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Why Nature Immersions are an Essential Key to Next-Stage Leadership and Organisational Development

June 22, 2019

Leadership Immersions provide rich, powerful and long-lasting experiences for 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.

Key Learning Objectives realised through well-facilitated Leadership Immersions:

  • Renewing personal and organisational passion, ambition and purpose
  • Revitalising personal and organisational creativity, innovation, adaptability and agility
  • Empowering individuals and teams for the ‘new-norm’ of next-stage future-fit leadership
  • Enhancing mindful, authentic, inclusive and conscious leadership capacities
  • Learning and embodying tools for self-mastery and systemic awareness

Time in nature can provide transformative benefits


Look deep deep deep into nature and you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein, genius

Leadership Immersions have proven uniquely powerful in at least two ways…


 1) Well-facilitated immersions help us identify root problems and systemic solutions, to reach beyond the mechanistic reductive ‘level of consciousness that created our problems in the first place’. We draw on insights from living-systems and apply these to our challenges in profound ways. For more on tis see:


2) Being-in-nature is scientifically proven to enhance creativity, empathy, deep listening, improved memory and the ability to see different perspectives. When coupled with somatic body-work, mindfulness, vision-quests and round-the-fire dialogue circle-work, these immersions enable us to find a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our work-lives and also personal lives. It helps develop physiological and psychological coherence and connectedness, and aids us through challenging times of change. For more on this see:


What do Leadership Immersions consist of?

A blend of solo, pair and group work, mindfulness and presencing techniques, somatic tools and gentle body-work, deep listening exercises, learnings from living-systems applied to organisations, and rich dialogue round the fire.

Leadership Immersion facilitator Giles Hutchins applies several leadership modalities, which he has honed and adapted for nature immersions. These methods include:

  • Complexity Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems – Ralph Stacey and others work on the complex non-linear nature of organisations
  • Regenerative Leadership – Giles Hutchins work on ‘organization-as-living-system’ and ‘ecosystemic awareness’, supplemented by other pioneers like Carol Sanford, Pamela Mang, Bill Reed, Laura Storm and Michelle Holliday.
  • Theory U, Teal/Evolutionary, Future-Fit and Agile – Giles Hutchins work on next-stage Future Fit leadership and organisational development, supplemented by other pioneers like Otto Scharmer, Frederic Laloux, Clare Graves, John Kotter, Robert Kegan, Peter Hawkins and Peter Senge.


Two workshops coming up:

5th Sept: A one-dayer on Self, Source and Systems – applying Theory U, deep adaptation and renewal in this times of transformation:

19th/20th Sept: An two-dayer with over-night solo, all camping equipment and food is provided:


What People Say:

‘Giles Hutchins is at the forefront of synthesising new logics for business with the natural rhythms of life and the human mind that will revolutionise business. I cannot recommend his powerful work highly enough’ – Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE, former CEO of 157 Group, Centre of Excellence in Leadership UK

‘Giles Hutchins offers lifesaving radical surgery for humanity and the business world’ – Dr Malcolm Parlett, Gestalt Psychologist and Author

‘What I didn’t expect when I signed-up to attend a one-day nature immersion retreat with Giles was the opening up of a whole new world. The experience opened my eyes to the energy and beauty of this amazing place. During the final campfire session I felt a deep connection to the group and something much bigger than all of us. I highly recommend this programme.’ – Michaela Wright, Director, HSBC

‘The Nature Immersion with Giles was just what I needed! Giles beautifully crafted a deeply nurturing atmosphere where the group could connect with self, others and nature. I was able to deeply reflect on my life, my purpose and the changes that I needed to make in my life, to enhance my effectiveness as a leader within my work at a business school.’
– Sharon Olivier, Programme Director, Ashridge Business School

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Connecting with Source, Self, System – deep immersion

May 9, 2019

Connecting with Source, Self, System

5th September, 2019

with Giles Hutchins and Katherine Long

Katherine Long and Giles Hutchins are hosting a unique nature-immersion retreat, an opportunity for profound reflection which will renew, re-energise and regenerate – a day that will support you to deeply re- connect with your sense of purpose, the wider systems you are a part of, and the future you seek to co-create.

Together with other change practitioners (leaders, coaches, organization design and development practitioners, activists) we will explore questions such as:

  • What shifts in ourselves, our work, and in our professional communities are needed to respond to the scale of threat this planet faces?
  • What can we learn from living-systems about resilience, adaptability, collective intelligence and change?
  • How do we support healing and wholeness in a fragmented world?
  • What can we do we resource ourselves and each other to stay aligned to ‘deep purpose’ whilst engaging in ‘deep adaptation’?

