Organizations need a new kind of leadership that is more connected to people and planet. That is the key message of the book Regenerative Leadership by Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins. “True leadership is about realizing that the current way no longer works and it’s time to move on to a new way. (…) The organization will never flourish in the 21st century world unless we become more human, more open, more alive, more responsible and more respectful.”
Two things are certain, the authors write. The first is that the systemic challenges humanity now faces, such as climate, biodiversity and inequality, “are not going away. Instead they will rise in priority over the next decade.” The second is that by the end of this decade “all the main components that make up Regenerative Business & Leadership will become higher and higher up the priority stack for far more organizations”. Therefore, “leaders have a business and a moral imperative to start working with the Logic of Life”. That applies in particular to business, because “business is perhaps the most powerful organized force of human creativity on this planet today, and by transforming the business mindset we go a very long way to transforming our civilization.”
Perhaps the most important characteristic of Regenerative Leaders is their connection with inner and outer nature, the book says.
Connecting with inner nature is about self-awareness. “Regenerative Leadership Consciousness asks for a calm inner grounded-ness and awareness of one’s own triggers, habits and shadows combined with an intuitive sense of the inter-relationality of living systems. The more we upen up to life through our cultivated self-and-systemic awareness, the more life can unfold through us.” Elements are presence, whole-body intelligence and connecting to a greater wisdom than only the left brain. “When we are coherent with ourselves we become better leaders.”
Connecting with outer nature is about healing the separation from our natural environment. “We are asking of Regenerative Leaders 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.”
Other elements of Regenerative Leadership are embracing feminine qualities, thinking in systems, immersing oneself in the emergent dynamics unfolding within and around us, connecting to the “all-pervasive energetic field” and becoming conscious of organizations as “energy-flow networks”. According to the authors, Regenerative Leaders become more purposeful, more human, more real, more relational, more connected, more compassionate and more authentic.
They write that this concept of leadership is applicable in every organization. They consider it necessary to start working this way but they warn it might not be easy. They say that there is a push for change into this direction because it is the only way to stay competive and resilient in this VUCA world. And there is a pull because we know we have an innate obligation to contribute to a better world. They suggest to start small and make a business case that covers both the push and the pull. The book ends with practical suggestions for how to embark on this journey without having all the answers at the outset.
Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm. Regenerative Leadership. The DNA of life-affirming 21st century organizations. Wordzworth, 2019
Laura Storm is a keynote speaker at the ELP Annual Leadership Conference 2023, see https://www.leadershipconference.eu/