Five years ago, we sold Bath Consultancy Group and I launched Renewal Associates as an independent business specialising in developing Systemic Team Coaching, in a way that brings the best of Organisational Development and Coaching together in a rich blended offering. I decided that the new business would have no web-site, brochures or business cards, indeed no marketing at all, except what books and articles I published. The only work we would do would come from word of mouth and personal recommendation. This has been very successful with more work arriving that we could cope with. So why launch a web-site now? The world does not need more stuff, but it does need more connection that links thinking from different communities and different professional disciplines.
Increasingly we live in a digitally inter-connected world which is greatly challenged on many fronts. Peter Senge commented on how for many millennia, we homo sapiens have learnt how to flourish in localised niches. However, in the 21st Century we have collectively conspired to create one inter-connected global niche but have not discovered how to live and thrive in it.
For many years I have used and developed what I consider the key strategic question for every individual, team, organisation or community: “What can you uniquely do that the world of tomorrow needs?” As I get older and have the privilege of working because I chose to, rather than have to, I increasingly ask myself that question. Having five grandchildren I am very aware of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world we are leaving them to face. I feel a deep sense of responsibility about how we develop the next generation of leadership to face the complex interconnected challenges of the future. I believe I can best contribute helping evolve human consciousness to be fit for the globalised ecological niche of the 21st century. None of us know how to do this or what is needed, but together we need to co-create and experiment with possible ways forward.
Renewal Associates can make an important contribution by using the network, experience, knowledge and resources that we have developed over the last 30- 40 years to address some of the key challenges for the future. To this end we have started the Renewal Foundation, www.renewalassociates.co.uk/renewal-foundation, which is already engaged in some exciting research and collaborative inquiries with leading thinkers and pioneers in many fields.
I am leading a global research project for Henley Business School that is exploring: “Tomorrow’s leadership and what it requires to develop.” This research involves a number of global research partners, who are interviewing CEOs, H.R. Directors and future leaders from 50 organisations across the world. Half of these 50 are leaders in their sectors and the other half are recognised pioneering and innovative organisations, who can highlight routes into the future.
We have also begun a series of video talks and interviews with leading thinkers, which we will make available through this web-site. The first of these is an interview with Nora Bateson, the daughter of the great systemic thinker Gregory Bateson.
I also get many requests from people for copies of past articles, papers and books I have written and so it seems that many of these are still of interest and it would be a service to make these more widely available. We will gradually upload these over the coming year and will write monthly blogs and tweets to introduce the relevance of each piece to the current and future challenges.
M. Forster wrote in Howard’s End in 1910:
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.