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The Logic of Life applied to Leadership: Regenerative Leadership

September 11, 2019

There is a metamorphosis in our midst. Profound shifts are affecting the way we work, how and why we do things, and the purpose and meaning we bring to our organisations, social systems and wider civilisation. It is simultaneously both an exciting yet daunting time to be life, when so much we thought we knew is up for questioning, and the old ways crumble to reveal new pathways as yet untested, rough and ready, yet full of learning and liberation.

The good news is – we can learn from the living systems within and all around us when embarking on this metamorphic moment, as nature has been dealing with such transformation for billions of years.

“True wisdom consists in not departing from nature, but in molding our conduct according to her laws and model.” Seneca, philosopher

In fact, the next-stage leadership paradigm is rooted in what we (the authors of Regenerative Leadership, Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm) refer to as ‘the logic of life’ – the way nature works.

Many leaders often look a bit puzzled when we proclaim that the new leadership paradigm has to be based on the Logic of Life and rooted in the wisdom of nature. They question what we mean by rooted in the wisdom of nature.

After all, what could humans possibly learn from the forests, the ants, the fungi, or the changing seasons? Is the wisdom of nature just more fluffy hippy-dippy stuff, or is it grounded in real insight, evidence, examples, science, and research? How does it apply to organizations like mine?

“Termites and other social insects differ from us in many ways, but, like us, they are part of superorganisms, and they remain an excellent guide to understanding the forces that shape our societies.”  Tim Flannery, scientist

While there is immense insight we can glean from understanding living-systems in the natural world around us, living-systems logic is not limited to biomimicry or bio-inspired insights (whether it be from the ant colony, termite mound, mycelium networks under foot, or swarm behavior of bees, for instance).

Regenerative Leadership draw upon the multi-disciplinary fields of complexity theory, cybernetics, developmental psychology, systems theory, holistic science, and more. For sure, we take learning from nature’s ways of communicating, evolving and collaborating that have been honed over billions of years of evolution, and we combine this with recent findings about energy flows in complex adaptive systems, detailed studies on adult developmental growth within organizations, feedback loops within systems dynamics, and more. All of this contributes to a rich picture of how we view the organization-as-living-system that thrives through messy human relationships nested within systems upon systems of life.

‘Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.’ – Lao Tzu, ancient philosopher

Nature has a profound effect on our species. Simply by being in nature – or even looking at images of nature – our nervous system regenerates, hormone-secretion changes, brain-wave frequencies alter, our mood lifts, as does our capacity for creativity and empathy.

The next evolutionary step for human-kind is to connect what we have learned and adapted during the Scientific, Industrial and Technological Revolutions with what we can learn from nature’s wisdom. That is to say, integrate mechanistic analysis and advanced technological innovations with nature’s insights and ecosystemic awareness. To incorporate the latter, we must renew how we engage with ourselves, each other, and the world around us. We must reclaim our own inner nature (our sense of self) and the connection to our outer nature (the natural habitat around us). We must reclaim our humanity and restructure our ways of living, our societies, and our organizations to be based on the Logic of Life.

The ancient knowing of our shamanic heritage is now being revisited and renewed in our contemporary language of ecosystemic awareness, which draws upon an inner-outer attunement and an opening-up to the scientific discoveries of a Living Systems Field – a field that pervades reality and within which all of life is interconnected. Adult Developmental Psychology recognizes this return as the shift from Tier 1 to Tier 2 consciousness, where at a higher level of consciousness we are capable of cultivating empathy with and reverence for the interconnectedness of all life.

We make no argument here to start from scratch or go back into the woods and live in huts as hunter gatherers. No, not at all. What we are asking of Regenerative Leaders is to reclaim a way of living that draws on ancient understanding and nature’s wisdom, and integrate this with our modern scientific findings and technological inventions.

How?

This is what we unpack in Regenerative Leadership – a DNA framework, tools, case studies, deep dives, practices and examples to help you the leader, change agent and practitioner in your organisation and social system catalyze this necessary shift in human consciousness now unfolding in our midst.

The time has come to activate the Logic of Life!

https://www.regenerativeleadership.co/

Giles Hutchins & Laura Storm are co-authors of Regenerative Leadership, see here some feedback on the book from specialists who have read it:

 

The clarity, inspiration, synergy and wisdom of this book is breath-taking This is the must read book of 2019. I couldn’t put it down.

Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, former Chief Executive  of 157 Group, Centre for Excellence in Leadership

 

Giles and Laura bring their vast experience and deep wisdom to create an evolutionary blueprint for a sustainable future for business, people and the planet

 Richard Barrett, President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

 

This book is full of wisdom and determination! It will inspire leaders to succeed in the 21st Century.

Tim Flannery, scientist

A must read for anyone who wants to shape a regenerative organization.

Jean-Claude Pierre, CEO Scott Bader

 

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The time has come to cross the threshold

September 6, 2019

Sharing some provocations – insightful quotes for the weekend, which go right to the heart of the matter.

 

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

 

‘And here is my secret, it’s a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one sees right, what is essential is invisible to the eye.’   The Fox, in The Little Prince

 

‘One of the first conditions of happiness, is that the link between humankind and nature is not broken.’  Leo Tolstoy

 

‘(S)he who is harmony with Nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.’ Confucius

And then the Hopi Elder’s quote – which I love to re-read every so often, a bit like a ‘purpose check-in’:

 

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 lone 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.

 

The time has come.

To cross the threshold is what the art of true leadership is all about – to die and be reborn, to ‘let go’ of old ways and open-up to the new, which is inherent within the Wisdom of Life.

A new leadership consciousness is being born in this hour of breakdown/breakthrough:

 

For more on how we embrace this life-affirming leadership consciousness, see www.regenerativeleadership.co  the new book co-authored by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm.

The former Executive of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres who steered the negotiation process towards a successful Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 is thrilled about this new leadership framework: “The world is changing fast and organizations are not keeping up with the pace of transformation.  This book invites leaders to catalyze the necessary regeneration to not just catch up, but to lead the world into the 21st century.”

