The new-norm in business demands a new-norm in leadership: a leadership consciousness that cultivates organizational cultures able to adapt and evolve during unceasing transformation in ways that create flourishing for all.
This involves a massive call to a life-centric OD and the capacity to model Leading By Nature where we embody, in our being, what OD has historically referred to as ‘the self as instrument of change.’
Giles Hutchins’ latest book Leading by Nature is packed full of powerful practices, tools and case studies to help leaders become future-fit regenerative leaders. See here some recent reviews of the book:
Book Review by Jean-Claude Pierre, former CEO of chemicals company Scott Bader
What a timely and crucial book Leading by Nature is! The last two years have probably been one of the greatest catalysts to let us realize that the current way of affairs is doom to fail in so many respects. Most leaders and companies have started to initiate major shifts to adapt and thrive. But is it always done with the appropriate level of consciousness to really ensure the future fitness of their organizations?
In this very rich book, Giles Hutchins explore with research-based concepts, practical tools and real-life implementations, what it takes to become “natural sensors” of our surroundings, and for those at the helm of organizations, or having this desire, to help them become “Chief Ecosystem Officers”.
As Giles highlights, this transformative journey of becoming a regenerative leader, more able to apprehend constructively dissonances and tensions as crucibles for learning, able to define when and how to best listen or act while being in line with one’s deeper nature is not easy. Many of us sense this need in today’s world but lack the how to. And hence the importance of this book.
This book is the first one I’ve come across to-date that has so many practical and proven methods to help leaders operate more authentically, and as Giles says: “it is worth it”, not only for individuals to help them unfold their true nature and be more purposeful, but also for organization to better perform now and in the future. As Giles mentions, “Global research shows that the shareholder returns of living-organizations consistently outperform their mechanistic counterparts, especially through volatile times”.
And as volatile times are the new norm for many years to come, better be well equipped. This book is thoroughly recommended.
Book review by Fellow of Cambridge University’s Sustainable Leadership Program and Global Sustainability Director of A T Kearney, Oliver Dudok van Heel:
Expectations were high given Giles’ excellent earlier work, and it did not disappoint.
Giles’ unique contribution to the sustainability agenda is his ability to bring together a range of disciplines and apply them to transforming organisations towards a more sustainable journey. Quantum science is woven together with spiral dynamics, organisational behaviour and human psychology to define a compelling change paradigm.
This is not accidental and Giles’ ability to understand systems and what is required to shift them is compelling. Emotional, somatic, rational and intuitive approaches to understanding the world are woven together, reminiscent of Ken Wilbur’s AQAL philosophy.
All is grounded on a great clarity of thought around what is needed for genuine change, at the level of organisations and the systems these organisations operate in.
And while Leading by Nature is about organisational change, it is really targeted at those individuals who have the passion to make this change happen: Leaders, whether by title, or because of a sense of personal responsibility compels them to become changemakers.
It is a book that can take each of us on a personal journey of transformation to equip us to become part of the external transformation.
Book review by Founding Partner of Gameshift and former Director at Ashridge Hult International Business School, Dr Chris Nichols:
We’ve probably all noticed what Giles calls the “rising zeitgeist around regeneration”. Regenerative leadership, and regenerative organisations, are a movement whose time seems to have arrived. I personally couldn’t be more delighted. This is a shift the world needs, and Giles has written a valuable, authoritative book to guide people on that shift. Giles has done a brilliant job, and I recommend the book very highly to everyone in my network.
It’s easy to be cynical about books that look like they might be riding the wave of a fad – and this one could be taken that way – except I know for a fact it isn’t. I’ve known Giles for a long time, since his Big 4 consulting days, and since he quit to work on his first book many years back. I remember long walks on Dartmoor with Giles talking over deep ecology, organisational theory and the juicy edges of new thinking. This was at a time when taking this work into the mainstream of organisational life felt far off indeed. I know that Giles is not riding a fad. Giles has done the work and carries this insight in his bones. When you approach this book, you can approach it with the confidence of knowing that this author has really walked this path, and has walked it with others in your shoes. It’s the real deal.
Giles describes this regenerative approach as “completely natural and radically different”. Yes, it is. And it’s an idea whose time has come. This book is well worth your time.
Book review by regenerative practitioner and author Sarah Spencer:
To be future-fit, every organisation will need to embrace the way of thinking and acting outlined in this book. Leading by Nature is comprehensive in its approach, with theory, stages of the regenerative journey, and references to specific tools that Giles recommends when working with leaders and teams. It’s a must-have manual for any leader seeking the next phase on their journey of self and organisational development.