This day hosts an intimate yet diverse group of leaders exploring the edges of the new while in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the ancient High Weald area of West Sussex, with good connections to London and beyond, 8mins cab ride from Balcombe station. We will be drawing on a range of deep reflection approaches, including Forest Bathing, Theory U, Teal, somatic bodywork, consciousness-raising modalities, deep listening, systemic and ecosystemic awareness, Dialogue, all held within nature.

9.30am – 4.15pm Thursday 5th September 2019 – price on application includes all refreshments and vegetarian lunch.

To register your interest, please email either Katherine Long or Giles Hutchins

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

Natural Business for A World That’s Waking up

April 30, 2019

Albert Einstein threw down the gauntlet for our human evolution when he said,

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

A task not for the faint-hearted, as it requires great courage to widen our circle of compassion amid increasing tension, fear and uncertainty. Not least it requires a fundamental shift in worldview, in how we perceive our sense of self, our relationship with others, and our sense of place and purpose within this world.

Whether it’s the disciplines of quantum physics, psychology, ecology, organisational development or evolutionary theory, it is now dawning on our contemporary consciousness that life is not simply a mechanistic construct of push-pull factors and selfish genes, where separate organisms compete with each other in the struggle for survival.  Rather, we are now recognising that life is an inter-relational network of inter-being, where everything is in dynamic relation with its environment, continuously communicating and collaborating within an ocean of being. The ‘self’ is not the ‘separate self’ of individualism but the ‘differentiating self’ immersed within a rich milieu of relations.  It is the diversity and reciprocity of these relations which provides for the organism’s resilience and in-turn the resilience of the wider ecosystem.  As the world-renowned biologist Lynn Margulis succinctly puts it,

“Life did not take over the globe by combat but by networking.”

This living-systems view of life is beginning to permeate our corridors of power. There is an increasing recognition that business-as-usual thinking is not going to get us very far. To become future-fit we need to embrace a new way of operating and organising. That new way just so happens to be the way life really works – not the control-based dominate-or-be-dominated mechanistic logic of yesterday, but the real logic of life perceived beyond the illusion of separation: emergence, receptivity, reciprocity, local-attunement, power-with, ecosystemic thinking.

In practice, this means emancipating ourselves from many of the structures inhibiting our natural aliveness today by embracing collaborative soulful practices, such as Way of Council, deep listening, mindfulness-in-motion, foresight planning, prototyping, multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions, scenario planning, white space technologies and the art of hosting tools, as well as direct inspiration from living systems such as eco-literacy, biomimicry, industrial ecology, circular economics, regenerative and adaptive cycle approaches.

There are a multitude of simple yet courageous undertakings each of us can take to help nurture a more soulful, living-systems approach to work. For instance, how about starting each and every meeting with a minute’s silence, to help centre ourselves and tune-in to more of our natural ways of knowing (intuitive, somatic, emotional and rational) allowing for more than a glimpse of what lies beyond the busyness of our masturbating monkey-minds.

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and for more on the Future Fit Leadership Academy visit

Exploring the Root Problem and Journeying Beyond Separation

April 14, 2019

It has for many years of my life that I have felt, deeply in my heart, that underpinning our plethora of problems – whether it be rising mental illness through to rampant consumerism, or rising climate change through to the widespread destruction of life on Earth – is a root source; a root problem that spawns the downstream effects of consumerism, individualism, rationalism, capitalism, anthropocentrism, and the like.  It is a disease of the psyche – one might say a crisis of spirit. It is due to a profound mental dislocation of self-identity from environment. With the risk of trying to define something fluid, complex and inter-relational, which is itself part of the problem, it is commonly described as fragmentation or disconnection: disconnection within ourselves (our deeper sense of selfhood), disconnection from each other (the relational Nature of our communality), and disconnection from Nature, Life and Universe.

This disconnection manifests in our inner and outer worlds in varying ways. In our outer world it manifests in the stories we tell ourselves about how we think the world works and our sense of place and purpose within it.  Our mythologies, cosmologies and worldviews influence our socio-economic narrative, which in turn influences the way we behave in business, politics and beyond.

In our inner world, this disconnection manifests in how we attend to each evolving moment in our midst, and the perceptual filters and constrictions we habituate and acculturate. These habituations and acculturations are influenced by, and also influence, the outer narrative or worldview we tell ourselves about how the world works. As the philosopher Richard Tarnas so eloquently notes:

‘Our world view is not simply the way we look at the world. It reaches inward to constitute our innermost being, and outward to constitute the world. It mirrors but also reinforces and even forges the structures, armorings, and possibilities of our interior life. It deeply configures our psychic and somatic experience, the patterns of our sensing, knowing, and interacting with the world. No less potently, our world view – our beliefs and theories, our maps, our metaphors, our myths, our interpretive assumptions – constellates our outer reality, shaping and working the world’s malleable potentials in a thousand ways of subtly reciprocal interaction. World views create worlds.’ 