 

Also CEOs welcome this new tangible and holistic approach to leading organizations geared for the future: “A must read for anyone who wants to shape a regenerative organization, the only one type which will survive.” Jean-Claude Pierre, CEO Scott Bader

find the new book here

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Regenerative Leadership – A New Kind of Leading for a New Kind of World

September 3, 2019

There is something in the air!

What a time to be alive, when so much is ripe for transformation, so much pregnant potential being born.

It would seem that we are living through a supreme moment; a moment between epochs, with old ways crumbling amid the new birthing through.  The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moo refers to this as the Great Transition, a time in which we have no time to lose. A transitional stage of simultaneous breakdown and breakthrough ruptures our status-quo worldview as wicked systemic problems can no longer be addressed with an out-dated linear and mechanistic mind-set. The well-versed insight from Albert Einstein rings in our ears, and in our hearts, as we all know that today’s problems cannot be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them.

Leaders across all shapes and sizes of organizations are feeling a push-pull dynamic.

The ‘push’ is the VUCA local and global context now upon us, multi-dimensional change upon change. Unceasing transformation is the ‘new norm’. In wishing for our organizations to more than merely survive but thrive in the volatile climes ahead, we feel the urgent push into a new way of leading and operating.

The ‘pull’ is an unfolding evolutionary dynamic innate within us compelling us to wake-up and sense into this systemic and holistic nature of life we live within. We are wising-up to a deeper sense of place and purpose in this world beyond superficial consumerism, materialism and individualism.

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 seems like a rather tall order when so many of us are struggling just to survive in these trying times. And yet it is nothing more, nor nothing less, than us waking up to, and taking responsibility for, what it really means to be human; to live up to our name as Homo sapiens – wise beings.

We call this new way of operating Regenerative Business.

The word ‘regenerative’ means creating the conditions conducive for life to continuously renew itself and flourish. This primary principle underpins future-fit regenerative leadership and organizational development, where our organizations help rather than hinder the evolutionary dynamic of life. This goes beyond traditional CSR initiatives as it is not primarily aimed at reducing negative impacts or ‘externalities’ created by the current mind-set; rather, it is a move in to an entirely new mind-set, a ‘new way’ of being and doing in business and beyond.

It applies the regenerative logic of living systems, the logic of nature – after all, we are nature.

With this regenerative logic: externalities become opportunities for additional value creation; waste of one output becomes food for another; stakeholders become partners to engage with through authentic communications and reciprocating relations; linear-thinking is replaced with systems-thinking and circular economics; resources are not simply managed and controlled for short-term gain but perceived holistically in the wider context of the inter-relational matrix of life.

We re-train ourselves to think ‘out-of-the-box’, transcending the rigid framing of yesterday’s linear reductive logic that underpins so much of our dominate ways of leading, managing and operating today. Linear mechanistic thinking is superseded by a far richer and deeper way of being-and-doing, where we sense into the interconnecting patterns of relations, where differing stakeholder perspectives and shifting contexts are appreciated for the diverse perspectives they provide, where collaborative abundance eats dog-eat-dog competition for breakfast, and where work is longer seen as soul-less enslaving drudgery undertaken so we can pay the bills, but become cultures of co-creativity, authenticity, mutual respect, passion and purpose, and where our organizational intent is not to profiteer and exploit with scant regard for the consequences, but to explore richer ways of creating and delivering holistic value that enhances life for each and all.

This is not a pipe-dream. It’s quietly going mainstream.

We believe there is no other viable way, quite frankly.

It is a fallacy to assume that entrepreneurialism, development and growth, value-creation and operational excellence inherently come at a cost to life. This fallacy is a bi-product of yesterday’s thinking based on an essentially flawed understanding about how the world works.

We can and must do things different, not just for ourselves, not just for our children, not just for those less fortunate than ourselves, but for the wider fabric of life, for the evolutionary potential of our kith and kin, human and non-human, me-we-world.

To make regenerative business a reality we need regenerative leaders – people willing to take responsibility for creating and delivering value in life-affirming ways.  Here we touch on some of the key qualities of being a regenerative leader.  This is not a cook-book off-the-shelf tick-box approach, it’s a journey of personal, organizational and societal development that each of us will embark upon in myriad unique ways. It is hoped these qualities act as sign-posts and nudges as we each journey individually and together.

Welcome aboard:

  • Living systems thinking: This forms the foundation of the new mind-set we need to bring into how we think and do, and also how we ‘show up’ and create space for others to more fully ‘show up’. If we so choose to see, life within and all around us is showing us the living systems logic we need to be life-affirming. Alas, most of us have been brought up and steep in a culture, educational system and socio-economic narrative that tries to bash this living-systems consciousness out of us and replace it with linear, siloed, reductive and mechanistic ways of leading and operating. Scientific Management Theory and Taylorism still underpins much of what we teach in our business schools today. It has its place and has led to some interesting developments in operational excellent such as Lean, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, and the like. Yet, it has not been adequately integrated with a richer understanding of how life really is – systemic, inter-dependent, co-creative and holistic in nature. This living systems logic is what enables our organizations to thrive in times of volatility and uncertainty. Rather than perceiving our organizations as machines with assets to be sweated for short-term return, we are opening our minds to the realisation that our organizations are living systems intimately inter-related with the living systems of the stakeholder community they serve and the wider society and environment they are nested within. As well as a focus on the parts, we need to be able to sense into the whole.  We can cultivate this way of thinking within ourselves by sensing into the inter-relational dynamics of life – we can take inspiration from nature’s 3.8bn year’s worth of R&D about what works and what doesn’t, and the way ecosystems develop resilience and vibrancy amid unceasing transformation. The shift to living systems thinking brings a more open, relational and expansive mind-set to the fore, where we sense into the inter-dependent nature of reality, and we sense into how best to show-up as sensing-and-responding co-creators immersed within this ever-unfolding emergent pattern that connects. Rather than a dog-eat-dog world, we tune-in to the dynamic participatory nature of life.

