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#146 - The Regenerative Business: Redesigning Work & Cultivating Human Potential with Carol Sanford

January 14, 2021

#146 - The Regenerative Business: Redesigning Work & Cultivating Human Potential with Carol Sanford
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Regenerative medicine, regenerative design, regenerative therapy, regenerative agriculture, and yes, even regenerative business! What do all of these things have in common? They’re bound by the idea that by tuning into the interdependence of systems, we can flourish into a new way of being that’s more resilient and beneficial for everyone.

Regenerative medicine, regenerative design, regenerative therapy, regenerative agriculture, and yes, even regenerative business! What do all of these things have in common?

They’re bound by the idea that by tuning into the interdependence of systems, we can flourish into a new way of being that’s more resilient and beneficial for everyone. 

Carol Sanford is a leader in both regenerative business and, as her latest award-winning book describes, The Regenerative Life.

By treating all aspects of a company as a living system with stakeholders, Carol unlocks growth potential and helps create companies that exceed innovation by being so flexible and strong that they’re incapable of being uprooted.

📄 Full Show Notes & Episode Bonuses:


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Cory Ames  0:07  
Hey y'all. It's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcasts as always so grateful to have you here. Today I am joined by Carol Sanford was a best selling author on multiple books on the regenerative paradigm and practice in organizations roles in society in personal life. Carol has been a consistently recognized thought leader working side by side with Fortune 500 in New Economy, executives in designing and leading systemic business change and design. Carol works with executive leaders who see the possibility to change the nature of work through developing people, and work systems that ignite motivation everywhere. For over four decades, Carol has worked with great leaders of successful businesses like Google, DuPont, Intel, Procter and Gamble in seventh generation, and she's helped to educate them to develop their people and ensure a continuous stream of innovation that continually delivers extraordinary results. Carol is also the founder and leader of the regenerative business development community, with members topping near 500. Meeting in locations all around the world, as well online. Highly recommend checking it out. She also hosts the regenerative Business Summit. Carol is also a founder and leader of the regenerative business development community with almost 500 members, meeting in locations all around the world, now online, with leaders from multiple companies, all learning and collaborating together, as well. Carol hosts by quarterly events in annual regenerative Business Summit, highly recommend checking out Carol's work Carol sanford.com. In our conversation today, we talk about the regenerative life and the regenerative business. As mentioned at the top Carol is the author of five best selling books. The latest is the regenerative life transform any organization or society in your destiny. The one previous is the regenerative business. Each of those two books I've had the pleasure of reading myself. I'm now inspired, especially after this conversation with Carol to go back into the Carol Sanford archives and dig up her other books. But in our chat today, we talk about how Carol's work is deeply rooted in the belief that people can grow and develop beyond what their leaders or anyone else sees the possible to be themselves increasingly more entrepreneurial, innovative, and responsible in their business and personal actions. In our chat, Carol depicts for us what it means, or at least starts to depict for us what it means to run a regenerative business as well live a regenerative life. I think you'll really enjoy this conversation. You'll see Carol certainly challenges me in some language that I use and you can tell she's she's very attuned to what sort of mental constructs and frameworks we're currently working within. But before we jump in, I want to recommend that you sign up for our Better World weekly newsletter, which is our weekly newsletter we send out to our growing global community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors all over the globe. Every single Monday I write, curate and publish this email myself to do so you can go to grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter. At the moment, we have 15 103 folks getting this email every single Monday, and that's growing by the day. So join this community join in our discussion of building a better world go to grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter. Alright shall without further ado, here is Carol Sanford. Well, Carol, I really appreciate you being here with me on the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. For folks who are unfamiliar with you, would you mind introducing yourself and sharing with us a little bit as to what it is that you do? 

Carol Sanford  4:27  
My name is Carol Sanford, I don't do i b as much as I can. So one of the things I am is a disruptive force as much as possible. And I do that I chose the arena of business, not because it is what the regenerative concept is about. It's about a paradigm a way of viewing the world and literally shifting but I see business as the platform where you can either do the most damage or the most Making transformation. And if you can build the mind of people who are leading in the business arena, and who have a strong pole toward doing that in some meaningful way, then you have a chance of actually working on know that chips and things. So I work primarily with business, but I run the regenerative paradigm Institute. Also Carol Sanford Institute, which is where a lot of our communities are built out of, I write a lot of books I've written, I don't even know how many five are still in print. And four of them are targeted toward business. One of them is the most recent is the regenerative life. It's about looking at the roles we play in society, what I say is the nine most foundational, Cornerstone Keystone roles, no roles, that could give us a world where all of life can prosper. So that's who I am.

