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Embodying Teal for Real – Part 3

July 17, 2017

In the first of this series of Embodying Teal for Real articles, we explored the importance of love rather than fear underpinning our thoughts, words and deeds, and also identified the importance of 1) self-awareness and 2) self-inquiry as we take small steps of love on our journey of embodying Teal.

Embodying Teal for Real – Part 2 explored self-awareness and self-inquiry. This Part 3 provides some tips for helping with self-awareness and self-inquiry as we go about our daily business.


  • Somatic awareness – Our ‘soma’ is our body. The more we can be aware of the feelings within our body, of how we are standing or sitting, of our posture and any held constrictions or tensions, the more we bring our awareness into the body and out of the ego-chattering head. This provides two things simultaneously:
    1. It informs us of the quality of our ‘being’ at any given moment and so helps us be more attentive to being-within-the-doing
    2. It helps us become more present, more enlivened, as we sense into body sensations, and enhance self-awareness in being responsive rather than reactive to the situation unfolding around and within us.


  • Breathing – Noticing our breathing, the quality and pace of breathing, is a great way to bring awareness back into the present moment even in the midst of a tense situation. This subtle shift allows our perceptual horizon and conscious awareness to widen in the heat of the happening. For instance, we can imagine the swirling spirally flow of air as it comes up through our nostrils and also as it swirls and flows down out of our nostrils again. The richer our imagination is in embracing the sensation and rhythm of breathing, the better. The more we practice this, the more we affirm that far from this body-awareness being a distraction, it actually enhances quality of relationality and presence.


We can also sense how deep our breathing is. Are we breathing deeply from the belly area, can we sense the belly and lower chest enlarging and contracting while breathing, or are we breathing more from the upper part of our lungs and upper rib cage? Deeper belly breathing not only improves oxygenation (improving attentiveness and ability to presence) but it also helps us de-stress, if only for a moment. So, we can create a mini-window for self-awareness through our breathing.


If we wish, we can go further in this exercise by miming (or vocalising, if the situation allows) the vowel sound AH on the outbreath. This can be done in a subtle way not noticeable to others. It is a very simple mantra that can be undertaken silently, with immediate benefit to the quality of attention and the coherence of brain waves.


  • Tongue on roof of mouth – simply placing the tongue gently on the roof of the mouth while listening to someone does two things simultaneously:


  1. a) moving the tongue on the roof allows awareness of the sensations, which helps presence us with body-awareness while easing our ego-grasping intensity of the moment and b) it provides a preventative measure to our mouths opening and blurting out a reactive or impatient response or excited interruption, and so invites in spaciousness for deeper listening and attentiveness, rather than a hurried half-baked or overly-emotive reaction.


  • Heart and gut awareness – The more we enhance our somatic awareness, the more able we shall be to sense feelings, sensations and constrictions within heart and gut areas. Pioneering neurobiology now confirms what mystics have known for millennia, that the heart and gut are powerful organs of perception directly involved in sensing-and-responding to the environment, and hard-wired to the brain. By sensing in to heart and gut during meetings or conversations, we allow access to more natural intelligence, and also can sense into any feelings before they provoke ego-reactions or unconscious bias reactions. This is a way to embrace each conversation as a continuous leaning into self-inquiry.


  • Inquiring, questioning, listening – The art of effective dialogue is learning how to create a space for co-creative sharing. An important step in that direction is learning to listen effectively – not just to what is being said, but to all the body language of the other and also to our own body language and feelings germinating. To really open beyond our reactions and judgments, to be fully present for the other – this is an art, and like any art, the key is in practice, practice, practice.


The way we question and inquire can encourage the other to open up and share more, rather than closing them down, or trying to get them to agree to our view or position. This is a shift from an essentially ego-dominated conservation to a more soulful dance. This kind of questioning and listening can also help us slow down the urge to react, while paying attention to our projections and habituations before they take hold. The art with practice becomes mastery, with each conversation helping us practice, and so cultivate this mastery. Difficult situations (whether they be with a close family member of work colleague) can then be seen for the fruits of learning they may offer if we choose to see.