 

  • Receptive responsiveness: It has been said many times before that the key to effective leadership is to ‘Know Thy Self’. So often we get caught up in the busyness of the day, so much to do, so little time. Yet, primary to regenerative leadership is the ability to deeply connect: connect with our inner-self, to see beyond our ego-machinations and monkey-mind masturbations, and be able to tap in to the deeper wisdom we find within the eye of the storm. The capacity to stay present, to tune-in to what is really happening, to see beyond the superficial noise and sense into the system, is a vital capacity to master.  This is about cultivating our receptivity. We are naturally receptive as human beings, and yet we have acculturated ourselves to get caught up in a noisy world of distractions, too easily tossed this way and that by egotistic whims, fads and habitual reactions.  By disciplining ourselves to create space in our daily schedules for reflective time, time to breathe deep, to pause, renew, refresh and connect deeply within ourselves, we become more regenerative. We can better discern when we are not acting in regenerative ways; catch ourselves, regroup and relearn. The more we allow ourselves the space to sense into our inner goings-on the more we are able to open up to and integrate shadow aspects within our psyche, both personal and collective/archetypal. Repressed guilt, anxiety, fear and trauma that we carry within us can be touched gently and receptively.  Mindful meditation, body work (Tai Chi and yoga, for instance), holotropic breath-work or chanting, prayer, journaling, walking in nature, jogging mindfully, etc. can all form part of a balanced day with adequate space for self-inquiring  and self-renewal. From this more integrated sense of self, we are able to become more responsive to what is really going on in the system, to sense into subtle shifts, to discern the wheat from the chaff, to tune-in to the essence of the debate or decision, to reach beyond reactivity into receptive-responsiveness.  This also brings the added benefit of humbling us. As we begin to open up to the slings and arrows of the world within us, it encourages us to be more empathic towards ourselves and others, as we see the deeper richer nature of life beyond ego-eyed projections and superficial judgements. This also helps us sense into our authentic self along with the deeper passion and purpose so vital to fuelling us on this unfolding journey – a journey of a lifetime which Carl Jung referred to as ‘individuation’, a re-connection with our deeper truer nature and our dharma (our life-purpose).

 

  • Synchronicity: As we deepen and integrate our sense of self while simultaneously opening ourselves up to life, we become more sensitised to the hidden connections, local and non-local patterns, the eddies and undercurrents, and the feelings of flow inherent in this awesome adventure we call Life. Flow is an optimal human experience, where our relationship with the present moment deepens. Subtly lit synchronistic signs and numinous events light up our path. These are vital for our navigation amid complexity.  The complexities of our wicked problems have an elegant simplicity to them when we give ourselves the chance to connect into the synchronistic realm, what the brilliant scientist David Bohm referred to as the Implicate Order and what the social ecologist Gregory Bateson called ‘the pattern that connects’. Here, in this presencing of life, we permeate our daily conscious mind with the what Carl Jung called ‘the unconscious’. Again our aids are humility, vulnerability and authenticity, as without this radical openness or surrendering to the now, we get in our own way, caught up in our ego-clutter; closing-down or tuning-out what could have been sensed, and the potential pathways in to our emerging future dissipate. All the ancient wisdom traditions the world over say the same message for those with ears to hear – it is only through our full-bodied surrendering into the moment that we open up to the deeper wisdom of life.

 

  • Hold space: The wise old saying, that it is the space between the notes that gives the music its rhythm, is a perfect insight for regenerative leadership. It is through stillness and space that we cultivate our self-awareness while also allowing natural creativity, discernment and authenticity to emanate from deep within us into our thoughts, words and deeds. As leaders, we have to create space for ourselves to tune-in, AND also hold space for our teams within our organizations and wider inter-related network of stakeholders. Then we allow our organizational living system to sense-and-respond more effectively in times of unceasing transformation while rekindling our humanity. The first step to holding space is connecting within and presencing-the-moment; the second step is to cultivate a space of trust and safety for others to tap into a deeper way of being-and-knowing; the third step is to provide the right environment for tensions, vulnerable sharing, emotive airings, and conflict to be worked through in a non-judgemental and open-hearted way. These tensions reveal important insights for the unfolding journey. This also helps deepen the collective trust which is so essential for self-organizing and co-creative ways of working to take root.  Holding space like this requires vulnerability, humility and courage for the leader (and the group) to let-go of needing to know the objective or outcome of a discussion, and enter into a space of not-knowing with an open heart.  In a world full of noisy notes it requires courage to hold this kind of gentle yet provocative space. And yet without it the rhythm of regenerative business remains elusive. This is a step beyond tried-and tools and control-based managerial techniques into space where a wilder wisdom spawns within the nakedness of not-knowing.

 

