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Regenerative Leadership Competency Framework

I'd like to formally introduce my first iteration of a competency framework for regenerative leaders who are interested in leading complex systems change. We're going to start by sharing the full model with you, and then will break it down over a series of posts to provide additional context and clarity.

In order to lead regenerative change, the first prerequisite is to honor living things around you, including marginalized or oppressed people and natural systems such as water, trees, and earth. Honor is translated into action by the inclusion of necessary stakeholders in the change. Anchor means to set or secure, whether it be anchoring into an individual’s self-awareness or securing key stakeholder involvement in the systems change effort. Ignite is to create the spark that fuels energy for change at the personal and systems level. Unleash is allowing the emergence of positive change, while working within an uncertain and complex environment.

SELF: The first level of self highlights the development of an individual's growth and human potential, which includes the relationships of self to other.

  • Inter-being: deeply understands and recognizes the sacredness of the interconnection of all living things. A Regenerative leader’s role is to cultivate this deep knowing as a pre-requisite to navigating change within any type of living system. Spending time in nature or practicing meditation are two ways to explore this.

  • Self-Awareness: is an ongoing commitment to evolve one’s worldview through reflective self-development. Why does one believe the things they do and how did they become to believe such things? A Regenerative leader is grounded in their own philosophy and is constantly self-examining to better understand the lens of which they view and make sense of reality.

  • Personal Agency: shifts the locus of control to the individual in their personalized self-development journey. It is the individual's responsibility to harness their will and energize their own movement for deepened development. What is the deeper purpose of leveraging one’s gifts at this moment in history? How does that purpose relate to one's job or career that occupies most waking hours of the day? Where is there natural synergy and where is the meaningful opportunity? The Regenerative leader is motivated to explore this for themselves and to model it for others.

  • Potentiality: is based on a developmental philosophy that embraces an infinite and abundant mindset. When focusing on potential for self and others, anything is possible. Regenerative leaders tap into this potent energy and re-frame possibilities to unleash the future.

SYSTEM - The level of "system" includes the necessary combined factors that influence and enable the navigation of complex systems change.

  • System Diversity: is built upon the foundational understanding of inter-being and brought to life in the planning of a stakeholder engagement strategy. A more diverse system leads to a richer spawning of possibility. All members of a living system, including nature, are vital stakeholders. A Regenerative leader’s role is to prioritize and empower those in the change or decision-making process who have been historically marginalized, oppressed, ignored, excluded, or intentionally exploited.

  • Ground the Network: is the practice of identifying the boundary around the system that is changing and anchoring it. What stakeholders need to be included in the conversation and how will they be empowered to interact within the system? The Regenerative leader’s role is to elicit real time data from key stakeholder groups and use that data position the critical conversations needed to move forward. This process facilitates the system’s recognition of its own changing state.

  • System Conditions: works within the paradigm of a complex living system in which outcomes cannot be predicted or controlled. Stakeholders co-create conditions for the desired emerging future, which position the interaction and movement within the system. In an organization, an example of a systemic condition is the degree of peer-to-peer stewardship which enables a rich environment for healthy communication, information, and resources to flow. In a community, systemic conditions can include access to health care, nutrition, education, and resources. The exposure and availability of these factors impact a community member's trajectory over time.

  • Navigate Complexity: encourages an experimental and iterative approach to unleashing transformation in a complex system. The constantly changing and unpredictable external environment requires adopting an agile approach grounded in intuition and inquiry. This creates spaciousness which allows the sensing into the next emerging need. Each cycle builds system resiliency through learning and reflection. Problems are not to be solved, rather they are to be re-framed as opportunities to explore.

Do these ideas intrigue you? Please reach out and let's have a conversation about how this thinking can help lead systems change within teams, organizations, communities and networks.

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