The first diary in a series about Kincentric Leadership
In September 2023, I was invited to join the Kincentric Leadership retreat at Findhorn Ecovillage Retreat in Scotland. It was the third retreat in a series of four across the world. USA, Devon UK, Findhorn Scotland and Auroville, India.
You are welcome to follow along with this series as I share how the project manifests and what gifts we hope to co-create for humanity. I also welcome any questions and enquiry.
I appreciate that this is a new concept for many people so this first article will:
- Reframing Leadership in times of the Polycrisis
- Kincentric Leadership: An introduction and definition
- The purpose of the Kincentric Leadership Project
- My Findhorn Retreat experience in September, 2023
- The people, the purpose, the advisors, the facilitators, the non-humans.
- Recommendations on approaching Kincentrism.
1 – Reframing Leadership
How can Leadership be different in the times of a polycrisis.
In her essay The Paradox of Agency by Nora-Bateson says
The very word ‘leadership’ has become cringe worthy. It reeks of colonialism and lopsided history-book listings of individuals successful in taking, making, and claiming. Celebrating the potency of the individual is an insatiable ghost haunting the endless array of courses and manuals for developing leaders.
And from her book “Small Arcs of Larger Circles”
“A good teacher, and a real expert, knows that they are in a process of learning themselves. They are not leaders. They are not making the seeds grow… They are fertiliser, tending to the soil. By definition, leadership is needed when something has to be done that has never been done before. Meeting unknown circumstances requires rapid and spontaneous learning. In the case of today’s leadership needs, that learning is mutual.”
The igniters of this journey are Justine Huxley and Anna Kovasna.
Kaira Jewel Lingo has now also joined us as an on-line facilitator. There is an advisory group that includes Lyla June Johnson, Betsy Taylor, Laurie Layborne, Kritee Kango, Bayo Akamolafe and Danielle Celemajer, Pat McCabe, Rachael Petersen
2 – Kincentric Leadership by definition
“… an experimental field that places direct collaboration with the more than human world at the heart of all interventions, strategy, culture and ways of working. It asks that we include radically other ways of being, learn from multiple forms of intelligence, and that we use our influence to move towards a shared purpose of reciprocal respect, dignity and mutual thriving. “
In the face of the polycrises Kincentric Leadership invites us to include the perspective and intelligence of all life forms, human and non-human, in decision-making processes. This approach recognises the interconnectedness of all beings and seeks to decenter humanity, acknowledging equal importance in the biosphere.
This is not the beginning of this thinking. Leaders from economics, academia, science and business have been in discussion on the topic of regeneration and interconnectedness for decades. Personally, I had a sense something was missing in regeneration and sustainability and had been studying and experimenting in my work as a business mentor with biomimicry, systems thinking and design thinking for the past five years. I recently created the regenerative wheel as a tool to help business owners make decisions, choices and design strategy from a mindset of interconnectedness.
The idea was that if you knew that all actions affected each other, all decision would be made considering all perspectives without harm. I had felt very alone in this work until stumbling across Kincentrism and now fully embrace this philosophy as a way to understand the world, and how business can apply these principles to turn our world around for good in this era of the climate crisis.
When it comes to business, Robin Wall Kimmerer said it best
Kinship makes us feel part of this collective “we,” and many of the social—and certainly economic—institutions in which we are embedded depend on alienation. They depend on isolation. If we are alienated from the living world, then we can commodify the heck out of it. We can extract everything and make it all into property, make it into natural resources, not the gifts of our relatives. So kinning is a very real antidote to saying that the world is just stuff and all this stuff belongs to us. Kinning with Grandmother Moon, with salamanders, with lichens on our rooftop—all of those are acts of resistance to the objectification and commodification of the world.
But I want to say that it also brings us joy.
It brings us joy and happiness, and that too
can be understood as a radical reclaiming
of who we are as humans.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer
3 -The purpose of the Kincentric Leadership Project
began in May 2023 for an 18 month period. A powerful group of changemakers committed to leading from a deep sense of kinship with all life gathered from
4 – My Findhorn Retreat Experience
The first thing that strikes you upon arriving in Findhorn is the land. There is a sense that I have arrived in a very special place, full of energy, life and experience. Arriving at Findhorn, I first learned that it was a community in transition. There was ocean, sandunes, the dolphins and seals came to say hello on a sunny day and spent a wilderness solo hanging out with the smallest mushrooms I’ve ever encountered. I walked the labyrinth by the moon light. Sang and meditated with the community of a morning. Community was created, experienced and challenged.
As I was welcomed in our first circle of human kincentric leaders, the twenty of us that had gathered here, I was in a truly diverse group of people of different ages and from 15 different countries. This was already special before we began. The mark of each participant with their own wealth of wisdom and creativity in navigating the polycrisis was present. Each of us humbly on a learning journey as a way of setting a new style of leadership.
I thought the experience would advance my leadership skills, but what unfolded was a profoundly moving and enlightening journey that has transformed my understanding of the human and non-human world. My heart opened wide as I experienced learning in new and innovative ways. I was reminded to tune into the wisdom and intelligence that emerges when people come together with shared intention.
