality – a ‘seeing with new eyes’, which is both ontological (a shift in our being) and epistemological (a shift in our knowing). Another simple frame I use when coaching is the Three Lens which I explain in detail in my latest book Leading by Nature.
In this article I offer another simple, yet important, framing – the 5 E’s – as a way into embodying a regenerative mindset. The 5 E’s are: Essence, Energy, Emergence, Evolutionary, Enthusiasm. Each of these words have a dynamism to them, and partake in a ‘process of becoming’, a revealing, unfolding, regenerating potential essential for the leader and the organization. Let’s explore each of them through the dimensions of self (leader) and system (organization):
Self – What is our individual essential nature? Underneath all the habits, acculturations, norms, family conditioning, and personality traits, what is unique to us? It’s a powerful inquiry to ask oneself ‘Who am I, really?’ What is my reason-for-being? What are my deepest and most profound gifts and loves? Such an inward inquiry might be misconstrued as a selfish endeavour, and yet it’s through this self-inquiry that we can learn how to truly serve others in regenerative ways that nourish ourselves and others reciprocally.
‘The one who looks outside dreams, the one who looks inside awakens.’ – Carl Jung
The times we are in demand leaders who are awakening to their true nature, and unlocking their essence. The capacity to sense-in to one’s essence comes through inner attentiveness, stillness, and an embodied knowing. There are various practices I explore in Leading by Nature that help us sense-in and reveal essence. Then we can start to work with the grain of our own nature, rather than struggling against it. This is a vital step from ‘Achiever’ toward ‘Regenerative’.
System – The tap-root that deeply nourishes the regenerative business draws upon knowing the essence of the living-organization. This involves learning to cultivate the systemic-sense of when activities, projects and missions are working with (rather than against) the essential life-force of the living-organization. This, in-and-of-itself, demands a fundamental shift in being-and-knowing. It invites us to sense-in to the living-system dynamics of the living-organization. It’s not just a simple case of using nature metaphors or imagining the organization as a certain creature or aspect of nature, it’s a deeper sensing-in to how the living-organization behaves, its shadow aspects as well as its more overt behaviours, the historic journey including pivotal shifts, trauma and unconscious bias that cause habits and patterns that warp the way the living-system adapts to change.
The organizational essence is deeper than a purpose statement or mission. What’s the organization’s unique gift/service to the world in terms of how it can help manifest life-affirming futures? Why is this living-organization needed now in the world? What makes it unique from other similar product or service providers? Who are the conduits/guardians/stewards of this unique potential? How might they describe its essence, and how might they regularly come together to sense-in to the living-system? The analogy here might be one of a parent truly listening to the child, looking deep in the eyes, connecting at a soul level, rather than interacting at the everyday reactive, largely unconscious level while engaging in daily errands, getting ready for school, tidying the room, etc. All-too-often we are superficially engaging in errands and to-dos while busying ourselves in the living-organization, getting-the-job-done, but rarely consciously and authentically connecting with the organization as a living-system with its own unique potential. Otherwise we run the risk of conditioning the organization into the very mechanistic mindset we are then wanting to transform it from with our regenerative business initiatives. One of the tools I share in detail in Leading by Nature is the role ‘systemic enablers’ can play in revealing and working with the essence of the living-organization.
Self – Life is full of stillness and movement, essence and energy. Energy flows from essence in a ‘process of becoming’ through ‘emergence’ (which we explore next). This energy is the very life-force of nature. It impels the essence of each living-system to unfold.
We can learn to work with this life-force. Rather than achieving, controlling, opposing, we find coherence and connection, letting-go of what’s not serving our potential and welcoming-in authenticity to flow more fully. This is an act of surrendering which involves courage and trust in life.
The more we practice this surrendering/opening-up process, the more we become sensitized to the life-force and learn to discern when we are out-of-kilter and off-balance. Interestingly, we may find dissonance or tension arising as we shift from ‘achiever’ to ‘regenerative’ when old habits are challenged and released. Some teachings purport that dissonance or tension is a sign that something is wrong, so we ought avoid situations or experiences that trigger us or create discomfort. I have found through my leadership development work that this is far too simplistic. In fact, dissonance and tension can become the very crucibles that catalyze our deeper development, as uncomfortable as it may feel to the ego. And so developing a level of discernment is crucial in order to sense the difference between negative energy that ought be handled with due-care, and dissonance that upsets us and yet is inviting a learning-challenge for us to work-through and evolve. Cultivating the capacity to work through tensions, and become more comfortable with the uncomfortableness these tensions create is a vital part of the process of becoming a regenerative leader.
