Regenerative Leadership – What It Is and Why It Matters

Recently GAIA Insights hosted a webinar with our fabulous guests, Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins, co-authors of the book “Regenerative Leadership: The DNA of life-affirming 21st century organizations”. When Laura and Giles first met three years ago, their shared conversations quickly led them to conclude there was a “missing link” between our inner and outer living systems in the field of how we lead and operate organizations and communities. Their passion for sustainability and consciousness propelled their desire to make it easier for everyone to apply a regenerative framework and mindset to life.

The book is organized in three parts: Raising awareness on the journey from separation to connection; understanding the DNA of Regenerative Leadership; and practical tools for implementation. The teachings in the book follow learnings from nature such as divergence and convergence, the cycle of seasons, the Logic of Life, the essential intelligence in nature that perpetuates life. Laura and Giles know such rhythms are constant in nature but believe strongly we can also allow them to inform how we show up in our daily life and at work. For example, they consider accepting these natural cycles can bring reassurance to situations of crisis, like the current COVID-19 pandemic – if we know it’s okay to let go, we can pause, and seize the opportunity to prepare for the next cycle of growth.

To apply the wisdom of nature to business, we can start by seeing an organization as a living system, full of relationships that constantly evolve, rather than a machine that needs ‘fixing’. Secondly, we can see an organization’s place within its surrounding environment, its ecosystem. If we apply living-systems logic to product design, organizational culture and our own being, it opens up new perspectives that can help resolve various business challenges, ultimately leading to much needed innovation. Embracing this regenerative approach to leadership won’t change things from one day to the next though; it requires patience, practice and compassion for ourselves and others.

At GAIA Insights, our very own ‘Chief Strategic Dreamer’, Martina Mangelsdorf, has bought into Regenerative Leadership and introduced it to our core team towards the end of 2019. As a team, we looked at the concept and applied some of the exercises to our own organization. We created our own Living Systems DNA Wheel, we illustrated our internal and external Ecosystemic Map and we looked at ourselves and the company from a future perspective. The result is an ongoing workstream of energized team members who continue to shape our offering and the evolution of GAIA Insights as a living system.

At present, it could be said there is something of a collective realization going on about the extent of human interference with nature: The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our global systems and resulted in a wake-up call for individuals, corporations and governments alike. As much as many people look forward to getting “back to normal”, it dawns on many that the often-cited “New Normal” as it was already called far ahead of COVID-19, is now literally sitting on our door step. Each and every one of us has the choice to either be brave and step through that door or keep it closed, blissfully ignoring the world outside our cocoon of comfort and convenience, and continue to live in denial.

For those, however, who are brave enough to be curious about the “New Normal” and willing to embrace it, there lies a whole world of opportunity beyond that doorstep. As every so often when new paradigms emerge, it needs a few courageous early adopters to pave the way for others to follow. Regenerative Leadership can be a helpful lens through which to look at this world of opportunity to (re)build an economy that is life-affirming and in balance with our natural resources. GAIA Insights will help those, who are daring enough but don’t know exactly where to start.

Contact us for more information on Regenerative Leadership and how to integrate it in your own approach to leadership be it as a leader of a team, an organization or simply the leader of your own life. Planet Earth needs every single one of us. Now.

Authored by Daniela Acosta, Program Mentor
If you are curious to learn more about GAIA Insights, read about the world we’re dreaming of at Why Do We Do What We Do