It seems that we are individually and collectively participating in an inner-outer worldview which – according to the scientific evidence now available to us – is actually undermining our own well-being and the very fabric of life on Earth. Something is deeply flawed.  This disconnection is wreaking havoc.

Read more…

Next Stage Organizations – Making Teal for Real in Business 

April 6, 2019

Every generation experiences significant change due to innovations, disruptions and shifting perspectives. Yet there has been more significant and disruptive change in the last 50 years than in the previous millennium.  These recent advances have created tectonic shifts challenging what we do and the way we do it, calling into question our sense of purpose, and demanding wholly new ways of operating and organizing.


Where we came from


The start of today’s dominant business paradigm coincides with the creation of the modern corporation around the turn of the twentieth century.  Its roots can be traced back to the industrial revolution which grew out of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, which heralded rapid advances in scientific, political and philosophical thought.  This shaped a certain mind-set that influenced how we approached business management during the Industrial and post-Industrial period of the 19th and 20th century. A mind-set that included the reductive logic of empirical analysis, process management, control, predictability, replicability, efficiency, win-lose competition and economies of scale. These formed the backbone of Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management published in 1909. The scientific approach of Taylorism became hugely influential in setting the context for viewing the organization as a machine. 

Machines perform better when optimized for efficiency.  The responsibility for optimizing the organizational machine became management’s domain and their primary concern.  This mechanistic logic coupled with economies of scale, centralization, and control-based thinking, led to the hierarchical organization structure with its silos and bureaucracy we know only too well today.  Employees were relegated to the role of efficiently performing the duties as defined by management. As management seeks to improve the efficiency of the machine, they unwittingly undermine the creativity, agility and empowerment of people in the process.


We have seen a significant rise in material betterment for large swaths of humanity over the last century. Breakthroughs in production have enhanced the lifestyle of many. Our daily lives are improved in innumerable ways from scientific breakthroughs in medicine, transportation and digitization.  All of this has been made possible by significantly improving the scale and cost of production and delivery of technologies in an affordable way.


Why do we need to change if we have gained so much from this current paradigm?

Because the world of the 21st century is not like the 20th century.

The very advances brought to us by 20th century business have created a very different environment which now demands a new way of operating and organizing.

Whether it’s the increasing digitization, systemic disruptions and wicked problems, changing consumer buying patterns, brand transparency, widespread globalization, increased competition and market volatility, the need for more sustainable and responsible practices, or the impact of the Millennial generation, business-as-usual is no longer an option.

Through most of the 20th century, success was defined by the most efficient, scalable machine of production or service provision, which worked quite well in 20th century surroundings.  Today’s environment is more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, the VUCA age. Success is determined by organizations being innovative, agile, purposeful and engaged.

Businesses designed with 20th century logic will not be able to cope nor survive let alone thrive amid 21st century conditions. And yet the vast majority of organisations still apply 20th century logic – hence it’s fast time to transform our leadership and organisational logic.

Enter the case for a new way of thinking, a new mind-set beyond the ‘organization-as-machine’ mentality.

The ‘organisation-as-living-system’ is the new mentality and metaphor required for 21st century organisations that are fit for the volatile future ahead.

Living systems adapt and thrive amid unceasing transformation, ditto for tomorrow’s businesses, that as leaders we need to design into today’s organisational operating system.

What we are now seeing emerging at the juicing leading-edges of business is: A New Kind of Leading for a New Kind of World

So what does this ‘new norm’ actually mean on-the-ground, in the day-to-day thick-of-it?

Click here to go to 8 episodes of podcasts to find out more:

This is what we – Giles, Sarah and Chris (of The Parallax Partnership and The Future Fit Leadership Academy) – explore in the TOTALLY TEAL podcast series.

Welcome to the Next-stage organization-as-living-system.

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Time to Awaken the Wisdom of Nature

February 23, 2019

Those of you who have come across Mac Macartney, Founder of Embercombe – the Leadership and Education Centre in Devon – will know that he is a world-class storyteller who communicates with power and profundity.

Here, I have the great pleasure of writing a review for Mac’s latest book ‘The Children’s Fire’ – this review was written for, and first published by, the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist in their March/April 2019 edition.  (see link to article here

The Children’s Fire is a story about his mid-winter pilgrimage across Britain. Yet, it is so much more than a story of one man’s quest. It’s our story. It’s the story of Britons, Europeans, Indigenous, all Earth people. It’s also a story about the epicentre of Druidic Celtic society, the holy isle of Mona (Anglesey) revered by Britons, feared by Rome.

This small book is a portal: a way into sub-conscious recesses; a reverie of immense relevance to today’s malaise; a portrayal of humanity’s innate desire to live with meaning; and our search for the sacred Grail, the quest to see with new eyes.