Also, energy flows between our inner and outer worlds. Outer experiences affect us inwardly, and our inner-being informs the way we perceive and experience the outer world.
‘As one changes one’s own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward oneself.’ Ghandhi
Cultivating what I call ‘bodymind coherence’ is a vital aspect of learning to work with energy in becoming regenerative. Bodymind coherence is not only about cultivating our inner being, its also about our inner-outer alignment, by sensing when our experiences and ‘ways of doing’ resonate with our sensations and ‘ways of being’. This inner-outer alignment enables energy to flow more readily, and we find accord with the life-force. Our essence can unfold more readily, and we can learn to work with the essential nature of the living-organization.
This energy provides an aliveness, an active-yet-relaxed presence and purposefulness. We are more available to our own selves (our authenticity, truth and intuition) to others (listening attentively, holding-space, and sensing-responding) and to the living-organization (deep listening, systemic-awareness, systemic enablers).
As leaders, we’ve become well-heeled in the control-manage dynamic. We can unlearn this dynamic through a developmental journey of learning-in-practice. As we unlearn, we create space for a deeper knowing inside ourselves to be heard. We start to trust our natural, inner capacities (non-rational intuitions, hunches, gut-feelings, heart perturbations) as well as our rational reasoning. It’s these natural capacities which help us sense how dynamics play out across the living-organization. This calls upon a combination of self-awareness and systemic-awareness.
In Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, he refers to the Voice of Judgement, the Voice of Cynicism, and the Voice of Fear. These three voices speak to us all the time, keeping us safe from potential danger, yet in the process they are also keeping us small and reducing our capacity to adapt and evolve. As we become more intimate with our own inner ways, we learn how to acknowledge these inner voices and the habitual patterns of reactivity they create, so they do not hijack us as much. That way, we keep ourselves receptive and sensitive to the present moment, along with challenges and tensions. We improve our ability to sense-respond rather than control-manage.
Instead of the usual judgement, cynicism and fear closing us down and keeping us safe (yet stuck) we open with vulnerability, surrendering to what presents itself to us, conscious of our inner emotions and somatic sensations. This allows for a deeper flow of energy to unfold in us that helps reveal our true nature, our essence, from which insight for emergence and deeper connection forms.
‘To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature.’ David Whyte
To work with the energy of nature is to open oneself into the dance of life, full of stillness and movement. Three tools I provide in Leading by Nature to aid this attunement to the life-force within and all around: Stillness, Surrender, Sensitivity.
This sensitivity and surrendering enhances our systemic-awareness – the capacity to sense the wider relational system we lead and operate within and its hidden ordering forces, patterns of behavior, historic conditioning, habituated responses, and energetic networks of participation, learning, and evolution. As we begin to realize that life itself is developmental (ever-learning) so too our living-organizations.
System – The living-organization thrives on relational energy affected by how people show-up and engage with each other. Complex Adaptive Systems research into the complexity of human organizations shows the importance of allowing processes of human-relating through structure and unstructured engagement: structured – meeting conventions, check-ins, feedback processes, appreciative inquiry frames, developmental coaching conversations, etc.; unstructured – office gossip, water-cooler moments, whatsapp/teams/Slack chats, etc. Systemic leadership coaching can help here. While conventional executive coaching focuses on the leader as an individual actor, systemic coaching seeks an understanding of the ever-changing relational field with its relational tensions and developmental dynamics. A couple of tools I have found particularly useful for helping the sensing-responding relational energy of the living-organization are Organizational Acupuncture and Systemic Enablers, which I explain in detail in Leading by Nature. Upon identifying and acknowledging systemic patterns, Systemic Enablers learn to discern where and in what way to engage in small systemic interventions that send positive ripples across the system—just like acupuncture pinpricks do in aligning us to our inner healing potential. We re-pattern relational stuckness into better flow, richer purposefulness, and increased outer impact. This helps the living-organization tune-in to its essence and flow with the energy of its life-force emergently amid an ever-changing business context.
Self – Emergence is the way life unfolds. As the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “It’s nature’s creative advance”. All living-systems express themselves through the self-generating, self-organizing property of emergence. Our selves as leaders and our organizations-as-living-systems are no different in the need to creatively adapt.
Rather than fearing change and struggling to survive in a dog-eat-dog world, we open up to opportunities, recognising that change and tension is what impels development and growth. This invites a deeper attitude toward oneself, others, and the living-organization in working more in harmony with inner-outer nature.
