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, and insights from diverse fields, including the nature of economies, they provide a wider lens for business leadership.

Brene Brown, in her well-known TED talk stated, "We pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on people. We do that in our personal lives. We do that corporate -- whether it's a bailout, an oil spill, a recall… ." Regenerative Leadership brings the impact of home, presenting the opportunity for business, then walks you through the principles, and framework.

Business has a history of extracting and exploiting the natural systems all life forms rely on for prosperity and vitality. 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 more responsible leadership requiring deeper competencies. 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.

Traditional business thinkers may find some of the concepts orbiting somewhere near Pluto. It may take more than one read for a shift in perspective to take place. The phrase, “but that won’t work here” is one that blocks companies from ensuring their survival. Foreseeing that objection, the authors have included companies that illustrate the management ethos. Each example makes it clear that it isn’t the sector or a specific company that makes things ‘not work’, but a failure to try something different.

The book closes with two tools that help provide visual transparency to the concepts. Anyone with a curious mind can explore alone or in a team, what our world looks like using an eco-logic lens. New lexicon defines the worldview 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 beacon for what companies can aspire to achieve. Most importantly, it presents the alternative to rolling back to business as usual. The timing is perfect. 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.

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 the ideas in Regenerative Leadership in Dawna's podcast with Giles Hutchins.