  • Collaborative Abundance: For ourselves, our teams, our organizations and stakeholder ecosystems to become vibrant, adaptive, thriving, purposeful living systems amid these times of unceasing transformation, we need to embrace the aliveness within us, and cultivate the connection and coherence that enables this aliveness to flourish through our relationships. In other words, our ‘being’ needs to underpin and infuse our ‘doing’. This is not some wishy-washy soft-and-fluffy new-age vibe, it is simply the only way to take ourselves outside-the-box and transform our thinking beyond that which created the problems in the first place. The shift in mind-set from scarcity to abundance is a shift in our way of being, a shift in our attentiveness, a shift in our relational dynamic, in terms of how we open ourselves up internally to more of our authentic humanity within us, and also externally in our way of relate to others. Scarcity mind-set separates self from other, and us from them. It also separates our own sense of self (our ego-self) from our deeper more integrated truer nature (what Carl Jung called the ‘Self’, and Abraham Maslow called the ‘soul’). For instance, an example of scarcity mind-set is envy and jealousy: finding it difficult when someone else is sharing their success or reliving a happy moment or sharing their good work to the team. A colleague receiving praise, or sharing something about themselves, invokes a pang of jealousy in us.  This reaction is a natural part of our humanity. What creates the ‘scarcity mind-set’ is not this reactive pang of jealously, but how we then choose (consciously or unconsciously) to engage with this pang – do we let it drive a reaction and change in the way we are showing-up, or do we become aware of the pang, perhaps make a mental note-to-self (as these pangs insightfully inform us about something within ourselves, perhaps some lack of confidence or self-worth, and so the pang can provide useful insight in our journey of ‘knowing thy self’ if we so choose). If the pang wells up into how we are listening or engaging with the other, our relationality is in some way undermined and the potential for a co-creative emergence in our conversation, exchange or group dynamic is reduced slightly. The co-creative evolutionary dynamic of life is in our hands. In this fraction of a moment we either contribute to a co-creative dynamic of deeper sharing and unfolding exploration, or we reduce that potential, stifling the exchange and ourselves in the process. Another example of scarcity mind-set is short-termism and over-excited intensity (or the reverse, apathy). Overly focusing on the immediacy of getting the job done without taking into account the wider circumspect, the wider holistic inter-relations one is participating in (or the reverse, overly-criticising the situation we are in, blaming others and being a victim) reduces down the co-creative potential of life. It is interesting to note that many passionate and driven activists working for noble causes sometimes struggle to come from an abundant mind-set, instead they are overly-fuelled by anger, polarisation, us-versus-them blame, and so can often embark on intense activities that actually undermine their own authenticity, presence and grace while also undermining their inter-relations with others. We unwittingly become part of the problem. Immediacy, reactivity, intensity, projection and short-termism can violate our integrity and the integrity of those we are attempting to influence. This is a different dynamic to being fully present in the immediacy of the moment, as presence comes with trust, openness, receptivity and responsiveness – and this welcomes in the inherent co-creative nature of life. Scarcity comes with a sense of lack, fearful vigilance, impatience, not enough time, and the need to grasp – and this then starves the co-creative dynamic. Stressed-out schedules full of back-to-back catch-ups, texts, twitters, phone calls, skypes, emails and meetings  do little to help us tune-in to the logic of life.  It is presencing in the moment that opens up our attentiveness to the inter-relationalities, synchronicities, wider repercussions, and subtle perturbations that each evolving moment reveals – the present of being present is revealed to us. This abundance mind-set is inherently collaborative, it is an inviting-in, listening-to and sharing with, co-creating and co-developing, exploring together, learning together, working across boundaries, celebrating diverse perspectives, and surfing the tensions for deeper insight.

 

  • Gratitude and Awe: As we allow ourselves to open up more of our daily consciousness to the living systems dynamic within and all around us, we begin to see the world more fully, with its resplendent awe and magnificence. In part, it is this beauty that we sense within every cell and sinew of our body which helps nourish and rejuvenate us on the journey of transforming ourselves, our teams and our organizations towards brighter futures. A regular reminder of this gratitude and awe of life through a morning meditation, sunrise walk, or after lunch stroll in the park, can help re-connect us to this rapture of life and re-centre our passion and purpose.

 

  • Creativity, curiosity and conviviality: Regenerative business is about celebrating life, about creating the future we know in our hearts is possible. This requires us to be creative, to think outside-the-box, to reach beyond boundaries of what we perceive cannot be done into a space of curiosity and possibility. This curious mind-set is a way of attending to questions, conversations, tensions and challenges with an open non-judgemental mind that seeks to explore. Rather than getting overly caught up in current conditions, we explore the art of the possible.  All of this exploration, questing and creativity needs to be blended with a convivial enjoyable atmosphere within the organizational culture.  Humour and laughter are sure-fired ways to break status-quo thinking and move us outside-the-box. Let’s lighten up and not take ourselves and other so seriously. After all, we are trying to manifest a better world, so let’s have fun in the process, let’s be the change we wish to see in the world.  Humour is a powerful way to dis-arm the grasping ego-mind. It liberates us to open up, explore and learn together in a light, refreshing and enjoyable way. Creating the conditions for creativity, curiosity and conviviality means dismantling the bureaucracies and power-based hierarchies that dominate today’s machine-mentality. The good news is, our innate human nature and the logic of life is on our side. But the ego-self, the scarcity mind-set, and the self-aggrandising power-playing political, narcissistic and Machiavellian monkey-mind are present within us all.  We need to tame this part of ourselves and be more attentive to what lies beyond this superficiality, hence the importance of courage.

 

  • Courage – The word ‘courage’ finds its root meaning in the Latin-French ‘cour’ meaning heart. Courage means to lead with heart, to vulnerably open up to more of ourselves while creating space for others to become more of themselves. The front-line of transforming our teams and organizations into regenerative businesses is our practical application through our everyday living and leading. And as we are creatures of cultural habit with collective behavioral patterns, institutionalized education systems, and mainstream socio-economic pathways all steeped in yesterday’s logic, it is not an easy undertaking, and certainly not a viable path for the faint-hearted. Learning through failing, dogged experimentation and exploration, underpinned with courage is the only way. Brene Brown the researcher and author aptly puts it, ‘vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.’  Courage is our opening up to each moment with our hearts open. Much of the time we are too much in our heads and barely sense the whispers of our heart.  We need our head-logic but this head logic should be in service of the deeper wisdom of the heart. Einstein knew this when he said, ‘the intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind itself faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.’ So true. The genius puts his finger right on it. By allowing the intuitive wisdom of the heart to gain a more central place in our being-and-knowing, we may begin to let go of codes of conduct, pre-determined outcomes and metrics of success, and surrender our ‘need to know’ while making space for a wiser, deeper knowing to emerge through us, our relations and our systems.  This is not for the faint-hearted, as it goes against everything we have been trained to think is sensible, and yet it goes to the heart of the matter by welcoming in a radically different level of consciousness into our solution-space than what created our problems in the first place.