Fundamentally, this opening into the emergence of life is a process of letting-go, of surrendering in order to work with the essence-energy-emergent flow of life. In my coaching sessions I use the three dimensions of letting-go: micro, meso, and macro – which I explore in detail in Leading by Nature.
The micro letting go process is like the frontline of transformation. It’s the daily noticing and surrendering of our own reactivity so that we can deepen into life. It’s the life-learning revealed through everyday challenges. Each tension and trigger, and the resistance it creates within us, becomes the crucible for opening up to more of life, through noticing and relaxing. Each twinge of cynicism or pang of fear or defensive or aggressive reaction is in itself a useful learning for us, an insight from which to gain perspective on what is within us—our habits, wounds and shadows.
The meso level process involves the leader learning to hold space for the transformation of the organization as a living-system by releasing the control-manage tendencies driven by fear and reactivity and beginning to sense-respond more by learning to listen and allow the system to become more developmental and emergent. The leader begins to sense the dynamics of the system and reveal then heal system blockages and blind spots by nurturing regenerative ways of working that help the system become more purposeful, adult-adult, self-managing, diverse, and inclusive. Deep listening, holding space, dialogic circles of sharing, liberating structures, Systemic Enablers, non-violent communication methods, giving and receiving feedback, coaching conversations, and more, are all part of cultivating this meso level letting go process. You can find more about many of these systemic processes on my website.
The macro level process happens not daily or weekly but over many months and years. It involves a death-rebirth, a moving from the Achiever to Regenerative on the spiral of the figure eight panarchy. Adult developmental psychology shows us that as we gain greater self-awareness (facilitated through the micro level) we gain greater systemic-awareness (facilitated through the meso level) and we also gain greater worldview awareness (facilitated by the macro level). Recall Jung’s individuation process of revealing and integrating our deeper nature by coming to terms with our own inner shadows and learning to release them—shining the light of our own conscious awareness on to the darkness within, and so making the darkness light. It’s a lifetimes’ work, and yet there is a figure eight rhythm to this macro process.
Life can be seen as a tapestry of interrelated figure eight cycles continually spiraling back and forth, creating and decaying. The breakdown of one process informs the creation of another. This continual and nested unfolding of creative potential is what the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, referred to as a “bringing forth” or “poiesis” as the fundamental creative dynamic of life. As we learn to become conscious of these spirals, we engage in a bringing forth process of becoming—an unfolding self-expression of who we truly that deepens the authenticity of our interactions with the world. This tuning-in to both the outer-nature of spiraling life condition changes and the inner-nature of spiraling psychological development allows us to become more integrated, more purposeful, more able to embrace complexity, and therefore more future fit.
We now realize that the journey toward regenerative leadership is actually a letting go into how life really is, beyond the habituated and acculturated patterns, wounds, shadows and projections we all-too-often get caught-up in. This acknowledgement is an important step on the Achiever to Regenerative journey – that we need to work on our own selves in order to more truthfully serve the regenerative futures we know in our hearts are possible.
‘What is within us is within everything. Once we understand this truth, we step outside of the parameters of our individual self and come to realise the power that is within us. This shift in awareness is a very simple step that has profound consequences’ – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
System – The living-organization is in a state of constant flux, full of complex emergent processes of human relating. It is emergent by nature. These energetic relationships participate and inter-relate across the system. Small interventions in one part of the system can have great influence on other parts of the system, just as releasing stuckness through acupuncture enlivens not just the localized area that was stuck but the flow of energy throughout the whole system.
Upon learning to recognize the organization-as-a-living-system, we cultivate our capacity to navigate the emergent systemic dynamics of the living-organization while transmuting tensions into adaptation, innovation, and growth. Rather than communicating through power-control based bureaucracy we learn to work with the right rhythm of divergence-convergence for emergence. We start where we are at, with each day framed as a learning journey that invokes the growth, adaptation, and evolution in us and the living-organization as we transmute tensions through listening, noticing, reflecting, and sharing.
Emergence is propelled by tensions. Tensions create anxiety in us that stimulates and cajoles us out of the status quo and into emergence. These tensions arise between the space of divergence (diverse perspectives) and convergence (alignment around purpose and values). The sweet spot between divergence and convergence creates emergence—not too much divergence or chaos ensues and not too much convergence or rigidity forms. Living-systems thrive on this edge of chaos and order, and it’s this edge that enables adaptability and vitality across the living-organization.
The life-force of the living-organization is stimulated through the alchemy of divergence and convergence, and it is that combination of divergence and convergence that enable emergence. Because it’s the life-force of the living-organization, emergence is fast becoming the Holy Grail in L&OD.