  • Grounding – Often amid the busyness and stress of the day we become ‘ungrounded’ – not only off-centre, but not adequately ‘connected’ to the ground below us. Through the simple practice of bringing awareness into our legs, ankles, and feet and then sensing the ground beneath our feet, we allow our awareness to consciously ‘re-connect’ with the ground below, even when high up in a building.


We can deepen this sense of grounding by imagining roots growing out of the soles of our feet into the floor below and then through the structure of the building and its foundations, these roots radiate deep into the soil and Earth. This practice of enhancing awareness of connection with the ground has a noticeable effect, and hand-in-hand with enhancing our body-awareness in general, it stabilises us and helps us move out of reactivity and more into a centred responsiveness.


It is also good to take shoes off every so often – as the situation allows – and connect with the ground. Ideally, this would be placing feet (with or without socks) on the ground outside of the office or working environment at least once or twice a day. But we might not always be able to – or wish to – do this. Bringing awareness into the feet and imagining roots connecting into the ground is something anyone can do while sitting in a meeting or at a desk without needing to do anything that feels uncomfortable to do.


Neuroscience shows that lots of small practices every day are the best way to change neural pathways and habits. Short bursts of ‘centring’ – whether it be noticing posture or focusing on breath or sensing into the heart and gut or sensing the ground beneath us – say twenty times a day, a couple of seconds each time, will form the backbone of self-mastery.


These small steps transform ourselves, and in turn, transform our environment.

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

Giles Hutchins is a thought leader and adviser on the future of business; his latest book Future Fit can be found on Amazon, see a short video about it here; he blogs at and is Chairman of The Future Fit Leadership Academy




Meditations on A Mind-set Shift from Scarcity to Abundance

July 11, 2017

‘Plant seeds of happiness, hope and success and love; it will all come back to you in abundance.  This is the law of nature.’ Steve Maraboli, behavioural scientist

‘What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.’ The Buddha

‘We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.’  Mother Teresa


There are several well-respected consciousness-based leadership and organisational development models that all point to a major transformation from one tier or level of consciousness to another: a shift in our attention, in our way-of-being-in-the-world. This is a shift from an essentially ego-centric consciousness rooted in fear, separation, scarcity, power-over and control to a soul-centric consciousness rooted in love, connectedness, abundance, power-with, synchronicity and emergence.

In order to become effective and authentic leaders in our future-fit organisations, we must learn how best to embrace this fundamental shift in consciousness.

The root word of ‘leadership’ is ‘leith’ which means to cross the threshold, to let go of old ways, mind-sets and logic in order to embrace the new. Every one of us has the ability to become leaders in myriad ways: managers and midwives, counsellors and CEOs, activists and administrators, entrepreneurs and engineers – the times we live in ask us to ‘know thy self’ so as to reach beyond an ego-centric self-maximising logic into a way that serves life-affirming futures.

With the right attitude and transformational path ahead of us, we can thrive in these volatile times. It is only our habitual ways of thinking and perceiving that hold us back. As leaders in these transformational times, we can-and-must learn to better provide the soul nourishment, head-space and catalytic sparks to activate this shift towards a more soul-centric mind-set through the relationships we influence.

Core to manifesting a life-affirming way of being in the world is a shift in mind-set from scarcity to abundance.  This shift has been articulated elsewhere (for instance, many of us will recall Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People pointing to the importance of a shift in mind-set from scarcity to abundance, and organisational approaches such as Laloux’s Teal/Evolutionary, Barrett’s full-spectrum consciousness, Scharmer’s ego to eco-consciousness, Torbert’s action logics, and Eisenstein’s approach to inter-being, all explain this essential shift). By example, I have previously explored techniques Embodying Teal for Real and the importance of our self-awareness during our search for soulfulness.

This paper explores how we can best encourage a shift in ourselves from scarcity being/thinking to abundance being/thinking.

I say ‘being/thinking’ because first-and-foremost this shift in scarcity to abundance is a shift in our way of being, a shift in our attentiveness, a shift in our dynamic, in how we open ourselves up internally to more of our authentic humanity within us, and also externally in terms of how we relate to others.

This inner-outer attunement relates with living-systems theory and the concept of ‘supercoherence’ (as explored by the scientist Ervin Laszlo and others).