Cory Ames  6:03  
And so I'd love to start with what seems to be something of a prolific nature of yours to to create and publish so much. You mentioned that the five or so books I've gotten through to myself, which are really rather Excellent. And then the for podcasts, all the other organizations and communities that that you host and run, I'd be curious to know, how do you feel you are accomplishing so much.

Carol Sanford  6:32  
I feel like I'm kind of a channel through which things come I don't feel like I work half time. And people are always startled by that. But I know how it happens. Maybe that's, and I know a bit about why I discovered very, very young as I think many of your listeners probably did, that there was something they wanted to be able to Well, first, you just wanted to have a meaningful life. And I figured that out four or five years old, because I was being restrained from doing that. I didn't grow up in the best of families. And along the way, I was searching, searching, searching. And I had a whole series of people and processes and ways of thinking that got I got exposed to most people don't. And that led me to the idea that the way we are conceptualizing things is off somehow. And I wanted to figure that out. How I do it is because the way I teach people to work is so everyone can have a mind. That is under their own management. Most people can't self manage their own mind, I give people the exercise and I say, next time you're going to sit down and eat, watch the food, your body image, what the Taser image would be if you had two things on your plate the mouse at the same time. And now try and eat them and hold on to that inch and compare it and most people, the minute they have food coming in and can't remember anything. And you can do any, I've got hundreds of exercise like that. But you have to build the discipline to be able to be self determining what you think how you think how you are in the world. And the other is you have to have a ways to think about it, that allow you as you're working on the world to make sense of it, but not be dependent on experts. Like I'm not an expert, I'm still figuring out the world. And as long as I've got a body, I'll keep working on that. I work with a version of critical thinking skills that comes out of living systems. And it's ancient, I didn't create it. I think I've refined it and add to it and built something and particularly built processes so people can learn to do it. So you can ask give me a subject. And people do this all the time, we're not going to do it on air, because it takes a little longer, but you can give me a subject like democracy or the electoral process, which we're still immersed, you're right now are parenting. And I can if you've been building some skill in the use of these living systems framework to learn to look at how life works, and you don't get trapped and all your attachments and all your diversions. It all your own arrogance and hubris. And you can actually make sense of what the minute I do that I cannot not write it down. And so I I write I'm writing four books right now, which are a series which again, came from one of those. They came from something you have in the book, one of the books of mind you read the rigidity business, where I have something called 30 Toxic practices, and that's out of 105 that I've identified so far, like feed back and like performance reviews and they're toxic because they're toxic to human capability and capacity. But the minute I saw how toxic they were, I had to know exactly why, where it came from. And I could not write those as a chapter in that book. Well, now I'm taking the arrows I now understand those came from. And a little bit of this is research, but I'm not a great digger through books. I, I watch it and I make sense out of what's happening in the world. I talked to people, and I have to write it down. I do podcasts because people my particular my favorite one right now is business second opinion that we do and it critiques Harvard Business Review one article in Time, I don't interview people, I am the On Air talent I, Zach swartout, who's my colleague, and also remember one of my communities that I take that one article, someone suggests, and we examine it using frameworks, managing ourselves so that we don't create our own projections. And not that we're perfect, good that but if you work at it, you get better and better and have more of a non judgmental position. So prolific is not what I set out to be, I'm fully aware that I've produced a massive amount of stuff. I've got 800 videos, if you want to hang out one of my communities while you can get buried, but the intention was to make sense of the world. And I keep working on that. And my work in the world is helping other people make sense of the world, including themselves, and therefore be able to have the most meaningful life you can for however long or short clips. Hmm.