Self – Evolution is not a chain-reaction or a blind process of random selection, buts a flow-response that sensitively and seamlessly connects all life. Everything is in continuous participation with everything else. Tensions of emergence reciprocate and interpenetrate across networks of relationality, in complex and unpredictable ways and yet there are non-sequential evolutionary dynamics at play that we can learn to work with rather than push against. To truly comprehend the participatory, inner-outer essence-energy-emergent nature of evolution is not just a head-based rational-analytic reductive-scientific activity, it’s an embodied felt-sense, a shift in our being-knowing. It’s a transformation in consciousness no less—a momentous movement of our being in the world—whereupon we let go of the personal will’s ego-orientated, achiever drive and step into the deeper purposefulness within ourselves and also within life itself found through our own inner journey, as I explore in Leading by Nature. Its what Ghandhi gestures toward when saying that as we change our nature, so the attitude of the world changes toward us.
What’s relevant here is that this deeper purposefulness we awaken within provides a less acquisitive and ego-needy “What’s in it for me?” and a more open vulnerability, sensitivity, and availability to work with the deeper purposefulness of the living-organization. Our inner truth or dharma then resonates with the purpose of the living-organization. We begin to ask.
How can I best help the organization become a truer version of itself?
Psychological energy that was consumed by the need to relentlessly achieve in order to better one’s career, status, salary, and personal ambition is now flowing into sensing what genuinely serves the organization and its purpose beyond hitting the numbers.
What is the organization here to do and be?
The more we become attuned with the systemic dynamics within the organization, the more we sense what best serves the evolutionary potential of the organization and the more we acknowledge what is holding it back from serving its purpose. An apt example comes from Buurtzorg with its active commitment to sharing its own hard-won innovations on cultivating an effective self-managing culture with competitors, because it sees the purpose of the organization to improve neighbourhood care, therefore helping competitors improve does not undermine Buurtzorg. Rather, it helps serve its purpose for system-wide impact. It’s this kind of capacity to collaborate across organizational boundaries without the fear of competitiveness and associated need for protectionism that the business world now needs for its future-fit ability to work on inter-woven systemic challenges such as the Climate Emergence, reversing nature loss, and tackling rampant social inequality. We simply can’t deal with these challenges with the same level of consciousness that created them.
System – For the organization, the evolutionary shift in focus is from profits to purpose. For sure, profit is vital for any business, yet healthy profits flow from purpose not the other way around. I like the analogy of breathing. We need to breathe to live and yet breathing is not our reason for living. The organization needs to live by generating healthy profits, yet that’s not its reason for living. As Brian Robertson, founder of the consultancy Holacracy explains, we need to learn to listen and tune into the evolutionary purpose of the organization, “The key is about separating identity and figuring out ‘what is the organization’s calling?’ Not ‘what do we want to use this organization to do, as property?’ but rather ‘what is this living system’s creative potential?’ That’s what we mean by evolutionary purpose: the deepest creative potential to bring something new to life, to contribute something energetically, valuably to the world…It’s that creative impulse or potential that we want to tune into, independent from what we want ourselves.”
Hence sensing into the systemic dynamics of the living-organization becomes a vital capacity. The role of Systemic Enablers (as explored in Leading by Nature) is key here, and everyone in the organization has this latent capacity to sense-in if they so choose to cultivate it. Self-awareness-in-action and systemic-awareness-in-action is not just for leaders or Systemic Enablers, it’s for everyone to embrace in helping the organization become more alive, more adaptive to change, more future-fit.
“We are all natural sensors; we are gifted to notice when something isn’t working as well as it could or when a new opportunity opens up. With self-management, everybody can be a sensor and initiate changes—just as in a living organism every cell senses its environment and can alert the organism to needed change. We cannot stop sensing. Sensing happens everywhere, all the time, but in traditional organizations, the information often gets filtered out…In a self-managing organization, change can come from any person who senses that change is needed. This is how nature has worked for millions of years. Innovation doesn’t happen centrally, according to plan, but at the edges, all the time, when some organism senses a change in the environment and experiments to find an appropriate response.” Frederic Laloux
As well as receptively listening to what wants to emerge while tuning-in to the underlying evolutionary purpose of the living-organization, we can also proactively scan the future horizon. In Leading by Nature, I explore a comprehensive methodology that includes foresight, back-casting, scenario-planning, system mapping, stakeholder interviews, and other tools for Systemic Innovation by identifying emerging trends that resonate with the evolutionary purpose of the organization. This combined capacity of anticipating the future horizon a few years hence while being ever-receptive to the emerging future right before us helps ensure evolutionary fitness—future-fitness
This final one of the 5 E’s is quite different from the previous 4 in that it describes the deep inner-outer dynamism flowing through the whole process of becoming a regenerative leader. The other 4 E’s all feed into each other: sensing-in to essence, cultivating coherence and flowing with energy, working with emergence, tuning-in to evolutionary fitness. Flowing through all of this is the soulful energetic attentiveness of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm works with the 4 Regenerative Leadership Virtues of Balance, Patience, Courage & Purposefulness which I explore in detail in Leading by Nature.
