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Exploring the Root Problem and Journeying Beyond Separation

April 14, 2019

It has for many years of my life that I have felt, deeply in my heart, that underpinning our plethora of problems – whether it be rising mental illness through to rampant consumerism, or rising climate change through to the widespread destruction of life on Earth – is a root source; a root problem that spawns the downstream effects of consumerism, individualism, rationalism, capitalism, anthropocentrism, and the like.  It is a disease of the psyche – one might say a crisis of spirit. It is due to a profound mental dislocation of self-identity from environment. With the risk of trying to define something fluid, complex and inter-relational, which is itself part of the problem, it is commonly described as fragmentation or disconnection: disconnection within ourselves (our deeper sense of selfhood), disconnection from each other (the relational Nature of our communality), and disconnection from Nature, Life and Universe.

This disconnection manifests in our inner and outer worlds in varying ways. In our outer world it manifests in the stories we tell ourselves about how we think the world works and our sense of place and purpose within it.  Our mythologies, cosmologies and worldviews influence our socio-economic narrative, which in turn influences the way we behave in business, politics and beyond.

In our inner world, this disconnection manifests in how we attend to each evolving moment in our midst, and the perceptual filters and constrictions we habituate and acculturate. These habituations and acculturations are influenced by, and also influence, the outer narrative or worldview we tell ourselves about how the world works. As the philosopher Richard Tarnas so eloquently notes:

‘Our world view is not simply the way we look at the world. It reaches inward to constitute our innermost being, and outward to constitute the world. It mirrors but also reinforces and even forges the structures, armorings, and possibilities of our interior life. It deeply configures our psychic and somatic experience, the patterns of our sensing, knowing, and interacting with the world. No less potently, our world view – our beliefs and theories, our maps, our metaphors, our myths, our interpretive assumptions – constellates our outer reality, shaping and working the world’s malleable potentials in a thousand ways of subtly reciprocal interaction. World views create worlds.’ 

It seems that we are individually and collectively participating in an inner-outer worldview which – according to the scientific evidence now available to us – is actually undermining our own well-being and the very fabric of life on Earth. Something is deeply flawed.  This disconnection is wreaking havoc.

Read more…

Next Stage Organizations – Making Teal for Real in Business 

April 6, 2019

Every generation experiences significant change due to innovations, disruptions and shifting perspectives. Yet there has been more significant and disruptive change in the last 50 years than in the previous millennium.  These recent advances have created tectonic shifts challenging what we do and the way we do it, calling into question our sense of purpose, and demanding wholly new ways of operating and organizing.

 

Where we came from

 

The start of today’s dominant business paradigm coincides with the creation of the modern corporation around the turn of the twentieth century.  Its roots can be traced back to the industrial revolution which grew out of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, which heralded rapid advances in scientific, political and philosophical thought.  This shaped a certain mind-set that influenced how we approached business management during the Industrial and post-Industrial period of the 19th and 20th century. A mind-set that included the reductive logic of empirical analysis, process management, control, predictability, replicability, efficiency, win-lose competition and economies of scale. These formed the backbone of Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management published in 1909. The scientific approach of Taylorism became hugely influential in setting the context for viewing the organization as a machine. 

Machines perform better when optimized for efficiency.  The responsibility for optimizing the organizational machine became management’s domain and their primary concern.  This mechanistic logic coupled with economies of scale, centralization, and control-based thinking, led to the hierarchical organization structure with its silos and bureaucracy we know only too well today.  Employees were relegated to the role of efficiently performing the duties as defined by management. As management seeks to improve the efficiency of the machine, they unwittingly undermine the creativity, agility and empowerment of people in the process.

 

We have seen a significant rise in material betterment for large swaths of humanity over the last century. Breakthroughs in production have enhanced the lifestyle of many. Our daily lives are improved in innumerable ways from scientific breakthroughs in medicine, transportation and digitization.  All of this has been made possible by significantly improving the scale and cost of production and delivery of technologies in an affordable way.

