#57 Inclusion as a lever for regenerative ecosystems with Graham Boyd

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"inclusion is about recognising everything that is inadequately connected with everything else and increasing the connectivity"

A very insightful conversation with Graham on what inclusion is and how it can encourage ecosystem thinking. We discuss the structures and interactions in a process of constant flux as opposed to a more rigid model, and the fact that as the world changes, inclusion changes; culture will always be ‘catching up’ so we must build adaptable organisations and focus on the sweet spot of viability.

We often try to shoehorn new methodologies into old systems, whereas what we really need are new, structured dialogue patterns to allow people to hear and understand their own stories and act on their self-identity accordingly. This is not about problems to fix, but rather mysteries to explore.. how can we constantly and curiously nudge the system ?

Graham shares his insights, research and experience from working with businesses and leaders across the globe, from large corporates to start ups

The main insights you will get from this epsiode are :

Stratum 1: personality - each individual is a complex ecosystem. Inclusion is already an issue here as we each reject some part of who we are, and we grow and change over time. We must learn how to be inclusive with ourselves and allow ourselves to evolve.

Stratum 2: interpersonal - the next layer of complexity that includes all of stratum 1 plus new interactions/emerging connections. Every team member has a different reality, filter and view. Stratum 2 is also about culture - the consequence of all the different meaning-making stories of individuals, including ‘complementary pairs’ (seemingly mutually exclusive, but actually different sides of same coin).

Stratum 3: abstract - systems and the interactions of roles, accountability and tasks. Our work structure and personality are deeply intertwined - we should aim for sociocracy and agency to define our identity.

Stratum 4: ecosystem - all systems and interactions between stakeholders and the capitals they represent. Invested stakeholders with a share of wealth and power is not democratic - natural capital, built capital and personal capital give no voting rights, leading to a lack of inclusivity.

Stratum 5: local economic ecosystem

Stratum 6: global economic ecosystem

- Inclusion at team level means exploring the mysteries of both the individual and collective interpretation of stories. People in the wrong role give rise to a dysfunctional system and results in an inverted pyramid where leaders feel a need to prove their worth whilst followers doubt themselves.

- For a community to exist, there must be a line between membership and non-membership, i.e. some exclusion is needed for an organisation to function. The role of culture is to establish this boundary and determine the requisite degree of inclusion for an organisation to be both functional and values-aligned.

- As the world changes, inclusion changes; culture will always be ‘catching up’ so we must build adaptable organisations and focus on the sweet spot of viability. We often try to shoehorn new methodologies into old systems, whereas what we really need are new, structured dialogue patterns to allow people to change their self-identity.

- Holocracy is when strata 1, 2 and 3 are aligned and highly inclusive. If stratum 4 is misaligned however, there is a lack of inclusion where power really sits and the business is destined for failure. We must build companies inclusively across all 4 strata.

- Inclusion in the natural world does not try to suppress itself to fit into a new system but offers the promise of rebuilding and retaining everything of value. It is about creating organic regenerative models: when ‘old bits’ die away, whole ‘new bits’ grow back.

- We should view organisations as living things that are constantly adapting and moving. The art of inclusion is to increase regrowth, prevent death and experiment to do so.

- A regenerative approach must protect the freedom of part of the organisation to do things differently; eliminate interference by intermediate layers of the hierarchy; aim for shareholder buy-in and work with primary investors to scale change across the organisation.

Systems perpetuate stories and inclusion lays the foundation for culture – how can we nudge the system?

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