Skip to content

Activating our ‘super-nature’ for Experience Making 2.0

August 14, 2018

There is quite a lot of hype around ‘experience making’ these days.  And perhaps rightly so.

As Experience-Making – creating memorable, lasting, rich experiences – well, that’s the very stuff of life!

Here, we are going to go beyond the superficial and venture into the deep; beyond what we might call Experience-making 1.0 and into the land of Experience-Making 2.0.

And for that I need your help.

I ask you now, as you read this, to pause for a moment, to check inside yourself.  Notice your breathing, your body moving as it breathes.

Notice how deep or shallow you are breathing.

Are you breathing from your chest or deep, from your belly.

Place your hands over your heart and chest area, and sense inward into your body breathing – close your eyes, to switch-off the visual experience and bring your experience inward into the body.

Sense into the heart pumping – beating – like a drum.

As you breathe deep, notice the body moving, and notice the heart beating.

This movement and somatic sensation is going on, all the time, as we talk and walk, as we listen and speak.

It’s a simple shift in our awareness, in our attentiveness to life, that shifts our ability to create and deliver experiences through ourselves, our relationships with others and world.

I would like to share some simple does and don’t about Experience Making.

  • Companies don’t create experiences
  • Logos don’t create experiences
  • Big data, customer analytics, multi-channel consumer transactions, don’t create experiences

We create experiences.

Our humanity, our sensations, emotions and rich social exchanges create experiences.

And…

Deep listening.

Deep listening inside ourselves, deep listening with others, deep listening to the world.

This brings me to Top Tip Number One of Experience-Making 2.0

  • Experience making is first-and-foremost an inner-outer dynamic, a continuous dialogue of self-other-world that is happening all the time. How we show-up shifts this inner-outer dialogue, enriching and deepening it. And first, it starts within.  As Carl Jung famously noted, ‘the one who looks outside dreams, the one who looks inside awakens’.  And that’s what we are in the business of doing, awakening our humanity – nothing more, nothing less. Awakening our humanity activates our super-nature.

This brings me to Top Tip Number 2 of Experience Making

  • Experience-making is not something we can plug-and-play. Its not something we can buy off-the-shelf, to digitise and consumerise our customer relationships with – as much as our mechanistic mind may wish it to be neat and tidy, so we can project manage it to time and budget, delivering it anytime anywhere on-demand.

No. This is about our awakened humanity flowing through our self-other-world relations.  Its the quality of presence we allow to flow through our relationships with all stakeholders (of which customers are an important one, but not to be treated singularly or as a silo. Experience Making 2.0 goes beyond silos and stove-pipes into the real-life of interrelated ecosystems.

To explore this awakened relationality with our stakeholders, we first need to familiarise ourselves with our own inner human repertoire, our natural intelligences, our ‘ways of knowing’, through which we experience life itself and make meaning.

Carl Jung famously referred to our natural intelligences as our four ways of knowing:  intuitive; rational; emotional and somatic

The intuitive way of knowing has often been related to the element fire, and also to SQ or quantum intelligence – its insight and intuition informs us and we bring this insight into our daily awareness, influencing our decisions.  Opening up to this intuitive intelligence requires us to reach beyond the grasping busy-mind of our daily awareness, to quieten, and still ourselves, so we can better cultivate this receptive discernment.

The emotional way of knowing has often been related to the element water, and also to EQ – the feelings always within us, ebbing and flowing, inform and enrich our daily awareness, influencing our decisions.  Opening up to this emotional intelligence requires us to not simply react to feelings but sense-inward, allowing our feelings to have space, so we can consciously respond to these feelings. It is a subtle yet important shift from reactivity to responsiveness, from blind emotional outburst to informed emotional intelligence.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence highlighted the importance of emotions and emotional intelligence (EQ) for leadership development and organisational learning. Goleman found that how we cultivate awareness of our own and other’s feelings and consciously respond to these feelings in appropriate ways helps our leadership potential.   Studies show that EQ out-performs IQ as a predictor of job success and performance capability.

Then in 1997, the neuroscientist Candace Pert’s ground-breaking work Molecules of Emotion provided more insight into the integration of body-mind sensations, feelings and thoughts, in what Pert referred to as the ‘psychosomatic network’ – an integrated system of psyche and soma. The psyche comprises the nonmaterial aspects such as mind, emotion and soul, and the soma comprises the material aspects such as the cells, organs and tissues.

This brings us on to another of Carl Jung’s ways of know: somatic intelligence. Our somatic and sensorial way of knowing has often been related to the element earth, and also to PQ.  This is the sensations we have in our body, for instance, gut pangs, or tickle in the throat, hairs on the back of the neck, or chest perturbations. Our soma (as Pert scientifically explored) is full of psychosomatic sensations that inform our psyche. As we allow ourselves to quieten and sense into the somatic intelligence within us, we enrich our conscious awareness and invite in more intelligence into our daily awareness, so as to be better at sensing and responding to changes within and all around us.

And finally, Jung’s fourth way of knowing, is the rational analytic intelligence – which has been related to the element air, and also to IQ.  This tends to be the dominant intelligence we call upon  in today’s busyness. Our head-logic, the analytic mechanisations it creates, is what dominates today’s meetings, conversations and decisions. It is but one intelligence within our human repertoire, yet when it dominates too much, it can suppress our other ways of knowing.

