Becoming 'Future Fit' Enough to Co-create Today's Workplace

01/12/2017 04:41 pm ET Updated Jan 12, 2017

“I am a human cyborg!” declared a manager to a colleague of mine. Though the statement was meant to confirm that there was no place for emotion in the managers’ world, at least in that company’s culture, in today’s world it means you are easily replaced by a robot. The assumption that the brain rules and emotions aren’t a part of decision-making or leadership is facing redundancy as fresh awareness embraces emotions as the platform for engagement and performance. But traditionally managed workplaces are designed on the assumption that emotional control (or is it repression?) supports logical rational reasoning. That is an illusion and not the only one blurring a clear view of reality. For leaders and companies facing uncertainty and an unpredictable future, fear of fear itself will mark the weakest link. So what is involved in becoming fit as new technologies or conditions demand immediate response?

On the path before you and every company is not a mere tweak in thinking. It is a mind-expanding journey that walks you through the badlands, as business forecaster Nancy O’Hara -Devereux so aptly described it in her 2004 book Navigating the Badlands. The ‘badlands’ are here and they lead to ‘good-lands’ providing growth and expansion is selected over fear and contraction. If you’ve ever overcome adversity or invested in your spiritual development you are better prepared than many.

Two qualities distinguish those who would see themselves as conscious aware sentient leaders distinct from the cyborg variety of human in business workplaces:

1) They bring more than their brain to work, engaging foresight, intuition and their creative spirit and,

2) They are insatiably curious with an open mind to learning and a persistent determination to break through stiff and fixed thoughts constraining flexibility and limiting knowledge.

A practical guide to the changing context of business and what it means to you is Future Fit , a workbook providing managers, emerging leaders and decision makers context and steps plus countless examples of companies embarking on the murky zone of transformation. Author Giles Hutchins has synthesized the work inside developing leadership consciousness, providing an arc of transformation both individuals and organizations can follow. No matter what lens you use to filter or interpret reality, you’ll find your lens wider after reading the book, even if you only read some of it.

Future Fit bridges yesterday’s worn out logic to a broader perception with the effect that you’ll have a much better chance of seeing what lies ahead. That’s a good thing since functioning successful in today’s world of complexity means using disruption to advantage to innovate and co-create the why, what, and how of work. The author articulately and successfully brings together a practical overview of the steps to attain a more responsible and higher level of leadership acumen. By advancing your consciousness and mindset you, collectively with others, gain the power to transform the company mission to a higher purpose that benefits all.

Sustainable businesses recognize they are part of an inter-related ecosystem and so put people before process knowing both agility and performance power is found in people. Decisions are made accordingly.

Would your company thrive if it considered the health of society in all decisions?

The touchstones for fitness cover seven modules:

Module 1: Metamorphosis in the Midst- “Flourishing future-fit business requires us to go beyond the surface and symptomatic into transforming mind-sets at deep and partly unconscious levels.”

Module 2: Firm of the Future“…firms of the future apply living-systems logic to thrive in the volatile times ahead.”

Module 3: Shifting Logic- “Shifting our ingrained acculturated logic both personally and organizationally is no mean feat. The good news is that this shift is nothing more and nothing less than an opening up to who we truly are, resulting in more alive, creative, convivial, compassionate enterprises.”

Module 4: Personal Gnosis – “Transforming our organizations and improving our world starts with each of us taking personal responsibility for how we are relating with reality, the intention and attention we hold, and the way in which we relate with, lead and inspire others. This is the front-line in forming our firms of the future.”

Module 5: Organizational Gnosis – “Our prevalent corporate culture is inured in yesterday’s logic, enslaving ourselves, our teams and organizations in ways that undermine our humanity. The good news is that in opening up to a regenerative logic, our workplaces, relationships and cultures become purposeful, passionate, compassionate and creative places, enhancing our natural potential.”

Module 6: Leading Across the Threshold – “Amid increasing complexity, the journey toward a firm of the future requires multiple thresholds to be crossed, asking each of us to be conscious, courageous and compassionate leaders, leading from our heart while using our head.”

Module 7: Alchemy – Alchemy refers to the integration of the masculine and feminine essence that resides in each person regardless of gender and is expressed through organizational focus and interaction. It is the integration that replaces the separation observable in traditional workplaces. Siloes are made of separation; integration is the foundation to co-create, innovate collectively and across disciplines.

The underlying intent of Future Fit is about regenerative business referring to the idea that companies actually “creating the conditions conducive for life to flourish.” This is the opposite of traditional thinking where companies follow self-interest and singular benefit to, for instance, a return to shareholders at the expense of societal and environmental health.

Do regenerative companies exist? Indeed they do or at least those that are in a league by themselves aspire to achieve that goal. These companies left CSR behind a long time ago along with anything else that isn’t an integral part of how they think and make decisions. Nothing is bolted on for appearances sake. Regenerative business works with the entire system – the living system- as Joseph Bragdon describes in Companies That Mimic Life. Regenerative business also fits nicely within the circular economy resulting in boosted profit for companies savvy to the value of bringing input costs down to zero. It is just smart business. Recognition of the company as an ecosystem and living system is woven throughout the pages of Future Fit ultimately leading directly back to the evolution of human consciousness. The source and heart of leadership and a company’s future are rooted in the evolution of leadership consciousness. And that starts with you. Each person embarks on a personal journey of self-realization leading to fulfillment.

The road ahead is an exciting process of reinventing yourself in order to redesign the company to be fit for today’s challenges. Oddly enough, the solutions to the future lie in fundamentally simple principles. Grow yourself and everything else can then grow with you and through you. Exciting times we are in! Are you ready?

Dawna Jones is an organizational designer, speaker and workshop leader delivering insights, developing leadership consciousness (mindset) and decision-making skills fit for uncertainty. She sees the entire system and so supports internal change initiatives by observing the deep dynamics directing success. Her knowledge of complex system dynamics enables application of fresh and sticky approaches to transforming business workplaces and decision-making. Contact Dawna through LinkedIn or directly at

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