All living systems – from cells, to our bodies, to our organisations, to Gaia – seek coherence. It is inherent within life. Coherence happens when all the inter-related aspects of a living system (or organisation) are aligned with all the other aspects, acting as an integral and purposeful living system.

Read more…

Reviewing The Robinson’s new book Customer Experiences with Soul, by Giles Hutchins

July 8, 2017


A friend of mine Simon Robinson and his wife Maria Moraes Robinson from Brazil have recently published their second book, a sequel after their first book Holonomics.

I first met Simon at Schumacher College some years ago while he was a Masters student and I was co-facilitating a course on Business Inspired By Nature. We met in the dining room as I recall and had a flowing conversation over lunch about the challenges and opportunities that lie before us regarding the need for a transition in consciousness.  Back then (over six years ago) Simon was actively inquiring in to this necessary shift in consciousness required in business, and this inquiry has dove-tailed with Maria’s work, his wife.  What a pair they are, championing at the front-line of helping business tend towards harmony with life.

Over the subsequent years, we have shared not just our working concepts but also our connections and networks. It has been a real pleasure to see Simon’s work deepen and mature. I reference his and Maria’s work in my last two books as it is very much in the spirit of my own explorations – I feel a kindred soulful synergy through their work.  It’s an honour to have been asked first to review Holonomics and now their latest book: Customer Experiences with Soul: A New Era in Design.

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Alchemic Times – seeing beyond the illusion of separation

July 4, 2017


There’s an old saying ‘may you live in interesting times’. When someone said that to you it was seen as both a blessing and curse, because to live in interesting times means to deal with danger and opportunity, to embrace simultaneous breakdown and breakthrough.  Which is exactly what this trilemma of social, economic and environmental crises is asking, is demanding, of us.

Our tried-and-tested modes and methods, our constructs and constrictions, the very habituations and acculturations we have become so inured in, are melting amid the alchemic heat of the moment.  This metamorphic moment is now. This is humanity’s hour of reckoning.  Each of us is being called to act as conscious conspirators, catalysts in this chemistry.

The ancient Greeks referred to such a time as Kairos, a supreme moment which is not adequately acted upon may pass us by.

The good news is, myriad disciplines at the forefront of Western science – such as quantum physics, facilitation ecology, depth psychology and neurobiology – are discovering with increasingly sensitive instruments and sophisticated experiments the innate inter-relationality of life, the weave-and-weft of the world, the intricate sacredness of nature. The hand of science is reaching out to shake the hand of spirituality once again.

This of course is not new. This discovery of inter-relationality is as fresh as it is ancient. The timeless prophets, philosophers, poets, seers and shaman throughout the ages have long understood this innate interconnectedness of life.

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How to Embody Teal for Real – Part 2

June 29, 2017

In Embodying Teal for Real – Part 1, we explored the importance of love rather than fear underpinning our thoughts, words, and deeds, and also identified the importance of 1) self-awareness and 2) self-inquiry, as we take small steps of love on our journey of embodying Teal. In this article we will take a deeper look at self-awareness and self-inquiry, and describe how these practices of embodying Teal are especially suited for leaders developing from Green to Teal-consciousness.

The quality of ‘beingness’ resulting from the practices below is not new; it’s as fresh as it is ancient. Just as the ancient Greeks and Egyptians had the words ‘Know Thy Self’ over the doorways of their temples, so we find that embodying self-awareness and self-inquiry is the life-blood of today’s Teal organisations.

The reality of our human condition is that in a fast-paced working environment, we react to situations with well-trodden habit-paths. The more our behaviours are ingrained, the more difficult they are to acknowledge and transform. While these well-trodden behavioural paths might give a certain security and consistency in our persona, they can undermine our personal development. They can also undermine our relations, as our defensiveness, judgemental perspective, impatience, and reactivity actually undermine the potential for synergy that could result from relational tensions in our day-to-day life.

Hence, personal development is intimately entwined with organisational and societal development. And, to a large extent, our context influences and affects our own ‘beingness’. For instance, having just returned from a week of non-stop travel, including flights, airport hotels, speaking at conferences, running workshops and sleeping badly in stuffy and noisy hotel rooms, it is easy to revert to well-trodden habits or reactive behaviours of frustration at train delays or long queues. So the ‘small steps with great love’ become more challenging, as beingness becomes more uncentered.