Cory Ames  11:51  
Well, I mean, I really appreciate what what you said there and helping others to make make sense of their own worlds make sense of themselves. There's something of a sensation I felt while reading your two books, two of your books, the regenerative business to regenerative life, I felt myself kind of wanting maybe more of like the the tactics or like the direct instruction, like especially previously reading so many different what you would consider business books, and I know that regenerative life is, you know, not necessarily a business book, but they're very tactic heavy, and it's very instruction heavy of you know, do this step 123. And reading through the regenerative business, I'm like, okay, like wanting that very direct instruction. And so your explanation there's like, it fits pretty perfectly with my how I felt while I was reading it, wanting more, but it kind of seems like that was your intention is to challenge me as the reader to think through more so you know, what this what this means for me and how I interpret the information that you're sharing? 

Carol Sanford  12:58  
So I can I tell you something about why you do that and why that's a problem,

Cory Ames  13:03  
please. Yes.

Carol Sanford  13:05  
Um, you are like all of us who are live on the earth right now we have been indoctrinated paradigm of how you learn it's called epistemology. And that is some expert will do all the work, testing MRIs wherever they're supposed to do their write it all down that tell us when we can borrow it as a best practice, Bruce, it makes you a passive person in your discovery process. But the biggest problem is, it comes from a paradigm which is a lie. You were taught, and so was I, in every course I had, every the way I was parenting. There's some experts outside the sides, and they write a book about and then it'll give us the steps. We don't have to do anything. That's actually called the classical physics paradigm. It is Newtonian Newton's view of the world. And this is going to be in some of my new books also. But the idea that we live in a billiard ball world so you've heard people talk about the machine paradigm, you're a social entrepreneur, you want to be doing good things in the world, but you're doing them very likely from what you just said to me out of a machine paradigm. You can't see it. So you're working with good subjects, but you have the archaic process of billiard ball or let me tell you get him into your head if you ever paid billiard to pool. Okay, so, I become I'm the manager of the cue stick. I pick which cue balls I'm going to hit. I determine which pocket I want to go in and I hit it. I have an impact it goes in that is objectifying everything I work on changing it. I know what's best for it, or I learned it from some books step one. Do three, four or five, I point the cue stick there and it goes it managed them into a pocket. We do that with humans. We do that with watersheds, live sheds, I call them say even the word watershed, objectifies it. Instead, what I'm working on is completely different paradigm. So you're never going to get from step one, step two, you're going to get maybe phases. But the phases are not step by step there and actually completely different paradigm than billiards. They're really out of quantum physics theory. And David Bohm told us, and I understand that billiard ball model only applies to things. So anytime you're trying to get steps, 123, you're thinking, whatever you're working, you're making the object, you're no longer connected to it as what I now call the matrix. And if you, if you think about, you probably don't remember what we were in your mother's womb, you are, in a way, a matrix. And that matrix depended on how healthy your mother was, how the environment was, even when you were born, you came into another one, which is called family, and it was called ecosystem, we do not know how to think we can think about whenever you think about something, you're making an object. So you, good young entrepreneur, are thinking about Earth. And I'm know you're gonna be terrified. But I'm gonna tell you, you're probably thinking that is a thing. And you want to know what the things are you can do to be a better citizen, or a better human in the world, to learn to think of the quantum world to learn to think about the matrix is really a challenge. So I work on teaching people, how, and you have to do it and community, you can't learn how to do it from my books, and everybody says, Will you write a manual, I said, I will not write a manual. That would be the worst thing I could do for you. Will you come work with me and learn how your mind can invent your own manual. And it will do it in collaboration with the community you're working with, or the live shed you're working with? With the business you're because we even you have listeners. And I bet listeners becomes quite generic for you in some way. Where then understand what the lives are. We work on learning how to get off of surveys and demographics, and all that stuff that makes people a group or category of things, and have come to see their life. And so you've got to learn to see that you can discover those things, and you'll have better answers. And you can't have a generic step 123. Or you're making point you're working on a thing. Now that make you feel bad enough that makes you curious.

Cory Ames  17:57  
It certainly certainly makes me feel curious. And not wholly surprised that that's direction you took that based off of the two books I've gotten through already. But I think this is this brings up an interesting thing for me, in that the way in which you define like systems. Because I can think about that in a particular way, especially being like as an entrepreneur, I do think of systems in such a way as to where it is more mechanical, and maybe more procedural. And I think you get into this more kind of my thoughts are blending between the two books. But in the regenerative life as to how you think about systems and how you propose perhaps we ourselves could reflect on them. I'm wondering if you could open that up a little bit and explain what your definition is, is of systems there.