 

Why do we need to change if we have gained so much from this current paradigm?

Because the world of the 21st century is not like the 20th century.

The very advances brought to us by 20th century business have created a very different environment which now demands a new way of operating and organizing.

Whether it’s the increasing digitization, systemic disruptions and wicked problems, changing consumer buying patterns, brand transparency, widespread globalization, increased competition and market volatility, the need for more sustainable and responsible practices, or the impact of the Millennial generation, business-as-usual is no longer an option.

Through most of the 20th century, success was defined by the most efficient, scalable machine of production or service provision, which worked quite well in 20th century surroundings.  Today’s environment is more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, the VUCA age. Success is determined by organizations being innovative, agile, purposeful and engaged.

Businesses designed with 20th century logic will not be able to cope nor survive let alone thrive amid 21st century conditions. And yet the vast majority of organisations still apply 20th century logic – hence it’s fast time to transform our leadership and organisational logic.

Enter the case for a new way of thinking, a new mind-set beyond the ‘organization-as-machine’ mentality.

The ‘organisation-as-living-system’ is the new mentality and metaphor required for 21st century organisations that are fit for the volatile future ahead.

Living systems adapt and thrive amid unceasing transformation, ditto for tomorrow’s businesses, that as leaders we need to design into today’s organisational operating system.

What we are now seeing emerging at the juicing leading-edges of business is: A New Kind of Leading for a New Kind of World

So what does this ‘new norm’ actually mean on-the-ground, in the day-to-day thick-of-it?

Click here to go to 8 episodes of podcasts to find out more: https://totallyteal.podbean.com/

This is what we – Giles, Sarah and Chris (of The Parallax Partnership and The Future Fit Leadership Academy) – explore in the TOTALLY TEAL podcast series.

Welcome to the Next-stage organization-as-living-system.

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Time to Awaken the Wisdom of Nature

February 23, 2019

Those of you who have come across Mac Macartney, Founder of Embercombe – the Leadership and Education Centre in Devon – will know that he is a world-class storyteller who communicates with power and profundity.

Here, I have the great pleasure of writing a review for Mac’s latest book ‘The Children’s Fire’ – this review was written for, and first published by, the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist in their March/April 2019 edition.  (see link to article here https://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article5289-firing-the-imagination.html

The Children’s Fire is a story about his mid-winter pilgrimage across Britain. Yet, it is so much more than a story of one man’s quest. It’s our story. It’s the story of Britons, Europeans, Indigenous, all Earth people. It’s also a story about the epicentre of Druidic Celtic society, the holy isle of Mona (Anglesey) revered by Britons, feared by Rome.

This small book is a portal: a way into sub-conscious recesses; a reverie of immense relevance to today’s malaise; a portrayal of humanity’s innate desire to live with meaning; and our search for the sacred Grail, the quest to see with new eyes.

Mac Macartney has spent his life on such a quest, a life rich with tumbling twists and tales of courage and fear, threshold crossings and new beginnings. He was mentored by indigenous elders over many years and has acquired profound insights to the questions of our time. His life passion is to share a new story of sustainability, to awaken a fresh yet ancient story about how we become more human in our more-than-human world.  He writes,

‘All parts of the emerging new story are about integration, collaboration, inclusion and wholeness…We have to bring all of nature to our altars, and acknowledge the sacred in ordinary, everyday living…We are being asked to imagine ourselves anew, to accept and grow our talents without collapsing into the arms of hubris.’

This easy-to-read book is a love story no less, contributing to the larger narrative surfacing around the world; a new story of people coming home to truth through a deeper connection with life, with nature, with each other. It’s a story that clarifies what causes our prevalent insanity.

Deep within the story of Britain – and the West – is a psychic wound. This wound needs to be aired and attended to for healing to occur. Through the pages we reach upstream to sense the fecund cosmology of our animist past, and swim downstream to today’s pathology of our psychology. There is prescient wit and wisdom at every turn. It’s a floor-stomping rage of a read that throws anthropocentric materialism to landfill.

