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The Co-creation of a Reflection Tool for Regenerative Business: Where are you on your regenerative journey, towards truly thriving as an organisation?

June 17, 2022

Clearly there is a hell of a lot going on for organisations of any shape and size.  Not just volatility across markets, but also immense change within the workplace – hybrid ways of working, the desire for more meaning and purpose through work, the quest for agility, entrepreneurialism and self-management and distributed decision-making.

It’s to this transformative business landscape that The Future Fit Leadership Academy’s founder, Giles Hutchins, and specialist employment law firm Ramsay Paterson’s co-founder, Stephanie Paterson, come together to co-create a practical Reflection Tool aimed at helping leaders engage in reflection, dialogue and exploration for enabling thriving future-fit organizational cultures. The tool is provided as a thought provoker by offering a set of reflective questions that invite contemplation and discussion about where your organisation is on its regenerative journey towards a more agile, developmental and adult-adult culture.

The story of this co-creation between Giles and Stephanie started a few years ago now, when our paths first crossed back in 2016, shortly after Giles published his third book Future Fit, whereupon he was invited to give a keynote about his work on future-fit organizational development at a CIPD conference for about two hundred HR professionals.  Stephanie was collaborating with a client to host a workshop on ‘Doing thing differently – can we find another way?’. 

We both fondly recall meeting up for coffee in a café in Clifton, Bristol, where we passionately exchanged ideas about the future of business, purposeful and conscious workplaces, developmental cultures and self-managing systems.  Back then, there was a real buzz around the ‘new world of work’, what self-management meant for people, teams and organizations, and how digital/hybrid ways of working were challenging the norm.

We shared a flurry of emails after our café meeting, while our respective businesses grew.   Then Giles re-located from the south-west to Sussex and set up his international leadership centre at Springwood Farm, to be closer to London and international clients (direct links to Gatwick & Heathrow airport and Kings Cross International station). And COVID hit.

Springwood Farm

Then a mutual client re-ignited our conversations, and we picked-up our thread earlier this year, and started to spark ideas again, while Giles was finishing off his latest (now fifth) book Leading by Nature. We explored updating the Future-Fit health-check that was in his earlier book Future Fit with a refreshed and reflective style as we felt clients so often need something that helps them pause, reflect and question how their organisations are doing, particularly amid these frantic times. This Reflective Tool we have co-created helps leaders ask the vital question ‘Where are you on your regenerative journey, towards truly thriving as an organisation?’

We envisage this tool being used most usefully in bite-sized chunks, focusing on each section at a time, to enable meaningful and intentional reflection.  As a starting point, the tool might be used by the CEO or the Director of HR/People, for individual reflection.  We then intend these initial reflections to be further explored through dialogue within one or more small groups, perhaps across the business to get a broader perspective. This in turn will help focus the business on the areas which require attention to ensure vibrancy and future-fitness is embedded into the organization during these ever-changing climes.

The questions provided in the sections below offer a framework for reflection – what we call a ‘Reflection Practice’ that can act as a catalyst for:

1) intentional self-reflection,

2) dialogue with others,

3) planning organisational change. 

You might wish to think of this Reflection Practice as a three-step flow: 1st take some time out to pause and reflect on these questions, seeing what comes up for you, 2nd share the Reflection Practice with others and dialogue together, and see what themes emerge, 3rd start to hone-in on areas for potential change that can help your organisation adapt and evolve toward a more regenerative and developmental culture

Section 1 – Organisational Purpose:  Often we come to think of profit as a prime-mover, but it’s not. The purpose of the business is its ‘reason for being’. Think of profit as the air we breathe – we need it to exist, yet breathing is not our reason for being. Likewise for the organisation, it has a purpose beyond hitting the numbers, a reason for being that galvanises and coheres the organisation amid volatile fast-moving climates.

Section 2 – Values & Culture: If the purpose is your organisation’s ‘why’, think of its culture & values as the ‘way’ – the way people behave while delivering the purpose. Values and culture guide the organisation and its people as they go about their business day to day. 

Section 3 – Decision Making: The day-to-day decision-making processes and protocols greatly influence both the tactical and strategic vitality of the organisation.

Section 4 – Collaboration & Innovation: In this fast-paced ever-changing business environment the ability to innovate and collaborate across teams and also between organisations greatly influences the future-fitness of the organisation.

Section 5 – Interpersonal Relationships & Tension Transformation:  The organisation is made up of complex processes of human relating. The capacity to work with tensions and transform mis-understandings or differences into creative potential, helps the organisation continuously learn, adapt and evolve.

Section 6 – Working Environments: Over the last couple of years, hybrid working and the capacity to embrace different working requirements has created a new world of work.

Section 7 – Leadership Mindset: The way we show up as leaders has a great effect on those around us and the overall vitality of the living organisation. Ways of leading that are incongruent with the organisation’s values and ethos can undermine trust and disempower people, greatly affecting organisational future-fitness.

You can download the Reflection Tool here for free – we hope you enjoy using it – and you can find a host of other useful tools and practices related to Giles Hutchins latest book Leading by Nature – The Process of Becoming A Regenerative Leader here: https://gileshutchins.com/content/

Giles Hutchins is a pioneering practitioner, author, speaker and senior adviser at the fore-front of the [r]evolution in organisational and leadership consciousness drawing on regeneration principles.

Stephanie Paterson is an experienced employment lawyer, who takes a human focussed and more holistic approach to employment law advice, working with organisations in a purpose and values driven context.

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