Carol Sanford  18:49  
I try not to define because you know what their word define means is did I stick kind of part two with pieces. So I try not to define. I tried to deep pick, which is create a picture of something. So when I say systems, I'm fully aware that there are different paradigms and system and I've written a paper on this and anybody who is listening can send me an email at Carol at Carol Sanford calm. And I'll send you a paper I published at Wharton School of Business 25 years ago, which talked about five different levels of systems and one is closest and which is how, when you say thinking about mechanical and procedural probably what you mean, I want the steps. I want to sequence I want the definition. And I'll run from there. You can go up to something that's more like an open system where you can even begin to see that if something can exchange by its own choice with something outside. It's more open. If it's closed. Somebody has to import gasoline into the machine called your car or someone has to import wires in stuff into a podcast, you put together an open system, there's some kind of broader connection. If you go to living systems, there are none of the things we're transferring. Like we transfer the word feedback all the time. And I work with ecologists and they say, but clients give each other feedback. I said, No, that's a metaphor you've translate. machines give each other feedback to shut down to have a governor that shuts down an overflow row. So that hot oil or hot water or electricity didn't go where it's not supposed to be back is designed to control what you have is an engagement process, where everything is a system works. And so if you're going to living systems, you have to start with understanding what the whole of that system is. Because the thing that makes you machine like is you put it you do what you'd call defined as sick, something you put into two parts. If you're going to work with living systems, so many you kind of are frogs, a part that frog can't hop, you can't put that frog back together. And the minute you dissect the city into its economy, its community, and all of a sudden, you no longer have a living system, because now you have to have a task for for economics and a task force for community development. And, you know, on and on in businesses, same thing, may you dissect them all, you pull them back into the lower order system. So let's talk about what you do. If you want to see a living system, you have to look at how life defines itself. I am a living system, I have autonomy, I have my own structure systems and processes. And I engage in a nested system with other holes. The biggest challenge we have with the billiard ball paradigm, it has no concept of holes, it has parts. And if you hear somebody say, Well, this is a part within the hole, then you just lost living system because there are no parts. In living systems. There are nested holes. And if you can't get your mind thinking about holes, like a, my, my being I am a hole. I exist in a family and that family is in my case made of five I raised eight children to buy birth to buy marriage and for because their parents didn't know what to do with them. My kids brought them home. They're now my family, their children or my grandchildren.

If I keep going up, I've got a community I live in. Now if I'm connected to that community, that's great. If not, I've objectified it, and I'm using its parts and pieces like his services for you know, what, for whatever it is, I think I need which is like getting some guy who parked in front of my place and doesn't belong there towed away, I'm not in I'm not net living systems view, we have to carry that up at least to a live shit. As I hinted at earlier. The term watershed which is widely used and my wonderful social entrepreneurs, social professionals, is a machine description and watershed management is because water is a dissected part of where life exists. And then has it goes up to some kind of mountain peaks down to a estuary and a wetland. And it builds and bridges with other Oh, life shifts in that is all kinds of life. It is not just a water that comes out as in courtship, some groups would call it the watershed, some would call the air shed some called the food shed and you can see that's a frog that's been cut into pieces. It's a we can build the mind have a system at work. And a live shed puts the system at work. Language matters, too. So in order to make sense of a live shit, I have to look at all the engagements of not non human living species of witching down to the biota, and look at how it works well. How in the world. Do you know how healthy a lampshade is? You don't do it by studying the water if the rivers or the wildlife and we've got rubes who study all those things separately, we have to we might be able to figure out something we actually went to the wetlands, the estuary because it is an accumulation of the processing that goes on there. But learning to think about something at work is what I mean by a system and particular living system where you're in regenerative paradigm I call that regenerative because Regeneration can only happen in something alive. So that's I don't know whether those metaphors and that story helps you. However, what was your experience of thinking about it that way? 

