The awareness of the need to renew, reinvent and regenerate our social, political, economic and ecological systems everywhere is growing. This can mean different things to different people.
Regenerative Leadership is a pathway whereby leaders can powerfully, holistically and consciously apply creative agency to their businesses, relationships and to all our systems in ways that benefit, rather than degenerate or destroy, the Earth, its species and interconnected systems.
Integral to a burgeoning ‘Regenaissance’ or new Renaissance Movement, Regenerative Leadership recognizes that the ability to create sustainable and resilient societies and systems in a creative rebirth begins with how we use or abuse our inner resources.
It’s an inside-job transmitting outward.
The essence of Regenerative Leadership is about reconnecting with nature and with self, and facilitating the transformation of the symbiotic system for the evolution of all living things and the anchoring of a well-functioning, healthy, new paradigm.
At the operational level, this means hacking and abandoning the customary, ingrained ideas of an organization as a measurable and controllable machine based on competition and recognizing it instead as part of an interconnected, cooperative network of relationships, materials, resources and supply chains at local, regional and collective levels.
In this way, the doughnut models of social and planetary boundaries represent a deliberate approach to solving the deterioration and collapses that got us here, and serve as a viable compass for conscious progress going forward. (Pictured below: doughnut model by Kate Raworth)
Such models are founded upon the integration of thinking and being of living systems and rhythms, and expressed in leadership in all its forms, in contrast to the limiting machine-model approaches that have dominated our collective consciousness for so long.
In 2019 Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins published Regenerative Leadership as a guide for leaders seeking to build organizations that are more resilient, relevant and fit for the 21st century. Instead of focusing solely on material progress and technological breakthroughs, they argue, regenerative leaders must transcend the degenerative models of old by
transforming the DNA of their organizations and institutions from the inside-out.
In the book, they explored the separation between man and nature, man and woman, inner and outer, and left and right hemispheres of the brain as integral to analyzing and transforming the so-called regenerative DNA of an organization and its internal and external ecosystems, and as part of greater and greater, interconnected systems.
Storm and Hutchins maintain that these systems and rhythms are constant in nature, and they firmly believe that we can also let them inform how we present ourselves in the workplace and in life. As life ourselves, we have the inherent potential to reconcile with the biotic community and cultivate life patterns that enhance, rather than corrupt, vitality as a planetary process, in all our key life areas. They highlight the importance of learning from nature’s wisdom to catalyze
both personal and systemic transformation.
Whilst they also acknowledge that the principles of living systems are rarely clean and tidy, they say that the more swampy plains may in fact be where the greatest transformation takes place as part of a necessary detoxing out of old values and modes of operation. Thus as part of the reinvention process, it is necessary to suspend predetermined ideas and outcomes and to be open to how regenerative leadership development may alter more status quo leadership styles, and also, how styles may uniquely differ in different contexts. (There’s no convenient, one-size-fits-all despite clear similarities.)
The overall goal as a Regenerative Leader to lead with your own transformed strategy for advancing your role and that of your company along a path of recovery and as a co-creator of a new paradigm. In this way, the embrace of Regenerative Leadership becomes an exciting lens through which to look into the world and see connections, opportunities and pathways previously missed or ignored but that are critical keys to the development of the new.
Whether you are the leader of a team, organization, or the leader of your life, Regenerative Leadership connects you to something greater than yourself…a regenenerative transcendence…and to the internal-external foundational power to have an inevitable, positive, renewing impact on the systems in which we all participate.