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Can we learn, evolve even, from this pandemic?

April 15, 2020

Interesting times indeed!

So much is uncontrollable, so much is unpredictable, so much is new and unforeseen.

For sure, what these times do call for is real leadership – leadership of the conscious and authentic variety.

In times of crisis, sometimes it can become clearer what we really need: Leadership that actually works with the currents of life, rather than swimming against the stream and stressing ourselves and our social and ecological systems; a way of leading that enables us to create futures that we all want, futures that enhance society rather than undermine it.

The Covid-19 pandemic will go down in history, for many reasons. One fact that will not go unnoticed is how the prevalent-normality of rushing around has had to pause. A significant reduction in global and local travel, along with a reduction in activities of all sorts beyond the essential, has had a dramatic effect on pollution levels and the stress we place on our ecological systems day-in-day-out. One person recently said to me, ‘it’s as if the world has been able to breathe deep and rest easy for a moment.’  Our frantic socio-economic model of rampant consumerism gone-mad has slowed.  And this has been beneficial for the fabric of life we all depend on.  Rivers have run clear again in polluted areas, and ecological systems start to repair themselves from over-use.

Yet this may only be a short-lived pause.  And of course this pause has created untold economic upset, and ruined many businesses and livelihoods. Supply chains have been affected across every industry.

Debt levels have risen. The already fragile economic ‘recovery’ (if there ever really was one since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008) has ended.   The financial implications of this pause will be felt for a long while post-pandemic.

This pause has ruptured our hedonic-economic model, yet the non-human world seems to breathe a sigh of relief.

We might question how much of our activity actually contributes to enhancing our lives beyond superficial materialism and short-lived pleasure seeking.

Might the wit of our humanity be able to see the pearl of wisdom this pandemic is revealing?

Each challenge in life reveals wisdom, just as each virus aids evolution in the adaptation it triggers.  Can we evolve from this virus?

Or will our incessant urge to revert to the norm mean we fail to learn in any lasting way?

My co-author Laura Storm lives in Denmark which went into lock-down ahead of the UK and is now preparing to come out the other side, with schools preparing for children to go back this week.

Does that mean things start to return to ‘normal’?  What actually is ‘normal’?  Surely what we called ‘normal’ before this pandemic can now be seen in a different light if we so choose.  We might be able to gain perspective on how we lead our lives, how we lead at work, how we wish to be in the world, individually, as families and friends, as a human-collective. We might question how our work is actually enhancing our lives and also the lives of others, and the wider fabric of life on Earth. What actually are we working for? What makes us truly happy? What gives us a sense of meaning and fulfillment in our lives?

This time – amid pandemic and beyond pandemic – is a time of transformation.

This is why Laura and I offer the first chapter of our book on Regenerative Leadership for free download here so any one who feels interested can start to activate next-stage leadership today.

Regenerative Leadership is a way of living and leading that puts life at the centre of things. A way of leading that creates the conditions conducive for life to flourish, for ourselves to become more whole, vibrant and purposeful, and for our organisations to come alive while all our stakeholders thrive. It is rooted in the Logic of Life, honed by 3.8 billion years of R&D, drawing upon advanced adult developmental psychology as well as leading-edge research on organisational and leadership development.   Laura and I have research many different organisations, and worked with leaders across all parts of society who are blazing a new way.  This is what Regenerative Leadership activates – futures that we all know in our hearts is achievable in the here-and-now if we so choose.

In this book Regenerative Leadership – the DNA of life-affirming organizations geared for the 21st centuryLaura Storm and I combine pioneering frameworks, case studies, storytelling, tools & practices: Everything the leader needs to contribute to a future where organisations flourish, people come alive and ecosystems thrive again.

“It’s about time leaders wake-up to the realities of our world. It’s time they step-up and into a new leadership-logic where organizations leave more value than they take and become a true force for good. But how? This was the question we heard again and again so we decided to join forces, connect the dots between the insights of pioneers and offer a new tangible regenerative leadership framework easy to apply and integrate to gear organizations for the 21st century”  – Giles Hutchins & Laura Storm


The former Executive of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres who steered the negotiation process towards a successful Paris Climate Agreement is thrilled about this Regenerative 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.”


The former CEO of the 157 Group and the Leadership Centre of Excellence, Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE says, “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”


The Head of the Scientific and Medical Network, David Lorimer notes, “This book is a brilliant and succinct synthesis of leading-edge scientific, philosophical and ecological ideas with practical examples of how readers can apply regenerative leadership to their own working lives. It is written with admirable clarity and articulates exactly the regenerative vision we now require to work with the principles of nature. Sustainability is no longer enough – we need to co-create a regenerative future and this highly informative book lays out an implementable road map ahead.”


To download for free Chapter One of the book visit the book’s website here.


“Both Giles and Laura have captured the vision and practical skills regenerative business leaders need today, to create a climate fit for life, tomorrow.” Nigel Stansfield, President of Interface EAAA

“A must read for anyone who wants to shape a regenerative organization, the only one type which will survive.  This practical book elegantly brings together different theories helping leaders grow to the level of consciousness needed to build the regenerative solutions the world absolutely needs.” Jean-Claude Pierre, CEO Scott Bader



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Giles Hutchins is a pioneering practitioner and senior adviser at the fore-front of the [r]evolution in organizational and leadership consciousness and developmental approaches that enhance personal, organizational and systemic agility and vitality. He is author and co-author of several leadership and organizational development papers, and the books The Nature of Business (2012), The Illusion of Separation (2014), Future Fit (2016) and Regenerative Leadership (2019). Chair of The Future Fit Leadership Academy and Founder of Leadership Immersions, co-founder of Biomimicry for Creative Innovation and Regenerators, he runs a 60 acre leadership centre at Springwood Farm, an area of outstanding natural beauty near London, UK.  Previously held corporate roles – Head of Practice for KPMG, and Global Head of Sustainability for Atos (150,000 employees, over 40 countries). He provides coaching at individual and organisational levels for those seeking to transform their personal and/or work lives. He is also a keynote speaker on the future of business.



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