Hence, the first step in mastery is ‘self-awareness’

This means that actually taking notice of when we are getting frustrated, impatient, tense, reactive, distracted, or overly-excited is the all-important first step. We take notice, pause, sense into these feelings arising, and observe them.

Without this first step of noticing the feeling emerging, we are but lost in the reaction—trapped, enslaved by our own personas. Our reactions manifest in our outer behaviour or we merely suppress these reactions while providing an artificial façade of acceptability. As a result, the situation unfolds in a manner that is no longer coming from love, but rather from control, fear, frustration, impatience, or inauthenticity, and some variant of passive/aggressive emotional reactivity. This reaction pollutes our environment in varying degrees, rather than enhancing it; we dance out-of-tune with life. Synchronistic pathways dissipate; we grasp and grab rather than flow-into and participate-with. We become life-denying rather than life-affirming.

Yet, this slip-up is learning in itself, if we have the self-awareness to notice our reaction and the effect it has on our environment. Perhaps we might pause and reflect, sensing into what happened and the feelings that welled up. This can provide the insight for real transformative learning to take place.

In this regard, each day and each tension provides our learning forum for embodying Teal.

To summarise, self-awareness is a vital tool; we cultivate this tool by regularly sensing into how we are feeling in our body, and gaining insight—rather than judgment—on the feelings. We notice and sense into any feelings of tiredness, distraction, aggravation, fear, impatience, judgment, frustration, or anger, within our body.

The more we’re able to sense coming from a place of loving responsiveness, the more we can learn to notice the difference from when we are being reactive rather than responsive. The more we practice sensing into the body, the more our self-awareness enhances.

A tip here is not to try to suppress feelings of impatience, constriction or frustration, but rather open up awareness into them, noticing and embracing them, like a friend. This way, the feeling will not subsume us into the reactive behaviour it provokes (no matter how mild it seems on the outside, e.g. interrupting someone hastily, or projecting our own fears or needs for acceptance on to the other person, snapping at someone with a barbed comment, positioning ourselves with an egotistical edge, etc.).

Loving self-awareness shows the way we get trapped by our fears, desires, ego-whims, and angers, then we are able to make conscious steps to learn and develop.

Then comes the second step – ‘self-inquiry’

Cultivating self-awareness by learning to pause, sense-in, feel, and reflect throughout the daily busyness, we start to notice our habitual reactions, and our patterns of conditioned behaviours.

Some of these will have been cultivated through past experience of life, perhaps for good reason to start with, for example, to defend and stabilise us during harrowing times at school or at home as a child, or as we embarked on our first career steps. All of these habitual reactions will contain a blend of fear and love within them, for example, a fear of being alienated or thought of as ‘a loser’ is blended with a need to be loved and accepted.

Spending time at the end of each day—say ten minutes in bed before sleep, or ten minutes on the journey back from work—we can start to get used to self-inquiring into difficult interactions and tense moments that arose

The more relaxing and natural the space for this self-inquiry the better, as then we can be more gentle, nurturing, and open with ourselves, as we inquire deeply into the feelings of the day and what lies beneath these reactions. Nature has been proven to relax body and mind, enhance inter-hemispheric brain integration as well as head-heart-gut coherence, so a walk in Nature can aid reflecting and self-inquiring.

Remember, this is about love: learning to love ourselves, foibles and all. As we inquire, it’s best to hold an attitude of gentleness and openness as we sense into the tensions, emotions, and trials we have experienced.

In this way, we learn to become gentle and open not just with ourselves but also in how we perceive others and their challenges. We recognise that we all are struggling with fears, concerns, and frustrations, each in our own way, whether consciously or unconsciously.  We are all learning to love.

This practice of reviewing the day just gone is in-and-of-itself very powerful. It helps us practice self-awareness. While we are scanning through the day’s events from morning to evening, we might sense in our body when certain relational exchanges and situations create constrictions and emotions.

We can then inquire into the feeling, what is triggering it, and sense when we are seeking to judge or blame the other or the outer situation and then sense deeper into the feeling beyond blame with loving insight. Here in this deeper self-inquiry are golden nuggets that provide insight about our own learning, about our habituations, and deep-seated fears. Within our base-emotions, we can reveal gold, to help cultivate compassion and wisdom.