When we allow these 4 ways of knowing – intuitive (fire), rational (air), emotional (water), somatic (earth) – to cohere within us, we allow these 4 elements of nature to integrate in their rightful way within is. As we integrate these 4 elements of nature, we open ourselves us to the 5th element, the Akasha, or what the brilliant British scientist David Bohm referred to as the ‘ground of all being’ – a generative field that permeates space, it is within and all around us all the time, if we so choose to tap into it.

By integrating our 4 ways of knowing, we awaken our deeper nature, and tap into the 5th element: our true nature, and the wisdom of Nature within and all around us, the synchronistic and systemic capacity we need to thrive in times of increased volatility.   We tap into the generative field of life – what the ancient Chinese called the Way of Nature – and we participate in life-affirming regenerative ways of being-and-doing.

This is our super-nature, it is well within our natural capacity, and all it requires is for us to integrate our natural human repertoire within us.

This is the important basis for awakening our humanity, and for dealing with the root cause of our plethora of crises (whether it be climate change through to rampant social inequality – and what lies at root is a flawed way of attending to life, which can only be rectified at source – within ourselves, by awakening our true nature).

While this shift into our true nature is in some regards quite simple – it requires no credit card, no PhD or complex scientific undertaking – it is not necessarily easy in today’s world of dis-ease and distraction.

To make this shift, we have to cross a threshold.

For various reason – which I have written about in detail in the book The Illusion of Separation – our current socio-economic worldview honours the rational analytic way of attending to such an extent that it has come to dominate, to crowd-out and suppress our other ways of knowing.

The rational-analytic way of attending is a powerful tool in our human repertoire. It’s great at getting the job done, doing the to-do list, project managing, engineering solutions. We need it, and it has provided great advancements in medicine, transportation, technology and such like that we all enjoy.

Yet, if we allow it to overly dominate our daily awareness then it undermines our human potential, and it cuts us off from who we truly are. Before we know it, we actually lose touch with our very sense of place and purpose in this world:  enter the contagion of consumerism in our midst, where we seek silo’ed techno-fixes to wicked systemic problems. Our places of work become mechanised cultures where assets (including ‘human resources’ ) are sweated for short-term returns. We spend much of our time in soul-less drudgery working in top-down hierarchic command-and-controlled KPI-obsessed organisations and find ourselves too busy to ask why.

Albert Einstein put his finger right on it, when he said;

Here lies the problem, and the solution – pure genius.

We find ourselves so caught up in the rational-analytic mind that we do not have time to give ourselves the space to really tune-in to our intuitive, emotional and somatic intelligences.

Crossing the Threshold

Interestingly, the root word for Leadership ‘leith’ means to ‘cross the threshold’ to ’die and be reborn’ to ‘let go of old ways of thinking and embrace the new’.

Having hosted space for myriad leaders to cross the threshold, and having taking innumerable cohorts of senior leaders on deep-dive transformative experiences, I would like to share with you this secret.  It’s a very simple secret…

We need do nothing more, nor nothing less that awakening our humanity in order to cross the threshold, and allow our experience of life to be flooded with meaning, purpose, enlivened engagement and rich experience-making potential.

You and me, every one of us, are exquisite experience-makers, we have within us all we need to create and partake in transformative, meaningful and lasting experiences.

Through practices and techniques that help integrate our ways of knowing, while holding space in a way that creates trust for open-mind, open-heart and open-will, we allow our humanity to do its magic, and tap into the 5th element within and all around us. We become super-natural.

It is here, in these generative spaces, that we begin, we sense and respond while calling forth Regenerative Leadership with natural resilience.  Our super-nature is in our very nature.  It’s the stuff of life, and we can unlock it with each breath, each moment, each conversation, if we so choose.

For sure, we need to practice practice practice if we are to re-program our overly grasping rational-analytic mind as we ease back into a more integrated air-water-earth-fire combo amid the stresses and strains of everyday fast-paced living.

But once we realise the root problem, then we can prioritise this practice and give it the attention it surely deserves.

Crossing this threshold from a dis-eased lop-sided way of attending to life, into an integrated awakened, super-natural way of attending can be done time and again throughout the day, each and every conversation providing the crucible for our crossing.

The more we cross the threshold, the more we become self-aware, the more we deepen our systemic perception, the more we open up to the magnificence of life. When coherent, our intuitive, rational, emotional and somatic intelligences guide us into flow: the optimal of human experiences.

‘Attention is a moral act: it creates, brings aspects of things into being, in doing so makes others recede. What a thing is depends on who is attending to it and in what way.’ Iain McGilchrist, neuroscientist

Our brain is a powerful organ of perception, filtering how we perceive the world.

The ground-breaking research of neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist shows how our perception of the world depends upon whether our brain activity is more in our left-brain hemisphere than our right-brain hemisphere.

The right brain hemisphere sees the inter-relationality of life, and integrates our intuitive emotional and somatic intelligences from our bodymind.

The left-hemisphere sees the rational-analytic bits and bytes, it compartmentalises, silo’s, focuses-in and takes specific content out of the lived-in content of the right-brain hemisphere.  It also honours the past habits and routines more than the novel emerging future, and so attempts to mechanise change into predictable step-by-step routines.  It re-presents and compartmentalises our lived-in experience of the world, filtering it into a disembodied independent autonomous sense of self that needs to manage and control its interactions in mechanised ways.  Hence, it goes hand-in-hand with a heightened ego-awareness.

In reality, we need both ways of attending, and we can allow each hemisphere to readily inter-relate like two hands playing the piano, synchronised yet with an element of freedom to differentiate.

