Where does spirituality meet leadership?

sunsetThere’s a crisis in many modern organisations:  Who are they serving? What is their essence? How should they operate?

This week reveals the most shocking analysis of how a major ‘public service’, South Yorkshire police, not only systematically covered up, for 27 years, its culpability in the deaths of 96 football fans, but how it brazenly and knowingly set up innocent others as the causes of the tragedy at Hillsborough stadium.
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Future Considerations adopts Holacracy
Future Considerations adopts Holacracy

Future Considerations adopts Holacracy

Fresh from a 2 day training workshop with the lovely Nick & Sally from Evolving Organisations, we’re delighted to announce that Future Considerations has adopted Holacracy.

We’ve always been committed to discovering the models of leadership and organisation that are most fit-for-purpose in the volatile times in which we live. And to practise them on ourselves.
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Reinventing Leadership Development

Optical illusion surrealistic portrait front with cut out profile of a young man isolated on grey wall background

Gallup research shows that, worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs. The statistic is shocking and means more than three-quarters of employees are wasting their time, energy, and their organisation’s resources. How can we mobilize the creativity and collective intelligence in our organisations to turn this around?

For a challenge this massive, we need more than yesterday’s mindsets and leadership development approaches.
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Future Considerations turns 15

happy birthdayI am writing this on Future Considerations’ 15th birthday (February 2015). It’s quite a milestone for any organisation – and also for me personally, as I have journeyed (personally & professionally) with Future Considerations since its early days.

At our annual gathering in December, Bill Torbert shared his model of the successive Action Logics that organisations typically develop through. Just as many believe that children, leaders, and societies evolve through developmental stages, so do organisations. Frederic Laloux provides an excellent summary of these stages in Reinventing Organisations (read more here). As we explored Torbert’s theory, a reflection on our own path over the past 15 years seemed to validate it.
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Georgian song & leadership: more related than we think.

FC_living leadership bannersFor those familiar with the work of Barry Oshry, the North American systems theorist who has dedicated his life to uncovering the limiting patterns that exist within organisations & their leaders, the words Top, Middle & Bottom may have a particular extra meaning or significance. But have you considered their relationship to UNESCO Cultural Heritage Georgian Polyphonic singing?
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Conscious Business Collaboration

Picture1It’s heart-warming to acknowledge that conscious business offshoots are alive, well and flourishing in the UK.

In the last 10 years I have had the privilege to work with many organisations and initiatives promoting more conscious forms of business. These have included the B Team, WBCSD, World Blu, Breakthrough Capitalism, Future 500, Sustainable Brands and 1% for the Planet. But what more could be done, if these organisations had the opportunity to collaborate together?
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So what’s this “Teal” organisations thing?

iStock_000025546849_Medium (2)There has been some major buzz generating about “Teal” organisations.  It started with Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations and has been amplified by other conversations.  One of the example organisations, the Dutch healthcare company Buurtzorg, has particularly inspired people in Europe, and its founder/CEO Jos de Blok is a regular speaker on the topic. Further boost to the volume has come from the skeptical media attention for Zappos.  But then that is to be expected with a high profile organisation trying something new. And while Laloux’s book is a brilliant start, it can be only that, and if we are to make good use of the opening he is creating, we had better understand what else is required on the journey to teal organising.
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More than a mountain to climb

teamkenyaIn April I will be climbing Mount Kenya. It is almost 5,000m high (as high as Base Camp Everest), and will take me 5 days to summit the mountain and get back down. I’ll walk in temperatures ranging from 30c to -20c and, if I’m unlucky, potentially face the perils of mountain sickness.

I will walk for up to 8 hours a day on some days and on the last day will wake up at 2am to reach the summit by sunrise. And that’s only the beginning of my challenge….
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Is Barry Oshry’s Systems Thinking Still Relevant at the Teal level?

reinventionA significant number of leaders we meet are interested in a new way of organising: one that is centred on a larger and more compelling sense of purpose than just meeting the numbers, which liberates human potential and treats people as whole human beings not just human resources.

We partner with these leaders to steward responsibly and practically this transition in their own organisation and our work spans a number of areas including Barry Oshry’s Systemic Frameworks and applying the insights from the work of Frederic Laloux and his best-selling management book “Reinventing Organizations”.
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Are Teal Organizations naturally sustainable?

penguinsDuring our research earlier this year, we identified two key drivers that limit the progression of organisations to address the global sustainability challenges.

A lack of a clear definition of what sustainability means and a strategic approach.

And a predominant organisational paradigm which “separates mind and body, subject and object, culture and nature, thoughts and things, values and facts, spirit and matter, human and nonhuman” (Wilber 1995, 4). This dualistic and reductionist approach overlooks the complexity of the sustainability challenge.
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The quality of Attention in a virtual world: MOOC MITx U.Lab

CollectiveIntelligenceCollective intelligence is very powerful face to face, but I believe we are at the edge of making it work in very interesting ways virtually. And this opens up new possibilities for collective leadership practices at many scales.  The internet is making a huge amount possible in terms of day to day global connectivity.  But it is where we are coming from and the quality of attention we bring to this connectivity that really matters.
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Leading from the Heart: the field of collective intelligence
Male anatomy of human organs in x-ray view

Image courtesy of HeartMath.org

What does it take to lead from our full potential in these challenging times? Humanity faces a whole series of highly dynamic and interconnected challenges: social, economic and ecological. Many of the systems we depend upon are in crisis.  And this is being played out on many scales simultaneously. Yes it is an enormous challenge. But it is also a tremendous opportunity and a call to continually develop new leadership capacities.
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Mindful Nation UK Report

mindfulnationukreportToday is a turning point for the global view of the value of Mindfulness in our modern lives.

After a year of intensive research by a committed group of mindfulness practitioners, teachers, leaders and policy makers, the final report from the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) and the Mindfulness Initiative released the “Mindful Nation UK” report at British Parliament.
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Sustainable Development Goals – Upgrading the business agenda

SDGsI have recently returned from 10 days in New York. They weren’t any 10 days. They were the 10 days around the UN Sustainable Goal Summits. I was privileged to witness the largest gathering of world leaders in history for the adoption of 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. What a buzz it was to hang out with pioneers, visionaries and Industry disruptors.

During my time, I was invited to attend various forums specifically looking at how to integrate the Global Goals with existing and new initiatives in all aspects of society: Government, Non-Government, Youth led movements, and Businesses.
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Mind the Gap between Organisational Design and Sustainability

Mind-The-GapWhy is embedding sustainability within an organisation still the ‘holy grail’ for many?

We hear many Sustainability managers bemoaning the fact that the day-to-day business managers within their organisation are not focussed on sustainability issues. It’s either not on their radar, they actively dismiss it, or they think it’s something that gets taken care of by people in the sustainability function.
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Reconsidering Leadership Development

whatisleadershipWhat is Leadership? I ask the question, as I believe that most of the time, most people, have difficulty answering this question.

The difficulty lies in that leadership is a social phenomenon, which appears differently depending on the context. Leadership within a group of fire fighters evacuating a building and dealing with a blaze, will be utterly different to that of a group of academics running a University department. Indeed, precisely what made the fire fighters effective in leadership would make these academics ineffective.
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Uncovering the Grammar of the Social Field

If you are interested in the invisible dimension of leading profound social change — and in a blend of action science and consciousness to illuminate that blind spot – then read on…” This was Otto Scharmer’s invitation on his Huffington Post blog recently. Otto went on to explain “Today, in most social systems, we collectively produce results that no one wants. These results show up in the form of environmental, social, and cultural destruction. The ecological divide (which disconnects self from nature), the social divide (which disconnects self from other), and the spiritual divide (which disconnects self from self) shape the larger context in every large system change today.
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Could Teal be the new Green?

It is old news: the planet is in crisis. The signs and warnings can be ignored, but the consequences are increasingly unavoidable. The media, though it may dance between the arguments of climate change affirmers and deniers, nonetheless presents a gloomy, foreboding future. So you could be forgiven for skipping this article thinking that it is yet another fear-mongering, guilt-inducing polemic. But hear us out: we are introducing a promising organisational approach that we believe can heal the rift between businesses and the planet.
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Communities of Practice: it’s about loving the work

I recently had the privilege of working both with my colleague, George Pòr and the NHS in Yorkshire and Humber on a project involving the establishment of a network of Communities of Practice (CoP’s). George is an expert in introducing CoP’s in Europe and the client in the NHS was hungry to learn.

Communities of Practice (CoP’s) break through the traditional boundaries of organisations to bring together those with a deep knowledge and passion for their work. Whilst, in the instance of our NHS client the context was health and, ultimately improving the experience of care for patients, the context for a CoP can be anything from heavy industry to research labs or retail. What is at the heart of the approach is that the people involved have their own strong motivation to be part of it.
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What does Wholeness mean in the context of Teal Organising?

Here at Future Considerations, we are engaged in an inspiring and challenging exploration of how to practically apply the insights from the work of Frederic Laloux and his best-selling management book “Reinventing Organizations”. This exploration is taking place both internally, as we evolve to the next stage of ‘teal’ organising at Future Considerations, and externally with teal-orientated clients, practitioners and collaborators. The term ‘teal’ refers to the new paradigm or level of consciousness from which the leaders and next-stage organisations operate.

Wherever the exploration is taking place, there’s one thing in common: there’s some big questions being asked and new ground being charted. One such question is what does Wholeness mean in the context of ‘teal’ organising?

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Summer Reading List

With the summer solstice behind us and the promise of lazy vacation days ahead, we asked our Future Consideration colleagues to recommend their pick of some of the best ‘leadership’ books around at the moment. From Rushkoff’s observations of the “always-on now” cultural phenomenon to Shackleton’s heroic sea journey almost a hundred years ago – we’re sure our Summer Reading selection has something for every taste.
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Sustainable Development Goals: time to bring in the Millennials

We are inheriting an economic value system where we value more a dead fish over a live one, a dead tree over a forest, sick people over healthy ones, war and threats of war over peace. An economic value system where we privatise profits and socialise losses, and a disconnected system that works on the economic logic of unlimited growth of organizations on a Planet of finite resources.

I believe the time is now for the transfer of power from the Baby Boomer plus generation to the Millennial Generation.
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Millennial Power: Let the Future Decide its Future | TEDxUniversityofStAndrews

Darshita Gillies, an Associate of Future Considerations, delivered a powerful TEDx talk earlier this year at St Andrews University.  A Millennial herself, Darshita calls for the transfer of power from the Baby Boomer plus generation to the Millennial Generation in order to safe guard the future of humanity.

Listen to her integrated proposal of how to engage Millennials worldwide to participate in the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
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A Unique combination of Oshry Systemic Frameworks and Mindfulness

An opportunity to both practice mindfulness as well as to enter into an unusually powerful learning experience about our organisations’ dynamics (Oshry) is a rare experience – in fact it might well be unique. The ‘Resilient Leadership for Turbulent Times’ workshop that I attended last month certainly offered much to savour, for mind and for body.

By guest writer: Matthew Mezey, On-line engagement/culture change specialist and co-author of “Anti-Hero: the Hidden Revolution in Leadership & Change”. @MatthewMezey 
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Integrating leadership development, innovation and social impact for purpose-led growth

2015 is being heralded as the year for action on climate change, inequality and poverty. Two pivotal UN summits are the focus: the post-2015 development agenda will result in new global goals to end all forms of poverty, discrimination, and inequality; and COP21 where 196 countries will meet to agree on a new climate change agreement.

There is no denying that the world needs strong political leaders and multi-stakeholder collaboration to address these complex challenges.  And there’s no denying that some global corporations are proactively stepping up to play their part too. However, with the exception of a handful of leading organisations, much of these efforts can feel like ‘bolt ons’, separate from the core activity of leading the business and innovating in the market place.
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Lateral thinking: Alzheimer’s & Entrepreneurs

60% of people with dementia wander off, an issue that can prove hugely stressful for both patients and caregivers. Teen inventor Kenneth Shinozuka explains in this video how he came up with a novel solution to help his night-wandering grandfather and the aunt who looks after him … and how he hopes to help others with Alzheimer’s.
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How can core purpose influence leadership in sustainability?

Otto Scharmer says that leaders need to shift their consciousness from an ego-system awareness to an eco-system awareness in order to serve the well being of all rather than benefiting the few.  It’s a shift that requires us to expand our thinking from the head to the heart.

New research published by MIT Sloan Management Review, BCG and the UN Global Compact – Joining Forces: Collaboration and Leadership in Sustainability  shows that
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Reinventing Organisations – where talent blooms and our callings are honoured

Frederic Laloux’s highly acclaimed management book Reinventing Organizations explains how every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness, it has also invented a radically more productive organisational model. I witnessed this new stage of consciousness come alive in the audience at the RSA London last week, as Laloux talked about his Evolutionary-Teal perspective and his view on How to become a Soulful Organisation. You can watch a 7-minute excerpt of his talk here. Or if you want more, you can find a 20 minute version  of it (the talk is 20 minutes, the rest is Q&A) here.
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Spirituality – refreshing the parts that performance management can’t reach

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in the UK published an ambitious report last month: Spiritualise – Revitalising Spirituality for 21st Century Challenges. The report seeks to integrate scientific understandings of human nature with an exploration of the role and understanding of spirituality in society. It’s a bold initiative which aims to straddle academic rigour, readability and practical insights for policy and action. Five themes struck me about spirituality in organisations:
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The Art of Conversational Leadership

I recently attended a fantastic session with the poet David Whyte entitled “Life at the frontier: the art of conversational leadership”. I know his poetic work and have admired it for a long time but I am also intrigued by his work in organisations and, as the title suggested, his “take” on leadership.
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