Force fields for change-making

Changing human systems starts with understanding them and the glue that holds them together. Human systems are heavily geared towards maintaining themselves and they often actively resist change. They want to conserve themselves. (Equally true for individuals, families, communities, organisations and societies.) Human systems also have the potential to transform themselves when the need arises. Given a big enough breakdown …

Language, being and the business of sustainability

At the heart of all sustainability challenges is the core system requiring an upgrade – the human system.   “Business”, “the economy”, “the supply chain” etc. are ultimately processes where human beings act and interact in social systems. Understanding HOW humans go about the process of organising themselves as individuals and in groups (their ontology)  is critical to sustainability at all levels – from personal …

High class communicators listen differently…

“High class communicators take the responsibility to interpret the understanding of their audience in order to be understood the way they want to be understood.”  Alan Sieler – Newfield Institute. I re-sat Newfield Institute’s 3-day Ontological Coaching In Action workshop last week.   Ontological Coaching is an ongoing practice – like yoga – that helps me be more grounded, balanced and …

Regenerative Design

Observing sustainability differently…

“We don’t see how things are, we see them according to how WE are”.   ― Anaïs Nin Modern neurobiology is providing evidence of what philosophers have been saying for a long time. What we observe is controlled and filtered by our beliefs and values, particularly in complex situations.  How we see and respond to situations is based on who WE are. …

If you can talk, you can change the world…

There’s a proverb from Zimbabwe that my singing teacher quoted a lot: “If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.” Not so many years ago, how humans went about the business of behaviour change was pretty much a mystery.  Those who could do it and do it well were considered to have ‘a way …

Major New Fernando Flores Work Product

As one of the big thinkers behind the development of Ontological Coaching, Fernando Flores is always worth reading.  This article is particularly relevant to environmental sustainability and regenerative business: “Fernando Flores has just delivered a major report to the nation of Chile on the subjects of innovation and preparing for the future. In English, SURFING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: CHILE ON …

Environment: Be angry, but not aggressive…

In a global culture where an underlying mood of aggression and distrust is deeply and subtly embedded, it’s easy to respond to the multiple and increasing threats of ecosystem breakdown with the same aggression that we see played out on a daily basis. However, this is a place where Einstein’s famous quote is absolutely relevant: “Problems cannot be solved with …

Enough with the ‘why’ already!!!

Let’s talk about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of profitable sustainability – because “why we should” has been done to death… Humans need more than why stuff for behaviour change.  If a good reason why was enough to create behaviour change then we wouldn’t have problems with smoking, obesity or any number of other ‘challenges’. To make effective change, most of us need more than …

Language: bringing forth a regenerative future…

“By continually expanding the distinctions available to observe and participate in the world in a myriad of ways, humans increase the diversity of ways they can coordinate their actions. Humans are continually inventing new ways of doing things together and so bring forth new creations, whether it is a new dance, more ecologically sustainable buildings or new forms of communication …

3 simple practices for success in the business sustainability game

GreenBiz.com recently released its 2013 State of the Profession report on the sustainability executive job market.  One of its findings was that there are key ways of being that support sustainability leadership success – particularly curiosity and an ambition to communicate effectively. There is a trio of definable and practicable mindsets that support these ways of being. In the same way …

What’s YOUR sustainability scope?

How do you stay positive and focussed in the face of overwhelm? In a recent interview for The CO2 Manager, I was asked how I stay positive and focussed when sustainability can seem so overwhelming. Thinking about it, what works for me is: To remember that the fact that there are at least 150 million change-makers in the world. To be …

Regenerative business and coaching…

What’s coaching got to do with Regenerative Business?   In a collaboration with Alan Sieler of Newfield Institute, we explored this question in October 2010.  The detail has changed, but the value proposition hasn’t: A business opportunity for coaches We believe that Regenerative Business Coaching is an emerging area of business for ontological coaches and other forms of coaching. A significant challenge for organisation …

A conversational approach to innovation adoption…

So you’ve got a great idea, and you’ve come up with a proposal that will meet the needs of the people you want to use it. Your work here is done… isn’t it? Well, no – it’s not a done deal until you have your invention turned into an adopted practice – that’s the real work of innovation. Your proposed change requires a …

Creating clarity on a sustainable future

In an earlier post “Conversational practices for smart sustainability professionals” I outlined four types of conversations that contribute to effective communication and collaboration. The most overlooked type of conversation is a conversation for clarity, where we articulate and test our understanding of a situation; explore the understandings of others; and develop a shared understanding.  Conversations for clarity  eliminate misunderstandings, build …

Are your opinions making you impotent?

How we understand and explain the world (our assessments) controls what we see, how we act and how we feel.    If our beliefs and opinions are inaccurate or out-of-date we can find ourselves expending enormous amounts of energy without getting the results we want.   We can find ourselves feeling powerless, resentful and on the road to burnout. If …

Powerful conversational practices for smart sustainability professionals

“It is through conversations that we interact with each other, coordinate actions and get things done.  Conversations underpin and accompany everything we do, and what we do and do not accomplish.” -Alan Sieler, ‘Coaching to the Human Soul. Volume 1’ p.249 Getting things done in the world – and particularly in business – happens through conversation.  Yet how many of us …