From McGilchrist’s and others’ research it seems that over the last few decades we have become more and more orientated towards a left-hemispheric way of attending, which skews us towards the bits and bytes, towards the mechanisation and analytic reductionism of life.  This heightens our sense of self as separate from and in competition with the world. It also exacerbates the view of the organisation as a machine that ought self-maximise through top-down hierarchic control in a dog-eat-dog world of hyper-competition.

Enter the ‘organisation as machine’ metaphor so pervasive in mainstream management theory that has been playing out for the last few decades.

As we more readily integrate the left and right brain hemispheres, we open up our perceptual horizon and allow in our other natural intelligences.  We sense into how the world really is beyond our mechanisations. We sense into how the world really is beyond our mechanisations.

How do we do this?

First, we must realise that a healthy brain calls upon different brain-wave frequencies and neural network patterns.

Naturally, we have alpha, beta, gamma and delta frequencies within our brain, and yet for much of today’s busyness – from the time our alarm-clock jolts us out of bed, into commuter rush, and relentless emails, meetings, conference calls, targets and decisions, to the commuter rush home, before crashing out in front of the TV – our brains spend too much time in a high-beta brain-wave state.

This puts us in a state of fight-flight for too much of our daily awaking life, and overly stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which triggers certain hormone secretion (cortisol, adrenaline, etc.). This further exacerbates the imbalance within ourselves, further closing down our attentiveness to our intuitive, emotional and somatic intelligences.  Our natural capacity for empathy, for deep listening, for creativity and relationality is significantly diminishes.  Then, in this diminished state of heightened anxiety and overly-analytic grasping, we seek solutions ‘out there’ to our problems, we further devise mechanisms, engineered solutions, metrics, digitised channel-communications and Big Data to solve the problems we create with this dis-eased way of attending.

Yes, we need insightful business intelligence, customer analytics and technologies to aid us in solving today’s challenges, and yet as tools serving our deeper humanity.

It’s time to pause, breath-deep, integrate our super-nature, and awaken our true nature, so we can see beyond the symptoms of today’s challenges towards the root problem – ourselves, our jaundice way of attending to life.

‘The ground of all being cannot be lost. Know that simply by opening yourself to ‘it’ again and again your capacity to sustain its natural presence throughout your daily life will increase.’

Elias Amidon, mystic

Open Up Your Heart

Did you know, the heart is not just a pump pumping oxygenated blood to every single cell in our bodies 100,000 times a day without fail… no… its much more than that.

Our heart within us, we can feel pumping now within us, as we reorientate our awareness within our chest, for a brief moment.

Pause…Breathe…Sense the heart pumping within.

This heart is a powerful organ of perception, thousands of times more powerful magnetically than the brain at sensing and responding subtle perturbations in our surrounds all the time, directly updating the brain.

 ‘And now here is my secret, it is a very simple secret, it is only with the heart that one sees rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ – The Little Prince

During the deep-dive immersions I take leaders on, we undertake certain practices that cultivate heart-awareness and enable ‘heart entrainment’ between our three main neurological centres: head, heart, gut.  And with this, our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems cohere and our natural human repertoire coheres. Hormones change, senses liven – we tap into our super-nature, we reorientation our awareness to be co-participating with the generative field of life within and all around us, we re-connect with the ground-of-all-being.

And so to summarise, we are in the midst of a metamorphosis, profound shifts are affecting us at deep and partly unconscious levels, calling in to question our very sense of place and purpose in this world.  How we awakening our awareness of self-other-world is what will enable us to cross the threshold, to shift our consciousness beyond that which creates today’s problems in the first place.

As the French philosopher Marcel Proust who said,

‘The greatest voyage of our lifetimes is not in the seeking of new landscapes, but in the seeing with new eyes.’

 

Giles Hutchins is Chair of The Future Fit Leadership Academy www.ffla.co adviser to a number of leading organisations and co-founder of Regenerators and Biomimicry for Creative Innovation.

 

 

 

Embracing Natural Resilience – Expanding Leadership Capacity for a New Normal

July 13, 2018

A new leadership normal is emerging.

Today’s leaders are facing an unprecedented level and pace of change, with many of the business challenges we face being quite different in their systemic nature from those before. As hot-off-the-press leadership research indicates, our traditional methods and modes of organisational learning and leadership development are inadequate for the business environment we now face.

A new way of learning, adapting and evolving as leaders and organisations is now demanded by our business context.

‘In order to do well in the emerging new business environments, organisations and their leaders have to develop a new cognitive capability, a new learning capacity for sensing, embodying and enacting emerging futures.’ – Peter Senge, et al

Agile Leadership, Systemic Capacity, Systems Thinking, Complexity Thinking, Eco-Intelligence, Regenerative Leadership, call it what you will – leaders able to master this new cognitive ability are the leaders that will be fit for the emerging future.

Thought leaders and practitioners Christopher Cooke and Giles Hutchins pool their decades of leadership and organisational development experience, ground-breaking insights and practical tools for a special two-day deep-dive leadership immersion to equip leaders to embrace this new leadership normal.

This new normal is revealing itself through multi-dimensional change-upon-change blended with systemic ‘wicked problems’. It requires the cultivation of ‘systemic perception’ and holistic sense-making amid diverse views, rich interdependent partner eco-systems, unfolding emergence and fast-paced turbulence. This invites an expansion of awareness within us; a shift that enlivens a latent systemic capacity within us.