The antidote to today’s malaise: The Children’s Fire – elegant in its simplicity and pragmatism. It’s a pledge each of us can make deep in our hearts, if we dare comprehend the implications. It originates from Native American chiefs:

‘No law, no decision, no commitment, no action, nothing of any kind will be permitted to go forth from this council that will harm the children, now or ever.’

The time has come to rekindle The Children’s Fire; to dare make this pledge.

Beware: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s radical and raw. Though, if you wish to experience a grueling gut-wrenching quest in the comfort of your armchair, nested next to the fire, round the hearth – this book’s for you.  I shall give the final words here to Mac,

‘We are a people walking home. We are searching the threads of a broken and forgotten story. It may be new, but in most respects I think it is the renewal of something that we once held close to our hearts and vivid in our imagination … [where] we allow the full recognition of sacredness in all aspects of life and living – then, then we will skim the voyage across the water to the far shore.’

Giles Hutchins is author of The Illusion of Separation (Floris Books, 2014) and other books.

The Children’s Fire – Heart Song of a People, by Mac Macartney, Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 9781788600453

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The Journey Towards Next-Stage Leadership  – The Vitality of Regenerative Leadership

February 7, 2019

Recently I have been blessed with some great executive coaching engagements and conversations about the cool-reality of making next-stage life-affirming business a reality (including ‘Teal’, ‘Agile’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Conscious Leadership’).

How does next-stage leadership development and organizational development best work in tandem?

How does ‘Teal’ sit alongside a deep personal practice of connecting to source, for instance, ‘Theory U’?

The business leaders in-the-field doing the hard-graft of transforming their cultures into regenerative businesses, all agree that one aspect of this transformational journey is vital: the journey towards wholeness. 

And yet it is all-too-often this very aspect that many of us attempt to gloss-over, side-track or ignore as we consume new tools, techniques, models, methodologies, structures and systems.

Soon the transformation becomes lifeless – yet another cook-book consultancy model or managerial method that does little to move us towards the vibrant, flourishing, regenerative futures our hearts know is possible.

There is a tendency to look outward and flee the inner-work required for next-generation regenerative business.  This tendency is within us all.  By noticing it, we can start to recognise the need within ourselves to create adequate space-and-time to reflect, to pause, to check-in, to re-find right-relation with self-other-life, and integrate parts of ourselves waking-up and also honour parts of ourselves dying.

Social design systems – whether they be Swarm or White Space technologies, Art of Hosting or Holding Space, Agile Leadership or Authentic Leadership, Holacracy or Sociocracy – only come alive when they are lived amid the journey towards wholeness.

A CEO of a large housing association, who has radically transformed their culture amid very challenging business conditions, shared with me how her personal development has been fundamental to the cultural shift.  She notes ‘I have engaged in a lot of personal development over the last 5 years to ensure I can role model the new way. People need to look at the CEO and know that they are whole-heartedly engaging in the transformation. It gives others the courage.’

Hence, the importance of ‘social relational methods’ such as Theory U that focus on the inner-work needed to truly transform.  This is why I love taking leaders on nature-immersions as this simple yet deep work enables us to re-connect with our inner-selves while exploring and embodying the necessary path of inner-development.

‘The Nature Immersion with Giles was just what I needed! Giles beautifully crafted a deeply nurturing atmosphere where the group could connect with self, others and nature. I was able to deeply reflect on my life, my purpose and the changes that I needed to make in my life, to enhance my effectiveness as a leader within my work at a business school.
– Sharon Olivier, Programme Director, Ashridge Business School

 ‘What I didn’t expect when I signed-up to attend a one-day nature immersion retreat with Giles was the opening up of a whole new world. The experience opened my eyes to the energy and beauty of this amazing place. During the final campfire session I felt a deep connection to the group and something much bigger than all of us. I highly recommend this programme.’
– Michaela Wright, Director, HSBC

For more on these open and bespoke immersions visit: http://ffla.co/naturalbusiness/natureimmersion/

Over my 20yrs in business consultancy, I can safely say that well-held nature immersions cut through into the deep space required for next-stage leadership development like nothing else.