Mac Macartney has spent his life on such a quest, a life rich with tumbling twists and tales of courage and fear, threshold crossings and new beginnings. He was mentored by indigenous elders over many years and has acquired profound insights to the questions of our time. His life passion is to share a new story of sustainability, to awaken a fresh yet ancient story about how we become more human in our more-than-human world.  He writes,

‘All parts of the emerging new story are about integration, collaboration, inclusion and wholeness…We have to bring all of nature to our altars, and acknowledge the sacred in ordinary, everyday living…We are being asked to imagine ourselves anew, to accept and grow our talents without collapsing into the arms of hubris.’

This easy-to-read book is a love story no less, contributing to the larger narrative surfacing around the world; a new story of people coming home to truth through a deeper connection with life, with nature, with each other. It’s a story that clarifies what causes our prevalent insanity.

Deep within the story of Britain – and the West – is a psychic wound. This wound needs to be aired and attended to for healing to occur. Through the pages we reach upstream to sense the fecund cosmology of our animist past, and swim downstream to today’s pathology of our psychology. There is prescient wit and wisdom at every turn. It’s a floor-stomping rage of a read that throws anthropocentric materialism to landfill.

The antidote to today’s malaise: The Children’s Fire – elegant in its simplicity and pragmatism. It’s a pledge each of us can make deep in our hearts, if we dare comprehend the implications. It originates from Native American chiefs:

‘No law, no decision, no commitment, no action, nothing of any kind will be permitted to go forth from this council that will harm the children, now or ever.’

The time has come to rekindle The Children’s Fire; to dare make this pledge.

Beware: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s radical and raw. Though, if you wish to experience a grueling gut-wrenching quest in the comfort of your armchair, nested next to the fire, round the hearth – this book’s for you.  I shall give the final words here to Mac,

‘We are a people walking home. We are searching the threads of a broken and forgotten story. It may be new, but in most respects I think it is the renewal of something that we once held close to our hearts and vivid in our imagination … [where] we allow the full recognition of sacredness in all aspects of life and living – then, then we will skim the voyage across the water to the far shore.’

Giles Hutchins is author of The Illusion of Separation (Floris Books, 2014) and other books.

The Children’s Fire – Heart Song of a People, by Mac Macartney, Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 9781788600453

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The Journey Towards Next-Stage Leadership  – The Vitality of Regenerative Leadership

February 7, 2019

Recently I have been blessed with some great executive coaching engagements and conversations about the cool-reality of making next-stage life-affirming business a reality (including ‘Teal’, ‘Agile’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Conscious Leadership’).

How does next-stage leadership development and organizational development best work in tandem?

How does ‘Teal’ sit alongside a deep personal practice of connecting to source, for instance, ‘Theory U’?

The 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.

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.

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.

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.

A CEO of a large housing association, who has radically transformed their culture amid very challenging business conditions, shared with me how her personal development has been fundamental to the cultural shift.  She notes ‘I have engaged in a lot of personal development over the last 5 years to ensure I can role model the new way. People need to look at the CEO and know that they are whole-heartedly engaging in the transformation. It gives others the courage.’

Hence, the importance of ‘social relational methods’ such as Theory U that focus on the inner-work needed to truly transform.  This is why I love taking leaders on nature-immersions as this simple yet deep work enables us to re-connect with our inner-selves while exploring and embodying the necessary path of inner-development.

‘The Nature Immersion with Giles was just what I needed! Giles beautifully crafted a deeply nurturing atmosphere where the group could connect with self, others and nature. I was able to deeply reflect on my life, my purpose and the changes that I needed to make in my life, to enhance my effectiveness as a leader within my work at a business school.
– Sharon Olivier, Programme Director, Ashridge Business School

 ‘What I didn’t expect when I signed-up to attend a one-day nature immersion retreat with Giles was the opening up of a whole new world. The experience opened my eyes to the energy and beauty of this amazing place. During the final campfire session I felt a deep connection to the group and something much bigger than all of us. I highly recommend this programme.’
– Michaela Wright, Director, HSBC

For more on these open and bespoke immersions visit:

Over my 20yrs in business consultancy, I can safely say that well-held nature immersions cut through into the deep space required for next-stage leadership development like nothing else.

The deep reflection, deep listening, space to reflect, energy work, somatic engagement – all of this is part of what allows the inner-journey to transform our outer ways of showing-up in the workplace.  It is this that underpins self-management, agility, and learning developmental organizational cultures.

There is no short-cut.

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

We explore this artful dance, along with case studies, deep-dives and masterclasses in this upcoming special one-day seminar in a lovely location just outside Copenhagen, have a look at this link, and if it resonates please come and join us and a diverse group of leaders and practitioners:


 “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!”

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