 ‘I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.’ Oliver Wendell Holmes

To recognise this places us at the edge of the current discourse; the edge of leadership and organisational development; most of all – the edge of ourselves and our social systems.   It invites us to cross thresholds, within ourselves, our systems and our civilisation.

This two-day, nature-led experience, guides us on a journey into a deeper appreciation of the language of life, the logic of living-systems, and the wisdom of nature. It is a deep dive into the flows, patterns and principles of living-systems, to enable us to grow into the change that has already happened. We will be working with a rich blend of impressions, insights and wisdom – the woods and fields our classroom.

‘Perception is intellectual, emotional, physical, cultural, and relational. Making sense is sensorial. Increasing sensitivity is necessary to find new ways through old patterns.’  Nora Bateson

 This is a personal invitation to join an intimate yet diverse group of leaders exploring the edges of the new. It takes place in the heart of the Cotswolds in a seclude valley, 5mins cab ride from Stroud mainline station. It includes an overnight solo in the woods, and includes all refreshments, camping equipment, and meals.

‘A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions.’ Oliver Wendell Holmes

We will learn about regenerative leadership while in the woods together, we shall apply advanced adult developmental psychology and human emergence techniques while out in the field together, we shall eat and share living insights about leadership round the fire together, yet sleep in solo with spacious peace, tranquillity, safety and humility.

Giles Hutchins is Chair of The Future Fit Leadership Academy, co-founder of Regenerators, senior adviser to forward-thinking organisations, and specialist on Regenerative Business.

Christopher Cooke is co-founder of 5Deep, originator of The Human Emergence framework, and specialist on Spiral Dynamics, Tier 2 Consciousness and Integral Psychology.

‘Look deep deep deep into nature and you will understand everything better.’ Albert Einstein

If this nature immersion is of interest to you, contact us via The Future Fit leadership Academy www.ffla.co

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

The Revolution in Consciousness for Regenerative Leadership – it starts right here right now

July 8, 2018

The time has come.

To look beyond the superficial and sense the deep.

To have the courage to engage in heart-felt wisdom.

To bring forth a way of living our hearts know is truly possible.

To flow with the evolutionary dynamic of Life rather than against it.

This is the time to metamorphose from breakdown into breakthrough.

To metamorphose beyond caterpillar-consciousness of reductive mechanism, individualistic materialism and patriarchal egotism  à into a new way of living and leading, one that is regenerative, that seeks harmony with Life, and that nourishes our selves, our systems and our societies.

To wake-up to a new-norm, a fresh yet ancient wisdom of Life, that is all around and within us if we so choose to see.

To wake-up beyond the ego-bubble that entraps us in false security and artifice, manipulation and projection, greed and narcissism, social toxicity and corrupting competition.

‘Our world will either undergo revolutionary changes, so far-reaching in character that humanity will totally transform its social relations and its very conception of life, or it will suffer an apocalypse that may well end humanity’s tenure on this planet.’ Murray Bookchin, social ecologist

Over the last 24mths, I have been spending deep-time with various senior leaders; leaders from quite different backgrounds, political outlooks and worldview perspectives.

My deep-time with this motley crew has revealed a unity flowing through this multiplicity of perspectives.

There is a visceral sense that something is deeply wrong with our current paradigm, and that if things continue as they are for much longer, we shall collectively loose our minds, becoming unhinged from our true humanity, unplugged from any deeper sense of place and purpose in this world.

And yet this maddening situation might just be what the doctor ordered – the very situation that might provoke our wake-up.  Today’s situation alerts us to the urgent requirement to metamorphose, to evolve, to move beyond where we are at, or get sucked-under by our shadow-projections and collective neurosis.

 

Thomas Kuhn in the early 1960s coined the term ‘paradigm shift’ when exploring seismic shifts in understanding. He found these shifts occur in discontinuous, revolutionary breaks. Such shifts are a healthy phase in the development of our understanding of reality. Ways of viewing the world are upgraded by bursting beyond the inertia enveloping an outdated construct.

We know an era is ending and a new one being conceived when the fundamental assumptions and illusions of the old worldview are exhausted by their inability to deal with the challenges of the day.

Economist Joseph Gustav Speth argues, in his book The Bridge At The End of The World that today’s challenges require nothing less than a revolution in consciousness to a new worldview. He says, ‘Today’s dominant worldview is simply too biased towards anthropocentrism, materialism, egocentrism, contempocentrism, reductionism, rationalism, and nationalism to sustain the changes needed.’ 

Try saying that quickly : )

It’s not a snappy sentence, but it’s bang-on.

While Speth points to a transformation in our midst, he warns us, ‘Proposals for transformational change will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn. It is true but easy to say that the resistance will come from entrenched interests. It will also come from ourselves. We are the consumers and the employees, and we are easily seduced.’

Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading our culture are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as embodied within it.

We are waking up to the reality that we are not separate self-serving organisms in a world devoid of intrinsic meaning or purpose. The story we’ve been serving up to each generation about how the world works is no longer accurate-enough nor adequate-enough. Our worldview of separation and competition is breaking down to reveal a deeper, wiser understanding.

The Story of Separateness à The Story of Participation, Co-creation & Connectedness

Specialists from all domains have long been pointing to the glaring fault-lines in our current cultural narrative of separation, control hyper-competition and consumerism.  And yet, we so often find ourselves inured in our own wilful blindness.

It reminds me of the line from Morpheus in the film The Matrix, ‘You have to understand, most people are not ready to be unplugged and many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.’