Cory Ames  25:06  
Hmm. I, I do get connected, I guess, to the differences, sensation between, you know, thinking about yourself individually or sectioning off, as he said, dissecting these different component parts into, you know, more of kind of a machine based thought, versus thinking of yourself as like a part of the greater whole

Carol Sanford  25:31  
art not a part, do you hear what you said, your language is indoctrinated. So you are a system nested in get used to think of your sense of self ness and not part of, because every time you say part, you're objectifying, you and life. Now, you'll be everyone. always nervous because I catch people by their language. Yeah, they weren't to catch themselves by their language. Hmm.

Cory Ames  26:06  
I mean, it has me when I'm picking that up very, very quickly here in this this conversation. And as well, as I sent you an email to let you know that I finished the regenerative life. In I think I called it an extension of the regenerative business. And you followed up at some time that you were probably up teaching that course, that class in Denmark, to correct me on that that language. So I'm wondering, what is the sequencing with your books you're working on for right now. But But why did the regenerative life which would seem to me, I'll let you correct me on my language, as a precursor, really, to everything that are, like division of businesses, maybe more so an extension of that, or a more narrow or specific focus to one realm? Why did the regenerative life come now, I guess, in 2020, versus the other way around? Or how are you sequencing your bucks?

Carol Sanford  27:05  
Well, I wish I could tell you had a big plan when I started laying them all out. I think I wrote the very first book not the response was since I was 12 years ago, but I have several before that with her not in print. A lot of them came as I'm discovering and figuring out how it works. I do have a page at Carol Sanford dot com that talks about their different windows on something. So I finally founded the regenerative paradigm Institute. As it got clear to me. I was at Berkeley. As an undergraduate, in the middle of free speech, we won the war in Vietnam. I'm an old lady, with a very young heart and fantastically young mind. But I met Thomas Kuhn, who wrote structured scientific revolution and introduced into the world the idea of paradigm shift. And I not only met him, I he was lecturing there while I was an undergrad, the end of my undergraduate years. And he introduced this idea of paradigm shift. And I sat there and went, what there's not a truth in my church in my, you know, whoever didn't tell me that. You mean, there are different windows worlds. In the end, I asked him questions, we would go to the Rathskeller, which is his place on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, and you went down some stairs and you drank beer, although I didn't drink. And he talked about this. And he would never was was, I think, at the time at least never able to answer the question. How do you know what a paradigm is? You? Can you describe what happens with chips and science? But how do you know? And how do you where do they come from? And he was it was all new to him. And he had just written the Structure of Scientific Revolutions. That became a life burning question. How can you tell what you're doing in terms of how you look at reality? So as you unfold, finding that you start finding a way to articulate it, and my life's work in some way became about being able to help people see the paradigm they were in and understand where in paradigms understand those limiters, that even though all my well intended business, folks are very much talking about, we have to shift paradigms, not to mechanical and just like you, they can't see that they're still using it that it's hiding from them. So the first book I wrote there, it's still in print right now the responsible business was because I was working with one of my undergraduate grieves in economics. I was building coops and stuff, and I moved into business and the reason I moved into business as I saw the power business had to undermine our tool evolve. And I I wanted to be in place that make a difference. So a lot of what I wrote the beginning was the nodal force, I thought that could make a difference if I could affect it, and I can learn about it. So affected it. So the first one I wrote was about the stakeholder system so that people could see in business, the business was an Islanders, John Dunn said to themselves, and they were not doing things for particular stakeholders to keep it that term was coming into play. And they were not doing it in a way that saw stakeholders as a system. And then they didn't understand the working of multi stakeholder systems. So I can see that at that point, I got really excited when I realized what I've been doing, I got to work in South Africa, we got to do amazing things with Colgate Palmolive. And all the townships are with Mandela, who gave us this amazing award. It's serve what he needed, which was to show people that can meet the constitutional requirement of shifting what the they are racial mix was of the top of an organization, we did it in six months, the Constitution said five years.