Getting an email offering me a place at the Kincentric Leadership retreat in Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland was one of the highlights of my year and of my professional life in the last five years. I’ve been on a journey of regenerative leadership, creating frameworks to help business owner grasp what a practical journey of interconnection and new paradigm leadership looks like. It feels lonely sometimes. Coming across this opportunity was a eureka moment for me. I had attended a day on Kincentrism and Kincentric Leadership at Glastonbury, Somerset a month earlier to be sure this was learning that would feed my emerging wisdom. It was facilitated in a way that resonated with me, with nature present every step, every day. I emerged with a commitment to Kincentric principles that deepen my regenerative leadership and explore new ideas that are often beyond human cognitive understanding.
September 9th to 16th at Findhorn Ecovillage allowed us as a group to explore themes and topics related to re-establish living in a global community committed to living within planetary boundaries and learning from nature and the more than human world.
‘More than human’ is a term coined by the American ecologist and philosopher David Abram to inform an alternative to the anthropocentric comprehension of life. ‘More than Human’ allows us to explore our human entanglement with the sentience of other animals and plants, appreciating how non-humans encounter the same world that we perceive yet from an different perspective. When I embrace this term, it increases my expression of the term, interconnectedness which is the basis of The Regenerative Wheel.
The location of Findhorn Ecovillage was a deep learning in itself. A community created 60 yrs. ago from a guided experience. Walking it its famous gardens, we explored themes of indigeneity, belonging, community land rights and decolonization from historical, political and spiritual perspectives.
The facilitators curated experiences that allowed us to senses and imagine the lives and umwelts of other beings, meditated, sang and created art pieces with the land to explore the meaning of kincentric leadership, and did a powerful ritual formulating visions for a kincentric future.
The group was also visited by a not-so-popular more than human being in the form of the covid virus, and got to learn from this microcosm example of how disruption affects leadership, inclusion and our capacity to stay true to our values.
5 – The people, the purpose, the advisors, the facilitators, the non-humans and the funding.
We were joined by inspiring participants each bringing with them a wealth of wisdom and creativity in navigating the polycrisis for the benefit of all life. These are just some of the amazing people we have the privilege to play and learn with as we explore what kincentric leadership through the polycrisis can look like!
Anna and Justine – https://ecovillage.org/ecovillage-resilience-project-dives-deep/
Our guest teachers brought a depth of wisdom and ability in the unspoken to help us connect deeper to ourselves. Through the telling of stories and facilitating our responses, I remain speechless as this process embodied Kincentrism in a way that only experience can do, It is a not a singular, cognitive understanding.
🧭 Alastair McIntosh is a pioneer of community land buyouts in Scotland and is the author of several books including Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (Aurum 2001), Poacher’s Pilgrimage: a Journey into Land and Soul (Birlinn 2016) and Riders on the Storm: the Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being.
🌈 Madge Bray is a trauma expert and Scottish tradition keeper working with song and the ancient tradition of keening through supporting grief and dyring as well as bringing Celtic singing traditions to new audiences
☀️Joshua Konkankoh, indigenous elder, activist and social entrepreneur from Ambazonia, founder and elder of the African Way Association, Bafut Ecovillage, Betterworld Cameroon, Sprit of Ndanifor and Indigenous and Modern, as well as a member of the inner council of the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance.
6 – Recommendations and hot tips on approaching Kincentrism.
When people discover new ideas, there is the desire to look for resources. There are plenty. As this is not a new field, it just has a name that invites decades of resources to come together. I have started a glossary of terms and a resource list here. I also invite you to participate in co-creating this with me. As well as empirical evidence and cognitive learning, I invite you to participate in non-congnitive practices to truly embody the nature of Kincentrism. A balanced combination of academic, somatic, feeling and emotional experience of this concept will inform you on a deep level. In this way, if you remain intrigued, you will begin to embody and embue the essence of Kincentricm through non-verbal understanding.
Do not confuse the definition with the company name Kincentric. They are a USA based organisation culture and have used this name descriptively for over a decade.
As an intuitive and regenerative business mentor, I nurture businesses and their owners to be in service to our planet and fulfill their highest potential. When money is not the central idea of a business, nature becomes our key stakeholder and greatest teacher.
As a conscious business creator and mindful entrepreneur, I have become deeply aware of kinship and social responsibility since I began the first of five business journeys in 1998.
As founder of The Growth Experience I support small business owners with a practical journey of regeneration with personal and business growth, exploring four key frameworks to support transformation.
As a coach informed by systems thinking, design thinking and biomimicry, I support transformational personal journeys for people wanting to create lasting, positive change.
I am a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. It reminds me to always consider multiple generations in my decision making.
I often travel and feel nourished and expansive with the courage, risk, inspiration and personal development it feeds.
I raised a family and ran four business from Byron Bay Australia between 1995 – 2020. I emerged surprisingly as a business owner, post-academic and activist life in human rights and media production for 10 years prior. Sustainability and human rights have shaped my life journey and business endeavours. Intuition is an important compass for me.
Every month I write a love letter to humanity. If you would like to subscribe here is a link https://www.subscribepage.com/regenerativebusiness