The deep reflection, deep listening, space to reflect, energy work, somatic engagement – all of this is part of what allows the inner-journey to transform our outer ways of showing-up in the workplace.  It is this that underpins self-management, agility, and learning developmental organizational cultures.

There is no short-cut.

As one leading Teal specialist recently shared with me, how we integrate the journey towards wholeness in the day-to-day thick-of-it, in the here-and-now is the real challenge.  The workplace is not a therapy room, and we need to get on with doing while also contributing to a nurturing wholesome environment.  This is an artful dance.

We explore this artful dance, along with case studies, deep-dives and masterclasses in this upcoming special one-day seminar in a lovely location just outside Copenhagen, have a look at this link, and if it resonates please come and join us and a diverse group of leaders and practitioners:

https://www.regenerators.co/seminar-on-regenerative-leadership

 

 “A profound experience, beautifully held. An excellent mix of theory, reflective exercises and peer-to-peer learning, providing me the strength, resilience, direction and clarity I need of my leadership work.”

“Intellectually stimulating AND existentially exhilarating!”

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Co-Creating Magnificence with the more-than-human – sensing Evolutionary Purpose

December 1, 2018

What a fascinating yet challenging time to be alive!

We are in the midst of a metamorphosis; profound shifts are affecting the way we work, how and why we do things and the purpose and meaning we bring to our organisations, systems and wider civilisation.

It’s what the ancient Greeks referred to as Kairos, a supreme moment in our human history, which if not adequately acted upon, may pass us by.

So how do we adequately act upon this monumentous moment in our human history?

By shifting our consciousness no less.  And what do I mean by that to ‘shift our consciousness’?

I mean a shift in perception, in prehension, in our relationality with reality.  And we can break down this relationality with reality into three interweaving component parts – self/other/world.

Our relationship with our own selves – our self-awareness, our ability to see our own habituations, constrictions, acculturations and blind spots, and our way beyond them through a process of individuation.

Our relationship with others – our ability to allow this deep sociality and empathy we have as human beings, or to get caught up in heightened ego-accentuation, projection, control, fear and polarisation.

Our relationship with the world – our ability to sense into this deep interrelating, participatory magnificence of life, or to narrow-down through anthropocentric and materialistic lenses.

Its this relationality, this attentiveness, that is at the heart of our challenges today. Yet, so often while trying to find solutions to our ever deepening and widening social, economic and environmental problems, we apply the very same level of consciousness that created the problems in the first place to our well-intended solutions.

We simply don’t have time for this anymore.  This is our hour of reckoning, and we need to get radical, and deal with the root cause, which is this flawed way of attending, a flawed worldview.  It’s a neurosis of the mind, a pathology of our psychology, a psycho-somatic dis-ease of epic proportions which is undermining our relationship with ourselves – where we are unable to become who we truly are as human beings; undermining our relationship with others – where we get caught up in a society of hyper-competition, consumerism and individualism; undermining our relationship with the world – where we end up un-weaving the very fabric of life upon which we depend, burning the book of life before we’ve read it.

In a talk I gave at The Amba Hotel in London for The Lucis Trust’s World Goodwill Conference, 10th I cover an exploration of our journey thus far, what brought us here to this precipice, this threshold in our human history. Then, I explore how we go through this membrane and up-stretch into a deeper way of relating beyond.

See here, the video of the 30mins talk.

This article is based on the talk so you can read it as well as watch it (or instead of watching it).

Read more…

Regenerative Leadership – Activating a New Leadership Paradigm

October 26, 2018

Over the last couple of years, I have had the great pleasure of engaging with myriad senior executives, CEOs from quite different organisations agreeing on one thing: they are holding an immense tension in these times of change.

One aspect of this tension is in the here-and-now. Just keeping our head above water in these times of increasing volatile is a real challenge for our leaders.