The book demonstrates how a regenerative, nature-inspired transition will require both the inner and outer natures of leaders and their teams to be addressed. Leadership consciousness must shift from achiever to regenerative. Case studies share where leaders are breaking new ground, transforming their organisations for people, planet and purpose will give confidence to any leader considering embarking on this journey.
Giles does not shy away from the enormity of the task, that there will be no shortcuts in this transition, and that leaders must step into the discomfort that embracing complexity brings, becoming facilitators and enablers of teams who may or may not want more autonomy, and creating the conditions conducive to new and exciting evolutions, be that in products, services or ways of working.
Nature shows us that tensions must occur (and even be encouraged) to ensure emergence, adaptability and evolution. For the leader that may seem difficult to manage, but Giles shares insights and tools for allowing that to happen.
Bringing us back to nature, he states “The other side of all this complexity is that beautiful simplicity. Let’s work the way life works!”. Indeed we must trust that this process works because it has served us for 3.8billion years of life so far.
Accepting a worldview shift from machine to living-systems will be difficult, but the rewards are huge. Just one springs to mind – the shift from parent-child relationship of ‘boss/employee’ to parent-parent relationship in the living-systems organisation. Just imagine the transformation if every employee were empowered as part of a decentralised and autonomous, multi-disciplinary team. Imagine the potential that would be unleashed.
Unlike some authors in the regenerative sphere, Giles keeps the references to living systems alive in every stage of the book, allowing reader to see their importance and relevance. It is this constant reference to living systems that will ensure that an organisation succeeds on their journey even when times are difficult.
I highly recommend this to anyone – leader or team-member who sees that the current business systems aren’t working, either for people or for the other living beings we share our planet with, and wants to know what they can do about it.
Book review by regenerative leadership coach Katherine Long:
Reviewing Giles Hutchins latest book reminds me of the time we first met, now nearly a decade ago at an event he was running at Ashridge Hult International Business School on the ‘Deep Ecology of Business’ that coincided with a conference that I was attending. I booked myself to stay an extra day – what was not to love about that session title!!
Since then, we’ve stayed in touch and it’s been a real joy to have this friendship and occasionally co-facilitate nature immersions together for leaders and practitioners, and I celebrate the increasing global reach and impact that Giles is having – bringing regenerative practice and living systems thinking to a world that so desperately needs it.
His latest book ‘Leading by Nature’ introduces a new audience to leadership development theory in ways which are practical and relatable whilst inviting the reader into a much more intimate relationship to self, work, and regenerative possibility.
Some great case studies and tools illustrate how achievable the regenerative pathway can be over time and with vision and commitment, and it’s been a huge privilege to be involved in collaborating with Giles in one of them, Vivobarefoot where I’ve been helping develop a circle of internal Livebarefoot coaches (big shout out to them and all the great work they are doing to help embed regenerative principles in everyday conversations, and to Damian Peat for his holding and nurturing of this expanding group!).
I hope Leading by Nature gets into the hands of many business leaders – especially those who are wondering if there could be a different, more humane and life-affirming way – there certainly is.
“True to form, this latest book of Giles’ is an ambitious, encyclopaedic synthesis of many sources of wisdom, all grounded in Giles’ own experience coaching and consulting with executives. Yet just as characteristic, it is a beautifully accessible book, easy to read and hard to put down. It is my fervent hope that many will read it, take its message to heart, and put its guidance into action.”– Michelle Holliday, Principal Consultant of Cambium Consulting & author of The Age of Thriveability
“Giles has given us yet another timely gift – a detailed and superbly practical guide to the leadership consciousness and practices we so badly need in business, government, education and society at large today. It’s rare to find a ‘teacher of teachers’ that explains and illustrates all aspects of the journey with the clarity and down-to-earth accessibility of this book!” – Dimitar Vlahov, Advisory Board Member of Sustainable Brands & Integrate
You can also listen to the podcast series where Giles Hutchins interviews CEOs of pioneering organizations pushing the envelope toward life-affirming regenerative business, here at Leading by Nature.
“Leading by Nature is a powerful book for people who are serious about regenerative change” – Pamela Mang, co-founder of Regenesis Institute & co-author of Regenerative Development and Design
“Giles’s new book Leading by Nature is bang on the money, a really important book.” – Sir Tim Smit, KBE, Founder of The Eden Project
Author of four previous books, Giles Hutchins, draws upon over 25 years experience in leadership and organizational development, and over a decade executive leadership coaching and regenerative leadership practice to apply a living-systems approach to next-stage future-fit business. His latest book Leading by Nature is a must-read for leaders interested in leading thriving organizations amid the increasingly volatile times ahead.
Leading by Nature book, podcast and free-to-download tools can be found here.
A short video about Giles’s regenerative leadership immersions: