Evolving Leadership for our Regenerative Future — Part Two

3 min readJul 12, 2022

This is the second part of a three-part article written by Kelly Olsen and Dr. Dimity Podger, sharing three premises and corresponding areas of inquiry that we have developed as part of our exploration around Evolving Leadership.
If you missed it, read part one, where we introduce the premise of Co-Creation, here.

Each of the three premises offers a facet for inquiry, but they are not separate — each illuminates new ways of seeing the other premises more fully. Thus, together, we hold the three as a system, and they serve as a prism to illuminate and evolve our understanding of the leadership required of us today.

This article shares the premise, Co-Evolution, and invites you to join us in this inquiry.

A key contribution of the field of sustainability was the concept of the “three-legged stool” of development: ecology, economy, and society. Inadequate attention to any one of these would lead to instability for any level of organization.

But even after decades of sustainability efforts, humanity has continued on an unsustainable trajectory on planet Earth.

Sustainability hasn’t effected a radical shift in thinking — for example, living systems are not static stools, and though sustainability acknowledges the interplay of the three “pillars,” it hasn’t adequately grown our ability to think in ways that truly reflect the nature of living systems processes. It also hasn’t connected us in authentic caring ways with the living world, and with each other across the human family.

The intellectual, emotional and spiritual challenge before us is to be able to comprehend and skillfully work with the dynamic complexity of individuals and organizations co-creating with other entities (human and more-than-human) in our Place, through time, towards higher states of well-being than have ever been seen before.

This is huge. And we believe it reflects one of the core proven processes that has enabled life to thrive over 4.6 billion years on Earth: co-evolution.

How do we bring co-evolution as a way of being to life? There are no ready-made answers, or models to follow (actually, paradoxically, models seen as recipes can inhibit our larger aims).

But from the shortcomings of the sustainability movement, we can see a clear imperative — our thinking must evolve.

In Evolving Leadership, we co-evolve our thinking by engaging with framework thinking and formulating higher order questions, such as:

Further deep dives will look at these provocative, transformation-opening questions such as:

  • What type of thinking allows us to give up fragmenting economy, ecology, and society, and instead comprehend and engage with our Lifesheds as co-creators?
  • How do we connect with others and ourselves to discern what’s emerging and serve that deeply (instead of the old paradigm of leadership based in knowing the destination or solution and guiding folks towards that)?
  • What does it take to discern the most skillful and potent focusing point of our work that will enable shifts throughout the system to higher levels of well-being?
  • How does our own personal and organizational development contribute to the development of other living systems’? And also, how is our personal and organizational development influenced by other living systems’ unfolding? How can we configure our own lives, our organizations, and eventually, society — to embody co-evolving mutualism?

Enjoying this inquiry into Evolving Leadership?
You can find out more at https://www.barasaconsult.com/evolving-leadership/




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