The other aspect of this tension is in the future. But not some distant future, just three years from now, there is an increasing recognition amongst our leaders that, in order to do more than just survive but to actually thrive in the volatile times ahead, we need to radically transform the ways in which we operate and organise.

To do this, while keep the wheels on the road and our head above water, requires a wholly new approach to leadership and organisational development.

One Global CEO applies the impactful metaphor of flying a plane, and having to retrofit the plane in mid-flight, while going into increasing turbulence, also while keeping all the ground crew, in-flight crew and all the customers on-board happy.

This is the level of systemic interconnected change we face today.

This time of transformation demands that we bring in a new way of being-and-doing into our selves, our team dynamics, and our organisations.  This is what we explore, indeed activate, in this unique one day immersion workshop near Copenhagen 20th November 8.30am-5pm

Laura Storm – the sustainability guru, GreenBiz Worldchanger, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, previous Head of Sustainia, and Founder of Regenerators – and myself, Giles Hutchins, are hosting a special one day Regenerative Leadership immersion, where we dive deep into what is needed to activate this next stage leadership consciousness inside ourselves and across our systems: A day full of practical applications, cases and cutting-edge insights from the future of business.

The day will be a blend of masterclasses, story-telling, knowledge-sharing, embodiment activities, deep listening, silence and journaling. This is all designed to guide participants into a transformative leadership paradigm.

We shall cover the tools, insights from living-systems, and practices required to up-stretch into this next-stage leadership consciousness.  We shall also include specialist domains such as biomimicry, circular economics, Otto Scharmer’s Theory U and Frederic Laloux’s Teal/Evolutionary as key aspects of this next stage consciousness.  All this while engaging with other like-minded pioneers pushing the envelope in today’s time of transformation.

TESTIMONIALS FROM PREVIOUS EVENTS

“Today was something out of the ordinary, refreshing and surprising. I really enjoyed the openness that came from the atmosphere you nurtured.

”Regenerators is an essential journey for anyone looking to grow as a leader. Not only are you welcomed into an inspiring network of amazing people, but you also leave with a wealth of tools, stories and frameworks that you can apply to your work and your life.”

“I will bring a renewed energy into my life and work and faith that change is possible if we work together.”

 “A profound experience, beautifully held. An excellent mix of theory, reflective exercises and peer-to-peer learning, providing me the strength, resilience, direction and clarity I need of my leadership work.”

“Intellectually stimulating AND existentially exhilarating!”

 

See here for more information – if you do wish to attend please book in the next few days as places are filling fast:  https://www.regenerators.co/workshop-on-regenerative-leadership

What a fascinating yet challenging time to be alive. We are in the midst of a metamorphosis, profound shifts are affecting the way we work, how and why we do things, and the purpose and meaning we apply to our organisations, our wider social systems, and our civilisation.

This time of transformation demands that we bring in a new way of being-and-doing into our selves, our team dynamics, and our organisations.  This is what we explore, indeed activate, in this unique one day immersion workshop near Copenhagen 20th November in a wonderful relaxing setting.

The Regenerators is a collective of professionals coming together to aid the emergence of a new thriving paradigm built on regenerative principles. A world where products, services and organizations leave more value than they take. Where our systems, structures and mind-sets provide the foundation for vibrant, invigorating, thriving societies and organizations.

We’re here to help re-design a world where purpose, people, planet and profit can thrive collectively by tapping into the wisdom of nature.