We did it by stakeholder engagement with the business, it wasn't separate it was as a system. So I wrote that book. And it had a fairly big effect on helping some other businesses in South Africa. So I finally presented it got published. Then I had a bunch of people say to me, like you wait, these are all big businesses, Colgate Dupont, Clark's thing for all of them change. But I am I got 25 people, you know, and I just started to work with seventh generation, which literally at 25, we started now owned by Unilever. And I said, Okay, I have to show very small businesses, how it is they can change a system change an ecosystem, a political system. And I wrote a book there, and it was targeted, it was called The Responsible Entrepreneur. And by the way, I would have named her rigidity. But my publisher would let me because I thought that term was too airy fairy and didn't make sense. Of course, everybody's using it. Now I don't even know what it means or just substituting it for what they were already doing. That's called greenwashing invoice for doing is calling what you were doing already regeneration and a little better. Then you're greenwashing which we all hated earlier. Alright. Then I finally changed publishers, I had a platform, people want to talk to me. And I got one of the biggest publishers on the planet. And I said, now I need to write because I'm coming to understand that we have three human capacities which are not being developed, we're born in complete, that, you know, we don't come into this world, knowing how our mind works, knowing how systems work, and we have nobody who's really teaching us. So I'm going to give people this core idea about what these human capacities are. That is why democracy doesn't work. Choir economies don't work, choir, parenting didn't work, because we're not building these three capacities. In the doing of that I in all, this is me looking at what I've been doing already and trying to make sense, because some of it you stumble into you sound like you're going to wise person with five steps. And you're going to do this and then you're around a bunch of books. I knew part of what I was trying to do was what some people call marketing. For me, it was spread a message that people who really wanted to do the work could find it, because I had so much trouble finding it. And all the clients who came to me had trouble finding it. So books for me are a beacon. They were like a lighthouse. And so I read it they rigidity business were the responsibility of social was the ecosystem. The rigidity business was how you build fantastic human beings. So the way they work is working at a larger system. Now again, remember, I've chosen business. And originally I did primary transforms only those who took the first step out of the ground because I wanted them being shifted. So you'll see a lot of that in my first book. So I wrote the rigidity business, but there was all this stuff about the toxins that good people all as well. And in fact, 99% of the B corpse have all these toxic practices in them. And they are not stopping to examine themselves and see that they have things that go all the way back to Kings and Queens and hierarchies. Now, I'm not a fan of holacracy I tried that out in my early years as a holistic get rid of the hierarchies. I pretty soon discovered it wasn't in the hierarchy. It was in the mind. It was in the work design. So I did that also in that book, but Now I'm taking apart those toxic practices because I look at these well intended responsible, socially responsible, regenerative businesses, and they're filled with thinking that is using the old paradigm on new and better subjects. So they're not the strict miners and the folks who are bleeding employees to this note, we put new subjects in, where we're using the old processes of non understanding how you organize work, not understand how motivation works, we're using behavioral theory based on the study of rats, which is all designed for the oligarchs, who in the early 20th century, want to have manage people and we have people doing it, but they've added a little good stuff, right? A few new subjects, new Participation, this give people more autonomy. That is not how people work. The the borrowing of those toxic practices made me have to write no more feedback. And I said, it's so funny, or who read the reviews. And people say, well, there's no research and no steps in here. So it's all opinion, I go, well, so my beacon one for you, because you have to be touched by understanding. And I told my own story of being a college professor, and how I came into that process, and was crunched and wished and dissected into a 360 degree feedback, which is, I can see had nothing to do with who my essence was and what I was bringing in the world. At this point, I now have

another need. So I'm giving you the flow right of how they came about. I think that was your question. The last one was, I knew that I had the attention to business, I knew I had the credibility, I could grow a business 35 to 65% a year in revenue growth, because of what I did. And that was in I taught people how to do earnings margin cash flow, I had degrees I taught in business schools, I done co working psychology, like most women, I had to and anybody who lives in a darker skin, have to prove beyond reproach, that they know something. As are now I really know that the way I parented my own children imperfectly, and I tell them now, okay, you're responsible for the messes, I'm Major adults. But I have been able to bring kids who were in great trouble into our life, and have major shifts for them. I knew that I was a designer, I'd been an educator, I'd play all these roles. So I started looking at what are the nodal roles, they're really making society what it is. And I created an actual learning project. And I write a little bit about the book. But we had 150, or maybe more people who came in, it's worked with me for six to eight months, and learn how to go in individual role. So I'm a professor, I'm a homeschooler. And I want to learn about where to begin, hey, view. So how can I transform the world without changing jobs? We put, you move it into being a role, not a job, it's got a job description, it's a job. If you move it into a role, it's, you now know, you're looking at being an agent of development, not an agent of change, without with the billiard ball model. But understanding that these nine roles you play all of them, they're not they're archetypal, but they're not types that you are one. So I am an economic shaper. I am a media content creator, as are you I am a spirit resource. I am a parent. And I've parented not just from a birthing process, but from a borrowing. I always tell my kids that came to live with me, I borrowed them right so I can learn more about parenting. That book said, if we would work on really developing people's capacity to play these nine roles consciously, in every place, they touch the world, whether their parents, or their bosses, or their podcast producers, or book writers or documentary producers, if they learned how to see the world through regenerative paradigm so remember, all of these are lenses for me, they are like a sequence of books. They're like a lens based on what it was I discovered. So that was a very long story.