Self-awareness and self-inquiry enable greater self-agency and responsibility, enhanced relational authenticity, and deeper embodiment of life-affirming service and purpose. This transforms ourselves, our relationships, our team dynamics, our organisations, and the world; it is this that our humanity needs now more than ever.

How does this love-based beingness help Green-stage leaders and organisations reach beyond into Teal?

At the organisational and personal levels, within the Spiral Dynamics framework Green is characterised by empowering self and others through ways of relating, and a widening of perceptual horizon from the narrow Orange focus on specific goals such as task-outputs, profit and shareholder value. This comes with an increasing recognition of the value and impact our activities and relationships have not just within our immediate sphere but also through the wider eco-system of inter-relations (human and more-than-human). Cultivating a more empowering, equalitarian, and stakeholder-value-based culture is central to Green, moving beyond the narrow goal-oriented focus of Orange.

Teal moves beyond Green by recognising the importance of the individual’s self-realisation (or ‘individuation’ to use Carl Jung’s phrase).

Wholeness of the individual and the community through more soulful, purposeful, compassionate, and wise relations with self-other-world is all-important here. Hence, a connection with soul or ‘higher Self’ comes hand-in-hand with the ‘taming of the ego’, along with a strong resonance between the individual’s purpose and the organisation’s purpose. This allows for a coherence within the organisation’s living-field to cultivate so that the burdensome hierarchic structures, rules, and values charters of the Green stage can be let-go of.

A more soulful wisdom emerges in Teal-consciousness, within individuals and through their relationships. People can viscerally sense when an interaction is out-of-kilter. This dissonance is not then ‘judged’, but seen as an opportunity to learn, to take responsibility for our own learning journey while also contributing to collective learning.  We sense into the synchronicities as we learn to follow the flow of life, the ‘Way of the Tao’.

The metaphor for the Green organisation is ‘family’, and the metaphor for the Teal organisation is ‘living system’. A key characteristic of the living organisation is ‘emergence’. Emergence spawns from the ‘divergence’ of empowering self-organising ways of working balanced with the ‘convergence’ of an evolutionary sense of purpose that seeks to serve life. What enables this to work in practice is a spirit of love, openness, authenticity, and wisdom. Through love, our very being transforms the world around us.  It is here that the living organisation becomes regenerative; it tends towards harmony with Life.

It is in this shift from Tier One consciousness (including Orange and Green) into Tier Two consciousness of Teal, that we open up more deeply to our true nature as human beings within an innately interconnected more-than-human world. Whereupon we realise that

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, mystic

Part Three of this series on Embodying Teal for Real will explore some tips to help us walk this path of love.

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

Giles Hutchins is a thought-leader and adviser on the future of business. His latest book, Future Fit, can be found on Amazon; see a short video about it here. He is Chairman of The Future Fit Leadership Academy

Meditations on Metamorphosis, Soul & Spirit – Finding our True Nature & Letting it Flow

June 19, 2017

‘There is a soul force in the Universe, which if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results.’   Mahatma Ghandi, activist

The seat of the soul is there where the inner and the outer worlds meet’ Novalis, poet

‘The true ground of all being is the infinite, intangible, spirit that infuses all living beings’  David Bohm, physicist

‘This divine ground is within and all around us. We need to create a sanctuary within ourselves to listen to its guidance’  Anne Baring, psychologist

Beyond our day-to-day world, beyond our usual human experience, lies a vast and fathomless world. Sometimes we call this the Tao, sometimes Source, sometimes Consciousness. But, whatever we call it, we find it wise, powerful, deeply intelligent, compassionate, and loving. The spiritual journey is about gaining access to this vast world, harking to it and finding it, and about what it entails in our everyday life.’                Professor Brian Arthur, Stanford scientist and Santa Fe Institute Founder

The Great Spirit, Tao, or That Which Cannot Be Named, flows within and all about us. We each have souls, intelligent apertures that open up our psyche to this Spirit pervading reality.

Within our psyche lies the ego, which orientates and polarises much of our daily awareness.

