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In Service to Life: Regenerative Leadership for 21st Century Organisations

January 13, 2021

David Lorimer is Director of The Scientific and Medical Network, and also Editor of the magazine Paradigm Explorer. He has kindly reviewed the book Regenerative Leadership, by Giles Hutchins & Laura Storm, a book that he sees as a highly informative and inspiring must-read for leaders in every sector

Book at be found here: Regenerative Leadership

REGENERATIVE LEADERSHIP, by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm, Wordzworth, 2019, 351 pp., £29.99, p/b – ISBN 978-1-78324-119-4

Book Review By David Lorimer

I don’t personally need convincing of the requirement not only for regenerative leadership, but for a regenerative approach as an overall policy goal, and in such a regard, this widely endorsed and beautifully produced 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 and dynamics of nature. Both authors bring decades of experience of the sustainability agenda as it relates to business leadership (www.regenerativeleadership.co).

The first part is devoted to breakdowns and breakthroughs, analysing the deeper roots of our current crisis resulting in a ‘growing imbalance [and separation] between humanity and nature, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, and left brained and right brained awareness’, aspects that we now need to integrate in order to ‘read the patterns, relationships, energies, insights, and intelligences innate within life’ as ways of reconnecting with the logic of life (p. 24). The authors identify a growing ‘complexity gap’ in the business landscape, arising from viewing the organisation as a machine and from a flawed consumerist business model associated with ecological degradation – exploiting rather than serving life. This leads to all manner of stress to manifest in us as individuals, as well is in economic, political and natural systems. So the question is how we design flourishing ways of living conducive to life, which entails moving from reductive machine logic to living systems logic on a leadership journey of reconnection: regenerative business calls for regenerative leaders (defined on p. 70).

Part 2 describes the DNA of regenerative leadership based on the logic of life and incorporating Living Systems Design, Culture and Being. This is all very clearly set out with diagrams describing life and leadership dynamics, the former in terms of a dance of convergence and divergence leading to emergence, and the latter an interplay of self-awareness with systemic awareness resulting in ‘regenerative leadership consciousness’. Throughout the book there are further reference points of quotations, insights from nature, business insights and opportunities to dive deeper, one of which is Michael Harner’s essential elements of core shamanism (p. 96) that spell out the relational principles of the kind of worldview that we all need to adopt. The authors explain their own version in terms of seven principles of the logic of life – life affirming, ever-changing and responsive, relational and collaborative, synergistic and diverse, cyclical and rhythmical, flows of energy and matter, and living systems field. Throughout the book, they show a remarkable grasp of such ideas and their potential applications as well as appropriate methods of training. There are corresponding ‘DNA strands’ in the chapters on Living Systems Design and Living Systems Culture with many relevant practical examples.

A further key element is Living Systems Being – ‘how we show up and nourish our relationship with our inner nature and encourage others to do the same.’ Here again there are six DNA strands: presence, coherence, patience, silence, abundance and dance, with corresponding definitions, objectives and guidance. Practical people might initially regard this as peripheral while it is in fact central. The third part provides some useful diagnostic tools to measure the alignment of your organisation with the logic of life and a living systems approach based on a number of questions and a related points system. Then people can create personal and organisational ecosystemic maps with corresponding features and relationships, with the outer orientation on the left and the inner on the right.

Finally, there are answers to frequently asked questions and further suggestions for personal practice, including journaling, quiet time, deep listening and opening up to nature; practices of silence, dialogue, story cafes and the way of council can also be applied organisationally. For the reader, such processes have to begin with the quality of our inner state as it ripples out through our lives and relationships. I was amused but not surprised to find on the final page that the logic of life is nothing more or less than Love, which creates the conditions conducive for life. As the authors note, they could not have put such a message up front, but it was good to see it plainly stated at the end. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as a highly informative and inspiring must-read for leaders in every sector.

You can find the book Regenerative Leadership through all major outlets and also here at this website: Regenerative Leadership

You can follow Giles Hutchins’ blogs at The Nature of Business

join the Leadership Immersions LinkedIn group if you have not already:

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13767578/

and New Business Paradigm Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/businessinspiredbynature/

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