Cory Ames  39:49  
No, but but well, well worth the time you spent on it. I'm wondering, Carolinas we have a lot of business folks, early stage businesses who are Our listeners of this show. And I'm wondering as they might themselves feel, I'm sure you know, we have toxic practices that we're engaging in on on a daily basis. You mentioned that the three capacities but I'm wondering, where would you recommend? They begin to start unearthing these in perhaps working from a different perspective? Of course, I'd recommend they dive into your book, The regenerative business. But substantively, I'd be curious to hear what what you know, what paradigm did that question come from?

Carol Sanford  40:40  
The first step, tell me how to start. Alright, so sorry, I can't do it. But I'm going to do it for yourself. Because the place you start is not something you do, which is what you even asked me, Would you tell people what you do, and I set out do I be, and I be in a process of discovery, I be in. So I think what you have to do is build the quantum work, The Matrix way of working that maybe is the best way to respond to you is the three slash Four C's. And I didn't actually set them out to be that way. Because I hate that where we make. The first one is every company and go in whether it was DuPont and Colgate or whether it was seventh generation, and all good, is we work on building capability to see how it is we're thinking and how we're getting in our own way, which we've been doing a little up here, right? If you don't do that you're doing will come from the old paradigm, invisible, manipulating you looking right? Because it's familiar. So that's why I run education communities. Karason for an institute is about building capability of 10 to 1215. Sometimes companies at a time who meet online with me over three, I used to go into companies three to eight years, three to four to five, and many of them just stay because that you have to be in a community to do this. So the first of the C's is capability. We don't have the capability to do all the things I've been talking about today, and I'm not even remotely done. I still fall into all the tribes because I live in a culture I was indoctrinated to be a racist. That was how it happens in the south and yet are learned that you had to learn to see it in your own mind, and I still see it show but it infuriates me. capability is about learning how to learn learning how to develop, learning how to see learning how to think learning how all that works. The second C is culture. And culture gets built only in community. So you work for several years doing nothing. But coming into a community learning to think differently. You can't get it out books, they're supposed to whet your appetite make you hungry crave a different way of seeing the world. And you come into work. And in that process, you'll get ideas, you go try that you say, oh, okay, I can see how that's affecting this thing. I think I'll go try that. And I give you some reasons like a whole different way to think about customers. A whole different way to think about performance measures and business models and what your corporate direction is why you should get rid of missions and visions and purpose are totally on the open paradigm. And well intended people get identified with them. So you come in you learn it's a lot of undoing. So capability building culture, you have to be in with others who are doing it, you can't create the kind of changes we're talking about. And predictably, if you create associations, which we have a lot of association to well intended businesses, which are teaching people quote, a better version of feedback, and I just breaks my heart every time. And they create certifications. There's no such thing as certifying, in regeneration, because that means generic. And it means it's not about life. It means like they're all the same watershed management, right business management, how you structure people. Now you have to learn how to think to do those things, and you have to do it in community. And you have to create a culture you will when we started, I did everything I could to disrupt the path you were going to go down. And I continue to disrupt it when I heard the word you have to get people where the field that they're working in the paradigm they're in. So you work on capability Thank you work on changing the culture by entering different communities. And the third way to learn what consciousness really means. Like, I just did a podcast on conscious capitalism, which is about consciousness at all. And their definition is because for me consciousness is conscious. Have worlds at work at different levels? Do we understand can we see holes and really become active in our mind and seeing the holes and how they work and how they're nested. And we use, I hear well intended people use those terms all the time. But that's not how they work. So you have to start, if you're going to make me give you a first step, I spend every organization I'm in meeting with them kin to having them do something. And I've got a paper on what research I actually draw this off up, which was where the first people I met who took me on this path into business, we're about why it is that you have to have this regular rhythm of a new way of thinking, or the minute you're out of it, like you don't stay in a community, you'll lose it. So you have to build capability. The research said, the frequency has to be doing something in the new paradigm, at least weekly, it has to be about 10% of your waking hours, and so on about three to eight years before you can catch yourself and notice it. That's how in praying we are with the old pattern. So get into the idea. But get into a community who is doing this, you cannot do this alone, you cannot. I don't care how good or how well intended you are. And you can't do it in communities and associations, which are teaching you a better version of the old paradigm, then those things just carry apart. So that's the first step. Learn how to see your own paradigm see your own language. And it will take a ritual of being in a community to do that and to learn to have frameworks that are not mental models you're used to using so I would love for anyone who that we feel like a beacon for them. Come join us we were regularly introducing new people in and you can only get in by invitation we don't market or sell. We find people who are called to it and who want to put in the work.