 

Old Logic                                             New Logic

Mechanistic                                       Living

Separateness                                    Inter-connectedness

Competitive self-agency                  Collaborative inter-relationality

Hierarchic management                  Locally-attuned emergence

Individualism                                    Individuality within community

Homogenisation                               Diversity within unity

Profit first                                          Profit follows purpose

Analytic-head logic                         Head-heart-hand intuitive-emotional-sensorial-rational logic

Exploitative                                       Regenerative

 

As the well-respected business futurist John Naisbett notes,

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

Regenerative leadership goes to the heart of this expanding concept of what it means to be human in this tumultuous time we are living through.

 

To purchase the latest book on Regenerative Leadership co-authored by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm visit http://www.regenerativeleadership.co

 

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Transforming Leadership Consciousness for a Better World

July 18, 2019

What’s The Problem

We live amid a time of great upheaval and challenge, with adults across all parts of the world increasingly facing stress, anxiety, breakdown, mental illness, loss of purpose, complexity-overwhelm, confusion and over-work.   Today’s leaders are suffering in the same way – with recent research showing the vast majority of today’s senior leaders are struggling to cope.

Underpinning many of today’s problems is a deeper root problem that is often overlooked – a loss of connection:  connection with our true inner-nature; connection with each other; connection with life (beyond the technosphere and digital hand-held).

Mental illness across adults in the West is now at epidemic levels, with no sign of let-up. Couple this with the need for today’s adults to tackle the seismic problems humanity now faces (from climate change to the rapid degradation of all our life-support systems) we have an urgent need to transform how, as adults, we develop and grow ourselves so we cannot just cope but also courageously co-create life-affirming futures for ourselves, our families, our communities, and for the wider fabric of life on Earth upon which we depend.

Time is not on our side. If world-leading scientists’ latest findings are right, then the time to act is now, not in 10 years, but now. Our individual and collective future depends on the steps we take during 2020, 2021, 2022. These are critical times.

‘We can’t solve today’s problems with the same level of consciousness that created them’

Albert Einstein

How To Deal With The Root Problem

So often we endeavour to solve our myriad challenges in isolated ways that all-too-regularly applies the very same level of thinking to our well-intended solutions that created the problems in the first place.

‘In times of turmoil the danger lies not in the turmoil but in facing it with yesterday’s logic’

Peter Drucker

 

We now need to activate a new way of thinking that embraces today’s complexity with systemic solutions.  This is what Laura Storm and I write about in our new book Regenerative Leadership.

 

“The world is changing fast and organizations are not keeping up with the pace of transformation.  This book invites leaders to catalyze the necessary regeneration to not just catch up, but to lead the world into the 21st century.” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UNFCCC 2010-2016

“This book is full of wisdom and determination! A book that will inspire leaders to pave the way towards practices in harmony with our inner nature and the ecosystems we depend on.  Just what we need to succeed in the 21st Century.” Tim Flannery, scientist & author of Weather Makers, Here on Earth

“Giles and Laura bring their vast experience and deep wisdom to create an evolutionary blueprint for a sustainable future for business, people and the planet” Richard Barrett, President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

Advanced adult developmental psychology research points to a new level of consciousness emerging.  We need the right conditions to cultivate this consciousness in ourselves, and then as leaders in our organizations and communities.

‘What the caterpillar sees as the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.’

Richard Bach

 

Like the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly, something radically new is emerging in our next-stage adult developmental psychology.   Yet, just like the metamorphosis, a time of chrysalis, of deep reflection, introspection, reconfiguration and rebirth is required; otherwise the next-stage does not properly emerge through us.

I am currently writing a Foreword for a workbook that Elaine Patterson, a colleague/friend of mine in The Future Fit Leadership Academy has been co-authoring on Executive Reflection – which speaks exactly to this need to equip leaders with practical tools for cultivating a new way of leading in these volatile times – more on this in a future blog post!  Elaine Patterson has already written a beautiful book on such, Reflect to Create! found here.

This shift from constant ‘doing’ into a more infused being-doing way of leading requires a deeper quality of consciousness within us to be allowed to permeate through us more readily in our every-day conversations, relations, meetings and decisions.  This is a shift in consciousness no less, an expansion of our human capacity.

‘The greatest breakthroughs of the 21st century will not occur because of technology, they will occur because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.’  John Naisbett, futurist

I explore this expanding concept of what it means to be human in this recent TEDx talk I gave at Wycliffe College:

It’s the age-old transformative journey of ‘crossing the threshold’.  Interesting the origins of the word ‘leadership’ find their root in the old European word ‘leith’ which means to ‘cross the threshold’ to die and be reborn.

This death/rebirth metamorphosis can seem scary even painful for the ‘ego’ to comprehend. Yesterday’s consciousness cannot fathom it – it’s too ensnared in mechanistic learning outcomes to understand the need for deep-work. Yet, without it, we will not transformation. It is an essential part of our capacity to evolve as human beings during these critical times.

What’s The Solution

Often this metamorphosis happens at times of crisis, thrust upon us by external situations, leading to personal breakdown. It does not have to be this way.  There are tried-and-tested advanced leadership practices that facilitate this process in ways that enable adults to consciously ‘cross the threshold’.  One the other-side of the threshold, we become true leaders, in service of life, seeking life-affirming futures for one and all. We become the very adults, leaders, human-beings this world now calls us to be, nothing more nothing less.

Nature-based leadership immersions are a powerful way for adults to go deep quickly in a psychologically safe way, while also taking inspiration living-systems to help us shift beyond today’s dominant machine-logic.

Mechanistic Logic shape-shifts into The Logic of Life

Why Nature?

Scientific studies show that being in the great outdoors is good for us. Being in nature improves our attention, creativity, empathy, and ability to find meaning and a sense of purpose – the very capacities we need to lead in today’s world of volatility and change.