Sigmund Freud defined the ego as a ‘reality function’ in that it brings our awareness into the sharper space-time dimension from the more intangible, fluid depths of the largely unconscious imaginal realms, where our soul, as the source of our essence, resides.

Carl Jung refers to this soul as the Self, the unconscious depths that the ego brings to light in our everyday consciousness as it seeks to comprehend our deeper perturbations,  intuitions, imaginal dream states, reveries, mythopoetic images, emotional sensations, heart and gut knowing’s and other somatic and soulful sensations. And yet the ego often seeks to grasp, control, manipulate, repress or split-off from these unconscious depths within us due to a combination of fearing historic wounds and insecurities, desiring certainty and security, planning for what hasn’t happened yet, and seeking conformity to cultural norms and daily routines.  We may notice how much of our daily interactions are pervaded by projections, judgements and perspectives that filter what is deemed useful or what ought to be resisted. This filtering is an important part of what makes us human, and a well-developed ego is a useful part of good leadership, and yet we need to ensure the ego is readily open to and informed by the insights and wisdom of the deeper soulful Self.

A central aspect of advanced spiritual leadership development is the cultivation of a healthy ego-soul relationship, where we learn to sense into our soulful depths and bring this insight into our everyday experience. This allows us to manifest our dharma – our right path – and become authentic leaders while realising our destiny.

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How to embody Teal for Real – Part One – Embracing business with love

June 9, 2017

Transformative times can invoke fear, a desire for control and a search for certainty and security. And yet such times can also be emancipating as they can provoke us to open-up, dig-deep and reach beyond the limiting norms of the day while pioneering into the future.


Frederic Laloux’s timely and important work around Teal gives us guidance on the style and tenor in which we can embrace the future for those of us courageous enough to break-rank and prototype the new in these times of change.


The three principles of Teal can act as guidance for us as we learn to transform ourselves and our organisations amid these choppy VUCA waters:


  1. Evolutionary purpose – what is our purpose at personal and organisational levels, and how do we best allow this sense of purpose to deepen and evolve as our context and learning-journey inevitability deepens and evolves?
  2. Authenticity and wholeness – how do we create the conditions, both inside ourselves and within our organisations, for a deeper quality of authenticity and wholeness to emerge within us and through our relationships with others?
  3. Self-management – as our relations and organisations become more purposeful and authentic, we are required to transform our command-and-control mechanisms into governance dynamics that empower and ignite rather than control and predict. How do we best embody these self-organising methods within ourselves while deepening our personal responsibility, sense of purpose and wholeness, and bringing this into our inter-personal relations and team dynamics during day-to-day tensions and emotionally charged situations?


These are challenging questions, and are the body of our learning journey towards Teal.


In my experience as a field practitioner engaging with all sorts of different shapes and sizes of organisations embarking on this ‘path beyond paths’, I often witness how easy it is to unwittingly apply the very same logic to our learning-journeys that created the very challenges we are trying to move beyond.  Einstein’s well-hackneyed insight about being unable to change systems with the same consciousness that created them is all-too-pertinent here.


In our desire to get-on with making Teal our new reality, we look for tools, frames of reference, methods and structures outside of ourselves – cultural values charters, mission statements, decision making protocols, holacratic methods, for instance.  This has its place of course, and yet there is often an overly eager tendency to find solutions to our problems ‘out there’; that with the right toolkit we can ‘fix it’.  This is part of the inherent problem of our current paradigm, an imbalanced focus on the ‘outer’ at the expense of impoverishing the ‘inner’.  And then, we ‘show up’ with this impoverished ‘inner’ while attempting to make hip-and-cool ‘outer’ initiatives work well in the midst of our daily stresses-and-strains.  The business world is now littered with examples of wounded organisational cultures that have embarked on painful out-of-kilter paths of transformation.  We can take learning from this.

First, we need to recognise this tendency to seek solutions ‘out there’ to our problems. This can encourage too much of a focus on fixing the symptoms downstream from the underlying causes, while often leaving the root causes inadequately addressed.  We see this tendency manifesting in all areas of our socio-economic system from leadership and organisational development, political activism, management education, health and well-being, combating climate change, corporate responsibility, you name it.

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