During our careers, many of us have experienced a moment that goes a lot like this…

It’s a cold late November morning, and you awake with a slight sense of dread anticipating your work day. Your team has been working so hard all year, but there have been several influencers outside your control that have derailed and stifled company growth. Despite your best efforts, the company is behind in their numbers, and the pressure is on.


You gather your notes and walk into the boss’s office for your one-on-one, where you know you’re about to be pressed, prodded, and jabbed about finishing the year on plan. Just as you predicted, no sooner has your weight settled into the chair when you hear, “So, have you seen the numbers?” “Yes,” you respond. He knows you have and is only gathering the wherewithal to ask what he really wants to know, “What are we going to do about it?” The word we strikes you as ironic, because your boss has never been involved in sales performance before, at least not as an active participant. What you hear is, “What are you going to do about it?”


Last month, you and your team worked double-time and made up half the lost ground from earlier in the year, but there is no mention of that today.


You consider the situation. You can absolutely drive your team to get the job done next month. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again. But this time is different. This time, as you look around at your team, you see signs that they are finite human beings about to reach their limits. You feel it too…like you’re standing on shaky ground that is about to become quicksand.


Meanwhile, your youngest daughter has been struggling and the entire family is under stress as you walk through this long dark season with her. Your husband doesn’t understand why you can’t work less so you can be more present at home, and you know exactly where he’s coming from as you recall a time several months ago when he wasn’t there when you needed him. You imagine what he would say if he knew you were contemplating burning the midnight oil for yet another month. But what can you do?


And so, you sit, calm on the outside, swirling on the inside, trying to decide how to respond.

Anyone who has ever experienced this kind of a situation knows that it is extractive, just like any natural resource that is extracted without provision for its renewal.

The problem is  once you get to into this kind of a situation, it’s not an easy thing to step back and consider a more regenerative way to be.

What does a regenerative way of living, leading, and doing business actually look like?

Being regenerative begins with acknowledging that we are living breathing human beings, and therefore, we are constantly evolving. Because our companies are made up of people, they are also living and evolving. When we seek to control or force outcomes, we limit the people in our companies, and worse yet, we can easily extract from them without provision for their renewal.

To contrast the scenario above…

Your boss sees your potential to achieve the annual goal, and he also recognizes how depleted your team is, so he says, “Hey, I have been noticing you and are your team seem a little bit depleted lately. Tell me about that.” You are able to freely talk about your challenges at home and what you’re seeing in your team. Then, he asks, “Well, despite all of that, last month you and your team achieved incredible results for the company, and I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to all of us. Given both the fatigue your team is feeling and how capable you are of performing together, how do you think we could support you as a company and give you room to make decisions, so that you can continue to thrive and succeed together next month and beyond?”

How different would you feel sitting in this chair instead of the one above? This kind of mindset employs nRhythm’s 6 Regenerative Design Principles to achieve outcomes from a position of true health, and health creates the conditions for outcomes to be both abundant and resilient. That means we don’t have to continually force them or stress over them.

The key is recognizing that our companies are not machines that we can control in order to predict or manipulate outcomes. This would work if our companies were made up of inanimate parts, but they’re not. They’re made up of living, breathing human beings who are looking for ways to matter and to unleash their full potential at work.

Let’s look at how each Regenerative Design Principle applies:

Developmental: Growth and health of all members
People are in constant growth and development. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that creates the conditions for all people to grow and thrive, because that’s how our company will thrive.
Nodal: Decentralized and distributed
A healthy thriving company is not centrally controlled and organized. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that does not rely on centralized command and control structures and allows all people in the company to be resourced, empowered decision-makers.
Evolutionary: Maintains a dynamic balance with ever-changing environment conditions
Our environments are constantly and inevitably changing. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that both responds to and also creates change in our organizational environment to maintain a dynamic balance with constant change.
Uniqueness: Original and the possibility of individual genius
Every company and every person in that company is unique and expresses their own individual genius. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that fosters the expression of the genius of all people within the greater context and purpose of the organization.
Interdependence: Inherent value of all relationships
The diversity of the many interdependent relationships that exist within our companies is what enables our companies to experience regeneration, resilience, and abundance. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that recognizes the complexity of our deep interdependence with our clients, suppliers, partners, the communities we serve, and even our competitors.
Holism: The whole is more than the sum of its parts
Because our companies are living systems, abundance can only be understood and achieved when viewing the system as a whole. So, we must design and operate our organizations in a way that values the entirety of the system and maximizes the interdependent contributions of all team members, clients, and partners.

If these principles resonate with you and you want to begin undertaking a new education—one that prepares and equips you to build a company capable of unleashing the potential of every person who chooses to spend their life working alongside you—here are a few resources to get you started:

  1. Download the CEO Forum 2021 Field Guide, to explore these kinds of regenerative principles for yourself.
  2. Check out the new Regenerative Business page on our website to access a variety of courses and learning opportunities offered by nRhythm for you and your team.

Regeneration provides a powerful remedy to disengagement. Cheers to unleashing potential in the year ahead!