Regenerative Business and Regenerative Leadership
A regenerative business leader understands that their business is part of a complex and ever-changing ecosystem. You know that every business decision impacts the future of our planet. As a result, every service and product is designed from this fundamental understanding.
What is Regeneration?
The term Regeneration emerged as a people-centred approach to business in the 1980s and transitioned into a nature-centred approach circa 2015.
The current approach is to learn from nature’s wisdom as a pathway for the survival of humanity by restoring the world’s biodiversity and halting all environmental extraction and destruction. The thinking is based on the idea that when you prioritise life-affirming conditions, healing and thriving are possible.
The reparation focus is on restoring thriving communities for all living beings. This means all people, all land, all marine ecosystems, all freshwater ecosystems, all flora and all fauna.
Regeneration is generally considered to be a pathway rather than a system. Deeply reflective practices and conversations are encouraged to explore our thinking in the past, present and future. Current regenerative thinkers widely believe this is the only way to save humanity in the current ecological emergency and climate transition.
So while the above definition, I believe, is all-encompassing of the intellectual description of regeneration, your personal regenerative journey will, by nature, challenge many ways that you currently think and view the world. The need for support in this process is building new, innovative communities and nature-based practices.
Let’s explore how this relates to us as business owners. We already have triple bottom lines to look after and feel like we are at our maximum capacity on a daily basis, so we must first create the conditions that will allow us to thrive and be inspired by regeneration as a new way of being in the world. This requires personal time out. For you, this may be a restorative retreat that includes regenerative learning and conversations. It may be personal coaching or mentoring with someone who understands regenerative thinking. It may also be helpful to join a community of thinkers so you can learn from many instead of one. The bottom line is that the first step to thinking about your business regeneratively requires thinking about yourself and learning about it before rushing into an application.
Regeneration is not a five-step process you can pick up, learn and apply. This is how we have thought about innovation in the past and it is part of what Regenerativists call ‘old-paradigm thinking’. We need to think differently if we want different results in the future, but we also need to BE different. And knowing how to BE is the very first step.
Anyway, that gives you ‘time out’ to explore this concept that is deeply restorative to you before you can tackle your business change.
People, Planet and Profit
Regenerative Leadership creates value beyond profit. Simply said, you seek to give more than you take. For example, all businesses have a supply chain, even if it is just one person. Supply chains then grow in complexity once manufacturing, raw materials and shipping are added to the mix. Once you start thinking about how every single ingredients and process in these elements lead back to nature and biodiversity – every single time – you can then start to grasp the courage and complexity required to examine every stage of the supply chain and its impact on all living beings. This is both overwhelming and necessary if we are going to see real change to our humanity and our planet. It is a do no harm, leave-no-stone-unturned approach, which takes time, but is worth the journey.
Regenerative business is inclusive of new economic thinking such as doughnut economics, Circular Economy thinking, which is based on avoiding waste in a supply cycle and The Sharing Economy, which is based on saving carbon as well as cost. There is equal attention to human rights, animal rights and environmental rights and the rights of all living beings. Some groups seek to protect these rights by law. The Better Business Act and Client Earth are indicative of many examples that understand the need for systemic change for regeneration to be possible.
A regenerative business moves business away from the old paradigm of profit at all costs because of the inherent understanding that every living and non-living thing, including the planet as a whole system that we share.
Farmers and indigenous cultures have been talking about interconnection for decades, heralding an era of sustainable agriculture and land stewardship. A shining example of a regenerative business, among others, is Patagonia.
A holistic and intuitive way
A regenerative business owner may also embrace their purpose with a philosophical and holistic, life-affirming way to operate a business. This is also known as great instinct, projection or hypothesis in some modalities. I like to call it what it is, Intuition. I did a TEDx talk on intuition to explain how cultivating this inherent skill helps us think differently and embrace new paradigms.
Where do I Start? Find your pathway to becoming a regenerative business.
Everyone is at a different stage of sustainability or a regenerative journey. Actually, some business owners calling themselves purpose-led or sustainable are already regenerative in their approach. The first step would be to speak with a regenerative mentor, coach or creative to assess your current position and vision. It’s not a sudden overnight change to regeneration, but it can be a sudden decision. Just begin.
If you are ready to join a supported experience, I run THE GROWTH EXPERIENCE once a year, where a journey of regeneration can begin to unfold in a very practical way if you are an established business owner. This is ideal for solo business owners or small companies. You can register your interest here for 2023 here.
If you are a leader or working in a corporate or charity, then you are best to contact me personally to start a conversation about what a personal journey could look like. A starting point may be a simple conversation or a deeper experience such as Nature’s Boardroom.
Recognised thought leaders in this field include Carol Sandford, Laura Storm, Giles Hutchins and Peter Hawkins. But I would recommend you widen your scope to include organisations such as The Work that Reconnects and Regeneration Pollination.
You only need the will to become a regenerative business leader. This includes small business owners, global companies and solo entrepreneurs. Once you know that every action, thought or feeling in your business has a direct impact on all physical and non-physical energies, you have embraced regeneration. This new paradigm of thinking is the most resilient way to run a business in this ecozoic era.
Once you have read a few books and find your enquiry wanting to deepen, then get in touch, I’d love to talk more with you.