To truly understand the inner-outer potency of enthusiasm, I’d like to draw upon the ancient Greek meaning of ‘enthusiasmos’ – a quality of consciousness whereupon we open our awareness to the subtle energies flowing within nature. For this shift in consciousness, the ego-self permeates its boundaries of self-as-separate-from-and-in-competition-with life into self-as-participating-within life.
This activation of our super-nature happens by alchemizing different ways of knowing within ourselves, which allow us to connect more deeply to the Field where Nature’s Wisdom resides. From this integral awareness we sense into essence-energy so as to flow in a more attuned emergent-evolutionary way.
This shift in attentiveness is an enthusiasm for being alive, and requires cultivating a condition of the human soul – the spiritual aspect of the journey of becoming a regenerative leader – whereupon we become receptive to Nature’s Wisdom – a transpersonal experience. For animist cultures from which we all originate, and too for today’s shamanic cultures, this is to live more deeply at the archetypal level, open to transpersonal spirit energies that infuse nature. This transpersonal openness helps permeate ego-boundaries so the illusion of separateness that haunts modern humanity’s malaise is healed through a deep knowing of human-nature-spirit – an embodied experience within the psyche and soul.
Enthusiasm is a discipline; an embodied undertaking to be activated each and every day. It draws upon a deep trust in life as a quintessential learning experience that can be co-created with our intentional attentiveness. This embodied way of attending to life informs our coherence, mindset, actions and moral rectitude, in seeking to flow the way life flows.
‘Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.’ Lao Tzu
Enthusiasm is not a ‘new age’ positive psychology technique, nor is it a creed or moral code, but a way of becoming that embraces each day as a learning journey, each day as a portal into deepening our flow with life. Through this intentional attentiveness we create a sacred space-time – a temenos, a deep sense of place and purpose – through which regenerative potential of essence-energy-emergence-evolutionary dynamics unfold harmonizing metaphysical forces emanating from the spirit-realm of nature with the world of form; uniting one’s own nature with the field of nature – this harmonizing effect lies at the heart or regeneration. The ancient Egyptians – for whom regeneration was a key principle – knew how vitally important this inner-outer harmonizing effect is to the regenerative life.
Cultivating this depth of enthusiasm across the living-organization’s culture is no mean feat, yet it allows for a future-fitness fostering developmental, learning, growth-mindsets for high-performing purposeful teams with a depth of connection into what really matters – authenticity and wholeness. This is what Teal/Evolutionary cultures seek to nurture as an important aspect of the journey toward regenerative business where both the inner-nature (culture) and outer-nature (value propositions) seek life-affirming futures.
Giles Hutchins is a pioneering practitioner and senior adviser at the fore-front of the [r]evolution in organizational and leadership consciousness and developmental approaches that enhance personal, organizational and systemic agility and vitality. He is author and co-author of several leadership and organizational development papers, and the books The Nature of Business (2012), The Illusion of Separation (2014), Future Fit (2016), Regenerative Leadership (2019) and Leading by Nature (2022). Chair of The Future Fit Leadership Academy and Founder of Leadership Immersions, co-founder of Biomimicry for Creative Innovation and Regenerators, he runs a 60 acre leadership centre at Springwood Farm, an area of outstanding natural beauty near London, UK. Previously held corporate roles – Head of Transformation Practice for KPMG, Global Director and Head of Sustainability for Atos (150,000 employees, over 40 countries). He provides coaching at individual and organizational levels for those seeking to transform their personal and/or work lives. Giles is a keynote speaker on the future of business and regenerative leadership. He is also a Reiki Master, a certified advanced coach, holds a Diploma in Senior Leadership Development, a Masters of Science in Business Systems, is trained in advanced Integral Solonics leadership development, Spiral Dynamics, a range of consciousness-raising modalities and is a certified Harthill Leadership Development Practitioner.
“Giles Hutchins has for over a decade led the way with his championship of learning through nature. His new book Leading by Nature is a really important evolution of these ideas emerging into a philosophy of systems thinking/being – it’s bang on the money, a really important book” – Sir Tim Smit, KBE, Founder of The Eden Project
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