As a transformational-learning environment, nature offers a ‘special edge’ to adult development. Well-facilitated nature-immersions cut through the noise and baggage of the monkey-mind like nothing else, enabling busy people to go deep quickly and safely, and enabling them to embody and recall their learnings more vividly than other learning experiences can provide for.

‘Look deep deep deep into Nature and you will understand everything better.’

Albert Einstein

While in nature, inspiration is found by accessing the logic of life within and all around us, by learning from living-systems and nature’s ways in helping us apply a systemic logic to our systemic challenges. Put simply, time in nature helps us shift our consciousness.

Giles Hutchins is a specialist in applying living-systems to personal and organizational development, and is an ecosystemic leadership coach. His pioneering work draws upon different resources, such as living-systems-thinking, complexity theory, complex adaptive systems, biomimicry, nature-as-metaphor, presencing, connecting to the living-systems-field (aka, Source), threshold-crossings and liminal spaces, deep ecology, ecopsychology, organization-as-living-system and systemic sustainability.

What are Leadership Nature-Immersions?

Immersion experiences are one-day (9.30am-4.30pm) experiences. Sometimes these immersions can be longer to include an overnight experience – two-days with an overnight solo experience.

The overnight ‘solo-reflections’ enable leaders to go deep with personal and collective inquiries in well-held psychologically-safe yet deep spaces. This leads them to consider vital questions around their own and their organisations purpose and legacy and how to take their own leadership to the next-stage. Often, adults feedback how they gain far clearer perspectives on their personal and organizational challenges when out in nature.

“Thank you for having me in this wonderful place, both in terms of the setting in nature and in my self.  You have created an environment that feels welcoming, safe and one where we have had the stillness to calm the superficial mind and access the deeper parts of ourselves, our true nature. It is an inspiration, an invitation to take this ‘into the world’, a gift to any who are ready to discover who they are.”

“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!”

What do they consist of?

Sometimes 1-2-1 coaching – one participant and one facilitator/coach, and sometimes small groups of up to 12 people from the same organisation or from different organisations, where cross-fertilisation of learning-experiences between organisations is gained. During the day, activities range from a blend of pair and group work, somatic awareness (body-work), mindfulness, personal reflection, deep listening exercises, learnings from living-systems applied to organisations, and heart-based dialogue round the fire.

Nature-Immersion facilitator Giles Hutchins has experience of applying several leadership modalities, honing and adapting them for nature-immersions. These methods include:

  • Theory U – Otto Scharmer’s work at MIT on awareness-based systemic leadership
  • Teal/Evolutionary – Frederick Laloux’s work on next-stage ‘Teal’ leadership consciousness
  • Spiral Dynamics – Clare Graves’ adult developmental psychology ‘Tier 1 and Tier 2’ consciousness
  • Systems Thinking and Systemic Leadership – Peter Senge, Peter Hawkins and others work on systemic leadership and systemic awareness
  • Complexity Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems – Ralph Stacey and others work on the complex non-linear nature of organizations
  • Regenerative Leadership – Giles Hutchins’ research on ‘organization-as-living-system’ and ‘ecosystemic awareness’, supplemented by other pioneers like Carol Sanford, Pamela Mang, Bill Reed, Laura Storm and Michelle Holliday
  • Biomimicry – The Biomimicry Institute’s and others work on applying nature’s inspiration to human challenges
  • Way of Nature – John P Milton’s work on connection with the 3 natures: inner nature, outer nature, true nature
  • Somatic work – body energy practices coupled with presencing/mindfulness techniques for ‘whole body’ intelligence
  • Depth Psychology – Carl Jung’s, James Hillman’s work on individuation and shadow work
  • Threshold Crossings and Rites of Passage – Laurence Barrett and others work on liminal spaces, rites of passage and thresholds applied to leadership development

Whether it be deep dialogue round an open fire, reflective walks in the woods, embodiment practices, energy work and team engagement, solo reflections, or applying insights from the complex adaptive systems of nature to business (such as biomimicry, systemic thinking, relationality and emergence) time in nature offers something special as part of the next-stage adult learning journey towards Regenerative Leadership – enabling life-affirming futures for ourselves, our organisations, our social systems, and our civilisation.

‘When you spend time reflecting on your purpose in the natural environment, the answers come so swiftly. Nature provides abundant living metaphors that speak deeply to our human condition. Whenever I am coaching or being coached in nature, I can trust that profound change will follow. It is a form of coming home and a form of healing.’ Katherine long, Faculty at The Future Fit leadership Academy

 

It’s time to transform.

For more on Leadership Immersions tailored to your leadership team and organisation, visit https://www.leadershipimmersions.com/

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here and for more on the Future Fit Leadership Academy visit www.ffla.co

Next-Stage Leadership for A Transforming World: Regenerative Leadership

July 10, 2019

Today more than ever we find ourselves in a world out of balance. Our planet is hurting. Our institutions are reaching breaking point. Our stress levels are rising, there are escalating levels of social dissonance, depression, anxiety, obesity and political polarisation across our society.

However, through the cracks of the old systems comes light. The light of a new era. A new way of living, being and working.

A New Paradigm in leadership is being born before our very eyes.  It is simultaneously a challenging yet exciting time to be involved in the future of business.

 

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.

 

‘We are made wise not by the recollections of our past but by the responsibility of our future.’ George Bernard Shaw

 

This is what the new book by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm is all about – a new way of leading and operating in business and beyond: Regenerative Leadership

This new book provides an exciting and comprehensive framework for building regenerative life-affirming businesses. It offers a multitude of business cases, fascinating examples from nature’s living systems, insights from the front-line pioneers and tools and techniques for leaders to succeed and thrive in the 21st century.
Regenerative Leadership draws inspiration from pioneering thinking within biomimicry, circular economy, adult developmental psychology, anthropology, biophilia, sociology, complexity theory and next-stage leadership development. It connects the dots between these fields through a powerful framework that enables leadership to become regenerative: in harmony with life, building thriving, prosperous organizations amid transformational times. The book is a combination of theoretical frameworks, case studies, tools & practices: Everything the leader needs to be successful in the 21st century.