It is easy to become inured and institutionalised by habituated ways of thinking, and cultural distractions, that keep us comfortable yet numb.

The first step is to notice this in ourselves, to notice the habituations, acculturations and ego-traps inherent in our personas – this informs how we see the world, and how we relate with it: regeneratively or degeneratively – or as leadership specialist Otto Schamer puts it: presencing or absencing – this is our conscious choice, each moment.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world of hyper-competition – or so the saying goes.

It’s a VUCA world of increasing chaos and uncertainty – or so the managerial acronym alludes.

It’s an increasingly stress-filled world of mass distractions undermining our humanity – or so contemporary social scientists suggest.

How much of this is all in our minds? Self-perpetuating, self-created – delusional.

How much is our very attentiveness, our very being-in-the-world, central to today’s trilemma of social, economic and environmental crises;

How we see the world, the stories, mythologies and social constructs we tell ourselves and teach our children;

How we attend to the menstruating moment and mood within;

How we listen to and relate with others;

How we consume our lives and the lives of those around us?

‘Greed, envy, sloth, pride and gluttony: these are not vices anymore. No, these are marketing tools. Lust is our way of life. Envy is just a nudge towards another sale. Even in our relationships we consume each other, each of us looking for what we can get out of the other. Our appetites are often satisfied at the expense of those around us. In a dog-eat-dog world we lose part of our humanity.’ Jon Foreman

Has the time come to pause and reflect on not only the ever-widening and deepening ramifications of our busyness, values-void business and soul-sapping consumerism…

but also on the root causes underpinning the diverse yet related issues of mental illness, digital addiction, status anxiety, rising social inequality, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, soil erosion, climate change and the rest?

‘There is a tendency in our age to rush to change the manifest effects of wrong actions without seriously considering the root causes’ – Joseph Milne, philosopher

In his well-articulated and passionate book How Soon Is Now? Daniel Pinchbeck sees our planetary and socio-economic crisis as a great opportunity for awakening and initiation. He perceives the crisis we face as a ‘cosmic trigger’ forcing not only rapid technological and social innovation, but also a psychic evolution – one might even dare to say, a ‘spiritual awakening’: A step-change from one level of consciousness to another. To a level of awakening where we sense into and harmonise with the wisdom of Life.

He notes:

‘The reductive scientific paradigm sees the universe as mechanistic, with genes as the master molecules determining our fate, but the new vision of biology is one of interdependence and symbiosis instead of cutthroat competition.

Much like single-celled organisms hundreds of millions of years ago, we find ourselves at a threshold where we must overcome our sense of separate identity to evolve new social organs. To survive, we must overcome limited self-interest and learn to cooperate for the benefit of the whole.  This requires a change in our social nature… If we are going to make a leap to a new state of consciousness and social system, we must overcome the subconscious beliefs that distort our perceptions of our world and ourselves… This is another reason that our self-transformation requires a spiritual evolution, an opening of consciousness, not just a political change.’

It is heartening to hear a social provocateur of Daniel’s credentials and media-influence speaking of the need for us to globally wake-up and embrace a deeper narrative about how the world works.

It was only five years ago that a well-respected global sustainability network politely but firmly asked me to veer away from writing articles about ‘consciousness awakening’ for fear of switching-off mainstream CSR folk.  Times they are a changing!

My recent TEDx directly addresses the now necessary revolution in consciousness required if we are to avoid irreversible catastrophe.

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

Read more…

The Journey Towards Wholeness – The Vitality of Regenerative Leadership

June 26, 2018

Recently I have been blessed with some great conversations about the cool-reality of making Teal/Evolutionary Business work in practice, and how Teal needs to integrate/sit alongside a deep personal and organisational practice of connecting to source, for instance, Theory U.

The world-leading practitioners I have been engaging with, along with 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.

The ‘outer’ dynamic of the transformation usurps the ‘inner’ dynamic.

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.

In this short article I am going to sense into the messy human-ness of the journey towards wholeness – as uncomfortable as it may be to read.  By all means side-line this ‘stuff’ as ‘fluff’.

But it ain’t going away.

The sooner we embrace this journey, the sooner the next-generation of truly life-affirming business becomes reality.

Because the 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.

As any wise human knows, the outer is always informed by the inner – separate the ‘yang’ from the ‘yin’ at your peril.

Here I share some insights, so that we may sense what this ‘journey towards wholeness’ is all about:

Forgiveness :

By Richard Rohr

‘’Check each day how you’re doing with forgiveness. That’s a good test… It’s often the petty things, the accumulating resentments. The little things you know about another person; how they sort of did you wrong yesterday. No big deal, but the ego loves to grab onto those; they build up on the psyche like a repetitive stress injury. I think that in many ways, it’s much harder to let go of these micro-offenses, precisely because they’re so tiny. And so we unconsciously hoard them, and they clog us up.”

Fear :

By Monique Hennequin recalling her experiences during an NDE (Near Death Experience)

‘To tell you the truth, it wasn’t really so much what I had done to others, but more what I had done to myself. [The people I hurt or was hurt by] these people mirrored my own pain, suspicion, anger and helplessness as well. In those moments I had missed out on opportunities to take full responsibility for my thoughts, words and deeds and in doing so had taken away the possibility to grow and become more conscious.

I also saw that I could spontaneously react to someone in the ‘wrong’ way, because the other person needed that at that moment. And I had felt guilty because I had ostensibly reacted in the ‘wrong’ way, not knowing that the thoughts and emotions of the other person had my unintentional reaction as a consequence.