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

To book your place on the Regenerative Leadership immersion visit:

https://www.regenerators.co/workshop-on-regenerative-leadership

 

 

Stepping beyond the veil, sensing beyond illusion – touching Grace within and all around

October 12, 2018

I tentatively share some insights and ramblings that came to me upon sunrise during a 24hr solo in the Scottish Isles last weekend.  These words are as they came to me, not in some poetic flow, but rough and ready.  A skype call late this Friday with a wonderful, beautiful and wise kindred spirit in Portland, US, prompted me to post this before it all becomes a distant memory…   I can still recall the flood of pink sky at night easing into twinkling Milky Way… shooting stars fading by moon-light and then the early morning sunrise… these thoughts came to me during sunrise, in a small open cave, with a Peregrine Falcon sitting next to me on the same sacred rock:

Sunrise, Big Chair

Beauty, synchronicity

Lunar, Aqua

Pulsating rippling

Ebbing flowing

Cacophony, melody

Soul journey

Being-becoming

This quality of attentiveness

Of prehension, perception

Introspection and relation

With self-other-world

Other is no other

In the beginning was the primordial rhythm

In this moment is the Song of Songs

Ebbing, flowing

Receptive, responsive

Yin, Yang

A quality of awareness

Enters this gateway

Into the World

Into the Way of Nature

I profess to a desire

I confess to a method

Not to tie ‘it’ down

Nor objectify the very Nature of this rhythm

But to set Her free

By singing this song

Into the contemporary

With its modes, methods, models and metrics

To quantify the unquantifiable

Silly ‘I’

Yet where there is a ‘will’ there is a ‘way’

And Thy will shall be done

Being Done

We have an extracting eye

For good reason

And good reason need not

Warp into Rationalism

So I persist

My will, in service of

Thy Will Being Done

Not to define Grace

But to honour Grace

So the corridors and conduits

Of power, ego, high-society and communal relationality

Can honour Her once again

For She is Sophia

The Goddess of Wisdom

And society short on Wisdom

Is today’s malaise.

My inquiry, therefore, is twofold

  • Let’s indulge the desire to ‘know’ to feel, embody, intuit, describe, explain and objectify this unobjectifable quality of being and becoming, this liminal Tier 2 consciousness where we are returning home to oneness with Life. Let’s draw on brilliant minds before us – philosophers, poets, explorers, artists, scientists and naturalists – who too have explored and written about this ‘experience’, this ‘shift in consciousness’.
  • Let’s explore how to sensibly bring this into our ways of living and working, our systems, cities and societies, which are fraught with models, methods and metrics. So that Grace can breathe through us more deeply in our midst, our morning midst of metamorphosis.

I speak this with serenity and urgency

With discernment and discipline

With expansiveness and focus

With Yin and Yang

With the fiery Sun in my belly

And the watery Sea in my soul

My will is Thy will.   Amen

As I say these words 18 geese fly past in formation.  My counting rationalising mind is mind-ful that 18 is 9 in numerology – the end and the beginning; the still point where the turning of the wave lies; breakdown into breakthrough.

To drop into Source while ‘doing’ is our becoming.

 The Hour Glass Awakens

Wish-full thinking

Washing the mind

Treading softly

Time a labyrinth

Its ways deceptive

Yet revealing

The point of the journey is not to arrive

To break open

First requires containment

Hermetic Seal that swims deep and dark

We are contained in cages

With doors wide open

Yet the cage, the cave

With its shadows,

Suggestions and projections

Provides introspection

And digestion

For the journey via more caves into

Abysmal liminal spaciousness

Where apertures form

Open windows

For the soul

Open cages

For the creature to evolve

I quote Suzuki the early 20th Century Zen Buddhist, from the Manual of Zen Buddhism

‘And now, having moved through the stage of emptiness, and also having seen God in the world of Nature, the individual can see God in the world of men.  Enlightened mingling in the marketplace with wine-bibbers and butcher, he recognises the inner light or Buddha-Nature in everyone. He doesn’t need to hold himself aloof nor be weighted down by a sense of duty or responsibility, nor to follow a set of patterns of other holy men, nor to imitate the past. He is so in harmony with Life that he is content to be inconspicuous, to be an instrument not a leader.  He simply does what seems to him natural. But though in the market place he seems to be an ordinary man, something happens to the people among whom he mingles. They too become part of the Harmony of the Universe.’

 

To watch a 17min TEDx on the Revolution of Consciousness now required in our society, see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2mUebq5PXU&feature=youtu.be

 

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