Regenerative Leadership – what’s it all about?

While the future is uncertain, we clearly see an upward trend towards sustainable conscious business. And this is more than just a trend – we’re witnessing a new kind of organization emerging.

An organization which is able to rapidly sense and respond to the ever-changing business climate by innovating how and why it creates and delivers value, and the way it engages internally and externally with its ecosystem of employees, customers, suppliers, resources, investors, society and environment.

This new kind of organization is the organization-as-living-system that is designed on the Logic of Life: life-affirming businesses that thrive from the inside out, by cultivating conditions conducive for life, internally and externally. These organizations nurture flourishing cultures while focusing on products and services that enhance society and the environment.

 

Regenerative Leadership starts with an unavoidable conclusion: the world’s most pressing challenges are interconnected, and only through a systems view could we hope to solve them. Hope is what Giles and Laura offer, exploring the wisdom, rules, and models for thinking, being, and doing that the natural world offers us. Business leaders will enjoy this mind-expanding journey.”  Andrew Winston, Sustainabilty Strategist, author of the Big Pivot and co-author of Green to Gold

 

‘Hutchins and Storm demonstrate that they are clearly at the forefront of a new leadership paradigm that maps an emerging model for sustainable organization in any institution that wishes to thrive. Regenerative Leadership is built upon developing awareness of self and system that embraces the wisdom of Nature alongside creative human consciousness. It is an ideal model that recognizes the potential of living systems to revive organizations and leadership to be effective drivers for the next step in our human story. Hutchins and Storm know what they are talking about – and we should start listening.’  Kingsley L. Dennis, The Sacred Revival – Magic, Mind & Meaning in a Technological Age

 

 

“Leaders of today and tomorrow must be equipped with the right knowledge and skills about regenerative design, culture and lifestyle to build organizations geared for transitions towards sustainable systems that the world needs. They have to be systems-thinkers, ecosystem-facilitators and brave enough to address both inner & outer sustainability. This book is an excellent read for all leaders and change makers” Gunhild Stordalen, Founder & President, EAT Foundation

 

“Giles and Laura bring their vast experience and deep wisdom of natural design and development to create an evolutionary blueprint for a sustainable future for business, people and the planet.An evolutionary blueprint for a sustainable future for business, people and the planet.” Richard Barrett, President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

You can get the book here: http://www.regenerativeleadership.co

and see a short video about the book here:

 

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.

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

For Giles’ latest TEDx talk

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

Next-stage Leadership and Organisations for a ‘New-Norm’ in Business and Beyond

July 5, 2019

‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.’ Richard Bach

Times they are a changing!  A new kind of leadership and a new kind of organisation is metamorphosing before our very eyes:

Increasing volatility, complexity and uncertainty is the new norm, hence our organizations need to be able to not just survive but thrive amidst unceasing transformation.

This new norm demands a new way of operating and organizing in business.

Yesterday’s logic is a hierarchic, KPI-obsessed, siloed, control-based mind-set that reduces down the ability of our organisations to adapt and evolve amid volatility.

A new business logic is now called for – the logic of living-systems – where we enliven our organisations to become agile, adaptive and alive; work cultures that unlock our creative brilliance and stimulate our collective intelligence.

The organisation-as-machine mentality is giving way to organisation-as-living-system.

This is a fundamental overhaul of the underlying logic of how we do business; it’s challenging yet immensely rewarding. Detailed studies show that organisations applying living-systems logic consistently out-perform their mechanistic counterparts. It’s simply good business sense.

The most important challenge and opportunity facing our leaders, managers, and change agents today is our ability to embrace this deep and fundamental shift in logic – a shift in how we think, perceive and relate – amid the busyness of today’s frenetic work-life.

 

This next-stage of leadership and organisational develop is not just about being more agile, more innovative, more purposeful, more sustainable – its about all these things and more! It’s what we call Regenerative Leadership & Regenerative Business

Regenerative business requires us to go beyond the surface and symptomatic into transforming mind-sets at deep and partly unconscious levels. From bottom-up ways of relating, to the over-arching strategic intent of how and why we do business, a root-and-branch transformation is required. What a challenging, yet stimulating and deeply rewarding time to be involved in the future of business: a metamorphosis no less.

So what does Regenerative Business look and feel like in practice?

There is a general shift away from narrowly controlling the siloes of business functions into a widening of our perceptual horizon to perceive the relations across our organization and across our business ecosystem of stakeholders. Each of us takes personal responsibility for understanding the dynamics of relations in our sphere of influence, and seeks to enhance the synergistic value-creation potential of these relationships, not in a ‘trade-off’ win-win or win-lose kind of way, but in a deeper more human – more natural, heartfelt and authentic – way of creating and delivering value for Life. While being focused on our area of responsibility, we are also continually scanning our emerging landscape and learning to ‘read’ the emerging future, sensing and responding to new information, opportunities and challenges that arise. We work in self-organizing, locally-attuning ways continually prototyping and learning as we go. This is a far-cry from the top-down machine mentality of much of today’s corporations.

The more conscious you and I can be, as the leaders and change agents in our organisations, of this necessary shift in consciousness now required, the more able we are to bring it through into our ways of relating, our meeting conventions, decision-making protocols and everyday processes of human relating.  It’s this that creates the nutritious soil from which our living organisations can truly thrive in the transformational times ahead.

For more on how to cultivate the conditions for next-stage organisations and next-stage leadership – read this new book by experts Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm: Regenerative Leadership

 

The clarity, inspiration, synergy and wisdom of this book is breath-taking. –  Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, former Chief Executive  of 157 Group, Centre for Excellence in Leadership

 

Giles and Laura bring their vast experience and deep wisdom to create an evolutionary blueprint for a sustainable future for business, people and the planet. –  Richard Barrett, President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

 

This book is full of wisdom and determination! It will inspire leaders to succeed in the 21st Century.- Tim Flannery, scientist

 

A must read for anyone who wants to shape a regenerative organization. – Jean-Claude Pierre, CEO Scott Bader

You can purchase the book here:

https://www.wordzworth.com/sales/authorbooks?ISBN=9781783241194

also available on Amazon and all good book shops.

