Regenerative Leadership: The DNA of Life-affirming 21st Century Companies

The intuition of most business leaders attuned to world events recognizes that creating a better relationship for how business interacts with nature and society is an imperative. Regenerative Leadership by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm maps out why.

Bringing together the best thinkers on systems, combined with insights from diverse fields, including the nature of economies, they provide a wide lens for business leadership. Not enough executives, shareholders, or their boards consider the impact of their decisions on the conditions that support a vibrant economy. Regenerative Leadership brings the impact home, illuminating the opportunities for business, then walks you through the principles, and framework to meet complexity through the wisdom of nature.

All life forms and life support systems create the conditions for vitality: economic, social and ecological. Somewhere in history, business became separated from the source. Business has a history of extracting and exploiting the natural systems all life, in all its diverse forms, rely on for prosperity and vitality. The credit line and contribution of the natural world is seriously over-drawn handing business the responsibility to restore and rejuvenate the conditions for prosperity.

The authors contend that, in the short window available to reduce carbon emissions, it is vital that business practices shift to a regenerative role. Their logic points to a stronger, resilient and ethical leadership requiring deeper competencies at the personal and collective levels. The case for embodying regenerative leadership thinking is explored through multiple lenses. Each is substantiated by research. The result is a picture of an emerging reality inviting business leaders and decision makers to adapt.

Complacently, traditional business thinkers may file some of the concepts as orbiting somewhere near Pluto. Yet, if a global pandemic has taught one thing, it is that complacency is not a strategy to either survive or thrive in. It may take more than one read for the profound shift in perspective to take place. Foreseeing the outworn excuse "but that won't work here", the authors have included companies that exemplify the modern and progressive management ethos. Each example clearly confirms that it is not the sector you are in or the uniqueness of your company that makes things 'not work', but it is the failure to try something different. Willingness to experiment and learn is central to strengthening the resiliency companies need and the Covid-19 pandemic necessitates.

The book closes with two chapters full of tools to apply the concepts. Anyone with a curious mind can explore alone or in a team, what the organizational world looks like when viewed through the lens of systemic interrelationships. A new lexicon further defines the world-view described in the book - much needed - to differentiate from the old.

In the context of recovering from the Covid pandemic, Regenerating Leadership provides navigational insight, a bright beacon for what companies can aspire to achieve. Most importantly, it presents the alternative to the temptation to run back to business as usual when leaps of performance are within reach. Interruptions to business habits are best used for innovative purposes; to adapt, renew and rethink. Employees and consumers expect business to contribute a more beneficial role to society and nature. Regenerative Leadership shows them the way. The timing is perfect.

Reviewed by Dawna Jones, author of Decision Making for Dummies, co-author of From Hierarchy to High Performance with Doug Kirkpatrick and contributor to The Intelligence of the Cosmos by Ervin Laszlo.

You can learn more about Giles Hutchins's first book, Future Fit, in Dawna's Evolutionary Provocateur podcast episode with Giles Hutchins.