In events where I had difficulty seeing my responsibility, I ‘lingered’ for as long as it took to take it in…to see how naïve my actions were driven out of ambition, egotism, fear and yes even out of joy or euphoria.

Why had I said so little during my life? Fear, but that fear had now completely gone.  I was never going to be afraid again of my thoughts and feelings. Not afraid to fail in the eyes of others or to be challenged. I was and will be, my own judge. From now on I would be the one I would answer to. Everything went hazy and suddenly, with an enormously painful force, I was back in my body.’

From fear to trust :

By Jean Vanier

‘As we start to really get to know others, as we begin to listen to each other’s stories, things begin to change. We begin the movement from exclusion to inclusion, from fear to trust, from closedness to openness, from judgement and prejudice to foregiveness and understanding. It is a movement of the heart.’

Trust :

By Shelly Francis

‘Developing courage as a leader boils down to trust: trusting yourself, trusting other people, and developing an ability to trust in the balance of life overall… Trust requires listening to one’s inner life, which can translate into great empathy and willingness to invite reflection among colleagues, which can in turn inform a sense of shared purpose and optimism.

Relational trust is a specific form of trust that arises from interpersonal relationships…Relational trust at first glance is simply about trust between people – we depend on each other to fulfil the obligations and expectations defined for our roles. That leaves us vulnerable to power asymmetries, to misunderstandings, to breakdowns in communication, to all sorts of tensions that can wreak havoc not only on relationships but also on our individual capacity to handle stress. In fact, relational trust comes from our inner perceptions and interpretations of others’ behaviors and motives.  This inner territory is full of potholes and shadows that demand we tend to our own self-awareness.’

Transforming tension :

By Parker J Palmer

‘Why do we hate to hold tension, in matters both large and small? On the surface, the answer seems clear; doing so makes us look uncertain and indecisive. Whether in a business meeting or on the global stage, we want to appear powerful, not wimpy. And we want to win…The arrogant insecure ego does not like it when we hold tension, fearful of losing its status if we lose the battle at hand.

That, at least, is what our fear of tension looks like on the surface. But fear always comes in layers, and can be understood only when we reach its substrate. Ultimately, what drives us to resolve tension as quickly as we possibly can is the fear that if we hold it too long, it will break our hearts.

This bedrock layer of fear is the one that interests me, for at least two reasons. It evokes more sympathy in me, for myself and others, that the ego’s fear of looking bad or losing out, which seem whiny and pathetic. And the heart’s fear of being broken is not fanciful: holding powerful tensions over time can be, and often is, a heartbreaking experience.

But there are at least two ways to understand what it means to have our hearts broken. One is to imagine the heart broken into shards and scattered about – a feeling most of us know, and a fate we would like to avoid. The other is to imagine the heart broken open into new capacity – a process that is not without pain but one that many of us would welcome. As I stand in the tragic gap between reality and possibility, this small tight fist of a thing called my heart can break open into greater joy, despair and hope.’

By Ann Belford Ulanov

‘What is it that makes for aliveness?

…we must let our wounds remain open, not close them up by premature interpretations, but sit in the ashes, suffer … go naked…to reach into the unknown beyond fixed delusions and rigid routines…into a creative aliveness, a regenerative process, that undoes deadness…through the rhythm of connection, breakdown, repair, reconnection.’

By John Welwood

‘Compassion – literally ‘suffering with’ – is born out of feeling the rawness of the heart, which also makes us more sensitive to others.’

It is this holding of tensions that breaks open the heart. The narcissistic ego in us fears this most of all, as it is through this breaking open that our little-self dies just a little, loosening its grip of control, so that real life can flood us.   This is the crucifixion mytho-drama laid bare for all to see.  The rebirth is nothing more than our true nature being revealed to us as we let-go of control, of fear, of collapsing the tension into right-versus-wrong, of the search for certainty in an ever-changing world.

The regenerative dynamics innate within the Book of Life show us this if we so choose to read it with soul-eyes.

‘The greatest voyage of our lifetimes is not in the seeking of new landscapes, but in the seeing with new eyes.’ – Marcel Proust

We create our own purgatory, and our own illumination.

Everything we need to learn and grow into Teal is within us, is within each evolving moment.

The source of our soul is right before us, in this moment.

The unfolding wisdom of Nature, shows us how we need to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and all of life.

One of the reasons I love doing deep-dive learning journey’s with small groups of leaders is simply because we can create and hold space for ourselves to sense into this wisdom of Nature, and in-so-doing the journey towards wholeness comes alive in us, embodied in ways that maps, models and metrics can’t reach.

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.

In these trying times, we can be gentle on ourselves, we can embrace the dance on the journey towards wholeness.  Sometimes a little more yang, sometimes a little more yin.  Sometimes more structure, sometimes more space-holding. Sometimes proactivity, sometimes patience.

As one leading Teal specialist recently shared with me, how we integrated 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.

This is where we need to build organisational and cultural structure as well as nurture leadership; both ground-rules and the emergent sensitivity to what works best in each given context.

The feedback loops, the check-ins, the circle sharing from the heart, deep listening, space to reflect – all of this supports distributed authority whether it be holacratic or home-grown.

There is no short-cut.  Be open to having your heart broken-open, for forgiving, for trusting, for transforming tensions time and again, for learning to listen to the voice of fear while also seeing beyond it.  Then a deeper pain, a gaping wound appears, deep in the gut. The wound of our profound separation from nature.  Being in touch with this primal wound is just the beginning, but it is a sure sign we are on our journey homeward bound Teal, Turquoise and beyond.