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

 

REGENERATIVE LEADERSHIP: The DNA of life-affirming business – Just Released!!

July 1, 2019

‘This is the must-read book of the year.  I couldn’t put it down. The clarity, inspiration, synergy and wisdom of this book is breath-taking.’  – Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE, former CEO of Centre of Excellence in Leadership

 

‘An Evolutionary Blue-Print for a sustainable future … deep wisdom’  – Richard Barrett, President of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

 

‘Business leaders will enjoy this mind-expanding journey!’  –  Andrew Winston, author of best-selling Green to Gold and The Big Pivot

 

Regenerative Leadership: The new book, just released by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm

 

You can purchase this full-colour, high-quality sustainably produced book here

This book by leadership and sustainability experts Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm provides an exciting and comprehensive framework for building regenerative life-affirming businesses. It offers a multitude of business cases, fascinating examples from nature’s living systems, insights from the front-line pioneers and tools and techniques for leaders to succeed and thrive in the 21st century.

Regenerative Leadership draws inspiration from pioneering thinking within biomimicry, circular economy, adult developmental psychology, anthropology, biophilia, sociology, anthropology, complexity theory and next-stage leadership development. It connects the dots between these fields through a powerful DNA model that enables leadership to become regenerative: in harmony with life, building thriving, prosperous organizations amid transformational times. The book is a combination of theoretical frameworks, case studies, tools & practices: Everything the leader needs to pave the way for business becoming a force for good in the world.

Regenerative Leadership – what’s it all about?

While the future is uncertain, we clearly see an upward trend towards sustainable conscious business. And this is more than just a trend – we’re witnessing a new kind of organization emerging.

An organization which is able to rapidly sense and respond to the ever-changing business climate by innovating how and why it creates and delivers value, and the way it engages internally and externally with its ecosystem of employees, customers, suppliers, resources, investors, society and environment.

This new kind of organization is the organization-as-living-system that is designed on the Logic of Life: life-affirming businesses that thrive from the inside out, by cultivating conditions conducive for life, internally and externally. These organizations nurture flourishing cultures while focusing on products and services that enhance society and the environment.

Regenerative organizations will be tomorrow’s success stories. Ones that hold-on to yesterday’s logic will become yesterday’s news. It’s simple: adapt or die.

Watch a short video about the book here

 

 

BOOK OUTLINE

Part 1: BREAKING DOWN AND BREAKING THROUGH:

Takes us through the root cause of our current crises, the flawed business paradigm, and the signals of a new way emerging.

Part 2: THE DNA OF A NEW REGENERATIVE LEADERSHIP PARADIGM

This takes us through the entire DNA model of Regenerative Leadership by first diving deep into what we can learn from the richness of living systems and then translating this into new principles for Design, Leadership & Lifestyle.

Part 3: WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

This section guides the reader on how to integrate the Regenerative Leadership DNA step-by-step. It includes tools, practices and a written coaching session to address queries leaders may have while embarking on this journey towards life-affirming business.

Some Reviews Already Received:

“The world is changing fast and organizations are not keeping up with the pace of transformation.  This book invites leaders to catalyze the necessary regeneration to not just catch up, but to lead the world into the 21st century.” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UNFCCC 2010-2016

“This book is full of wisdom and determination! A book that will inspire leaders to pave the way towards practices in harmony with our inner nature and the ecosystems we depend on.  Just what we need to succeed in the 21st Century.” Tim Flannery, scientists & author of Weather Makers, Here on Earth

 “Storm and Hutchins confront the challenge of redesigning the world to deliver a sustainable future with vision, energy, and creativity.” Dan Esty, environmental Lawyer & Policymaker, co-author of best-selling Green to Gold

A must read for anyone who wants to shape a regenerative organization.” Jean-Claude Pierre, CEO Scott Bader

“Seeking inspiration in the natural world, the principles in Regenerative Leadership provide a framework for a more inspired path forward in business and life.”  Ryan Gellert, CEO EMEA Patagonia

“Hutchins’ and Storm’s Regenerative Leadership shines a bright light on one of the most critical, and least understood capacities required of anyone and any institution seeking to work regeneratively – understanding and living into the three-fold dynamics of what the book calls the DNA of regenerative leadership.” Pamela Mang, co-founder of Regenesis and co-author of Regenerative Development and Design.

‘Hutchins and Storm demonstrate that they are clearly at the forefront of a new leadership paradigm that maps an emerging model for sustainable organization in any institution that wishes to thrive. Regenerative Leadership is built upon developing awareness of self and system that embraces the wisdom of Nature alongside creative human consciousness.” Kingsley L. Dennis, award winning author and thought leader

“This book succinctly brings together the importance business leaders have in redefining and supporting their organisations and communities to do more good.” Nigel Stansfield, President of Interface EAAA

 

The Authors

Giles Hutchins is Chairman of The Future Fit Leadership Academy, keynote speaker, executive coach and author of three critically acclaimed business books, previously Director at KPMG and Global Head of Sustainability Solutions for Atos Origin. He is co-founder of Regenerators, co-founder of Biomimicry for Creative Innovation, founder of Leadership Immersions, and a thought leader on next-stage leadership and organisational development.

Laura Storm has spent her entire career working in the intersection between business, leadership, sustainability, climate change policy and innovation. She has started and led multiple international organizations focused on the global transformation to sustainability – including Copenhagen Climate Council, World Business Summit on Climate Change and Sustainia. She has been awarded the title “Worldchanger” by Greenbiz, is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and Sustainability Expert, serves on many boards and is founder of Regenerators.

 

You can purchase this full-color, high-quality sustainably produced book here

or visit the book’s website for more information and links to Amazon

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