Giles Hutchins is co-founder of Regenerators and Chair of The Future Fit Leadership Academy, and author of the books The Nature of Business  and The Illusion of Separation and Future Fit

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

The time has come for Real Leadership – Crossing The Threshold

June 14, 2018

In today’s world of systemic wicked problems, leaders require a ‘new-norm’ in their leadership capacity.

 

This new-norm cannot be appropriately embodied without a necessary shift in worldview and consciousness; a shift that deals with root causes while simultaneously dealing with downstream effects.

A revolution in consciousness no less: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2mUebq5PXU&feature=youtu.be

The root problem is our inner-outer attentiveness and relationality; our ‘self-awareness’ and ‘systemic-awareness’. This deepening of attentiveness is a deepening in our ‘being-and-knowing’. It involves a shift in consciousness. How we lead and respond, while creating the conditions for others in our organizations to better lead and respond, directly influences the future-fitness of our organizations, improving their ability to thrive amid increasing volatility while making good on their strategic intent.

 

As leadership specialist Joan Marques notes, ‘we need leadership to move from the here-and-now to the future.’

Leaders of every generation and region are being simultaneously beckoned and cajoled into a new way, a new mind-set, a new operating model, one that is essentially life-affirming rather than singularly at odds with the social and ecological grammar of life.

 

This imperative to call forth a viable future for all of humanity and the wider fabric of life on Earth is, I believe, an inherent quality of Homo sapiens (wise beings).  While we may unwittingly do a great job of distracting ourselves from real wisdom, there is something within our kernel of selfhood that impels us to deepen into this wisdom as we explore life-affirming futures.  It reminds me of George Bernard Shaw’s insight, ‘We are made wise not by the recollections of our past but by the responsibility of our future.’

This shift in consciousness is what I call forth in my recent TEDx Talk at Wycliffe College: The Necessary Revolution from Connectedness to Separateness can be watched here.

‘Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness the catastrophe toward which the world is headed will be unavoidable.’ Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister, addressing US Congress

 

The time has come.   As the Hopi Elder’s remind us:

 

You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…

 

Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

 

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your truth.

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for your leader.

 

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said,

“This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

 And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

 The time of the one wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

 We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”  – Hopi Elders

 

I believe we are living through an epochal moment in our human history where the very concept of what it means to be human is shape-shifting, and this is catalysed by, and in turn influences, how we lead with the future in mind.

The well-respected business futurist John Naisbitt notes,

‘The greatest breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will not be because of technology, they will be because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.’

I, for one, wish to consciously co-create life-affirming future possibilities through how I show-up now, and through my leadership development work with leaders across a great variety of sectors.

These times ask – demand – that we create the conditions conducive for ourselves and our organizations to become more conscious, more attuned, more human, as we open ourselves up to and re-connect with the magnificence of this more-than-human world and universe.

Giles Hutchins  is a visionary thought leader, speaker and adviser on the future of leadership.  He advises organizations on their transformation to regenerative business, and is author of the books The Nature of Business , The Illusion of Separation  and Future Fit, watch a short 3 minute video about it here. Giles blogs at www.thenatureofbusiness.org  is Chairman of The Future Fit Leadership Academy www.ffla.co and co-founder of www.regenerators.co

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

For Giles’ latest TEDx talk see here

 

Exploring and rectifying the root cause of our current crises

June 10, 2018

‘I regard the grooves of destiny into which our civilization has entered as a special case of evolutionary cul-de-sac. Courses which offered short-term advantage have been adopted, have become rigidly programmed, and have begun to prove disastrous over longer time. This is the paradigm for extinction by way of loss of flexibility.’ Gregory Bateson.

 

What has become widely referred to as ‘Western civilisation’ has brought great technological advancement and social change over the millennia. Its underpinning scientific-philosophy is now the dominant paradigm in most parts of our world, regarded by many as the only viable way ahead and a panacea for all our ills. The cultural belief has grown that, with enough time and money, all problems can be solved through this science and technology. One has only to be reminded of the great strides we have made in, for instance, computing, manufacturing, medicine and food production to recognise the attraction of this creed.

 

Yet something is amiss. We seem to be facing increasingly insurmountable social, psychological, economic and environmental problems of epic proportions. Many are now recognising that these problems run deep and wide. These are pivotal times for humanity. And yet the regular reaction to our plethora of problems is to find scientific, monetary or technological fixes way downstream from the inherent problems themselves. All too often these downstream fixes actually exacerbate the underlying problems.

Have we become addicted to a pathway that undermines our very evolution?

Are our sustainability initiatives optimising inherently unsustainable strategies?

Would it not be wiser to take sufficient pause to explore and reveal the root causes of our many crises and remedy them there rather than trying in vain to deal with their ever deepening, spreading and complicating down-stream ramifications?

By stepping back to ponder, we can start to identify the ensemble of intrinsic, culturally embedded problems within our social, economic, scientific and philosophical ‘Western paradigm’.

Far from our Western paradigm being the grand solution-provider to all our ills, many prominent thinkers in business, politics, education, society, the arts and sciences point to its role in actually fuelling the multiple crises. For instance, the much admired award-winning former Chairman and CEO of Interface, Ray Anderson explained,

‘We have been, and still are, in the grips of a flawed view of reality – a flawed paradigm, a flawed world view – and it pervades our culture putting us on biological collision course with collapse.’

Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund points out that,

‘we are currently subsidising the destruction of our planet on an enormous scale.’

While this Western paradigm has brought much material betterment (details of which are well versed) it has an insidious, cancerous quality causing it to undermine our very existence. Its historic tendency has been to colonise new lands and ’markets’ in a way that is fundamentally destructive of its host, like cancer does.

Put bluntly, our prevalent way of attending is systemically anti-life.

There are ample books, research papers and scientific studies exploring in detail the damage inflicted by modern humanity upon our biosphere and it is assumed the reader is either aware of, or can find out with ease, the current demise of life on Earth which goes far deeper than the hot topic of climate change.

For instance, bio-diversity loss on Earth is now assumed to be happening at a rate of somewhere between 100‒1000 times faster than background rates.

Another obvious warning sign is the gigantic ‘plastic islands’ now coalescing in our oceans. The one in the Pacific Ocean known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is thought to be larger than the size of France and growing by the day.

This systemically anti-life behaviour begs the questions,

Are we able to change our way of living to one that is supportive of, rather than destructive to, life?

If so, how and how fast?

These are pivotal questions for our time.

The Illusion of Separation takes us on a journey upstream to find root causes and then sets about exploring ways of attending to life that could overcome these corruptions.

The life-affirming path ahead for our humanity can be found right before us.  It is not complicated, far from it.

‘Giles Hutchins takes us on an amazing tour de force, the intellectual tour of our lives. With ease and incredible clarity, he reveals simultaneously the history and the philosophy and the implications of the dire plight Earth is now within. It is, in many ways, the history of greed, greed as the obsessive desire to have and control life. He does not let us hang there, however, for with equal engaged clarity, he shows us the alternative at hand, right before our noses, so close that it is like looking for our glasses, not seeing they are right on our face. Never before, that I know of, has the choice of life, true life, or the path of degradation been put before us with such clear equanimity.’

Robert Sardello, PhD, author of Love and the Soul: Creating a Future for Earth

 

‘Cutting through habitual denials and academic evasions, Giles Hutchins exposes the delusion at the root of our planetary crisis.  And with a holographic richness of resources and disciplines, he discloses—indeed activates—the attitude that might just provoke our needed evolution. This is a wise and urgent text: may it be heard, and soon!’

Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University, author of On the Mystery

 

Watch this podcast about The Illusion of Separation  here,  or purchase the book on Amazon here

 

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

 

Right-relation for Regenerative Leadership

May 11, 2018

 

I am fortunate to have a couple of live inquiries unfolding, during these early summer days, with some world-leading specialists on leadership and organisational development.

What I share here is – I sense – core to each of these different inquires, and core to the big-picture shift happening in leadership and organisational development, in order for business to keep abreast of what the world now needs.

In essence, the ‘way’ in which we engage with our own selves, with each other and with the wider systems we interweave with, is the heart of it all.  One might say, ‘right-relation’ with self-other-system is the soil, the ground, from which future-fit 21st century Regenerative Business will flourish.

In unpacking what I mean here by ‘right relation’ and the day-to-day practicalities of it for today’s organisational culture, I would like to draw up the profound work of Peter Senge, Joseph Jawarski, Otto Scharmer and others at the Presencing Institute.

A core theme running through the Presencing Institutes’ work is the importance of being aware of – and then cultivating – differing degrees of being-and-knowing.  This is made explicit in Scharmer’s Theory U leadership approach.

The way in which we ‘be’ and ‘know’ influences how we relate with deeper aspects of ourselves, with others, and the world around us.  Through our being-and-knowing, we either engage ‘regeneratively’ or ‘degeneratively’.

By ‘regenerative’ I mean a way of relating with self, others and wider systems that enhances life. A way of relating that creates conditions for a richer evolutionary unfolding of life.

By ‘degenerative’ I mean a way of relating with self, others and wider systems that undermines the potential of what could spawn, unfold and flourish.  The evolutionary dynamic of life is undermined, as is our innate creativity and empathy of self, others and system.

While we like black-and-white clarity, in reality it is not that cut and dry. There are different levels of ‘regenerativity’ in terms of how we show-up through our being-and-knowing.

We may sense and respond to life’s ever-changing terrain in different ways. Our attentiveness to our inner-self and our outer-world is ever-changing in its quality and nature.

Scharmer speaks of 4 different fields of attentiveness.  I quote from his Theory U where he explains these 4 field structures of attention:

‘Just as a musical tune can be performed in different keys, a social tune – that is, an individual or collective social act – can come into being through any of four different field structures of attention. Learning to recognize these various keys is like catching social reality creation in flight – just by noticing their differences, we can begin to alter the structure and direction of these sparks of social reality creation as they manifest in the here and now.’   (p337, Theory U, 2016)

This is in-flight leadership development par excellence.  It is what is often overlooked in mainstream business school leadership development programmes, and yet is very much part of our natural human capacity, to self-notice, to pick-up on somatic sensations that indicate subtle shifts in our attentiveness as we slip between these different fields of attentiveness, and as a result, transform our being-and-knowing.

This is simple, yet sophisticated. It’s real yet appears abstract. It’s fresh and 21st century, essential for today’s future-fitness, and yet draws from ancient wisdom.

Scharmer refers to these 4 fields of attention as Field 1: Bubble; Field 2: Adaptive; Field 3: Reflective; Field 4: Generative.

Let’s explore each of these fields in terms of how we attend to life.

Read more…