Cory Ames  47:14  
Hmm Excellent. Well, Carol, I really appreciate your time you mind if we wrap up with a couple rapid fire questions here?

Carol Sanford  47:22  
Well, we'll see how well I do I'm not gonna fire

Cory Ames  47:43  
Hey, y'all Cory here super quickly. Before we finish up today's chat with some rapid fire questions. I want to briefly tell you about our Better World Business Growth programs as it's our mission here at grow ensemble to promote and highlight the exceptional work of social entrepreneurs. We want to use these Better World Business Growth programs to do more of the same. So if you are a change maker or leader in this space of sustainable and socially responsible business, and you want to build an audience of customers and advocates around your brand and mission to help drive forward your purpose, profits and ultimately sustainable and healthy business growth. And I want to invite you to head to grow ensembl.com backslash B WB to check out some of our free trainings and resources as well as our newest program, the roadmap builder program that we've just opened up a few slots for where our team does a complete audit on your online performance and ultimately uses that and your goals and objectives to build your complete growth and marketing strategy for the next six to 12 months. So again, that is grow ensembl.com backslash B WB to check out our Better World Business Growth programs. Alright, let's get back to the episode

well, let's see, well, we'll start with what might be a book recommendation of yours, something that you always come back to or something that's perhaps impacted you recently.

Carol Sanford  49:23  
Recently, I was doing really well to sit and recently, most of the books that are in a garbage I don't I go to ancient sources I go to if you want one that was in this century, go read David Beaumes wholeness in the implicit order. It's not about business. It's about a paradigm of going from billiard to matrix kind of model. If you want a spiritual book, I read Sri Aurobindo and The mother's work I read Socrates and people who are British About the pre Socratics I read Protagoras. My work is not built up all the garbage that's out there in any popular modern book, I just, I look at them. I'm a speed reader. So I can consume a book in, you know, an hour and I usually don't even get past first chapter if it's new.

Cory Ames  50:20  
noted, focus on what's still relevant or what's sticking around. Next one for you, Carol, do you have any particular daily habits or morning routines that you have to stick to?

Carol Sanford  50:34  
Oh, I meditate morning and evening. I can't say I don't end up skipping days. But I do. But my meditation is very different. I articulate sacred prayers like St. St. Francis of Assisi, one syllable at a time with a breath in between, so that it brings my mind under my own control. That's one of the most important ones, I also accept the you know, go to bathroom, I don't get out of bed until I take an idea that I had in the evening that I said, I'd like help on and I mean, help him. I don't know where it's gonna come from. And I wake up in the morning with journals next to me, if you'd like then I go through about a journal about every three months of things that are showing up. And I apply a framework to it. It's a subject, I don't know. But what I need to understand or people are asking about it, and I create a framework I don't create it. I take a sacred framework, Protagoras created most of what we need. And I, I work it before I get out of bed, do the things. But those are the big ones that I think shaped my life.

Cory Ames  51:47  
What does your writing process look like? Especially with you writing so many books working at four at a time? What does that look like?

Carol Sanford  51:55  
So I have three different ways I write it depends on what market it's going to go into, for my big publisher Hachette, and Wiley before that, I dictate my books to Ben haggard, who has been my collaborator for a very long time. He's also in one of the communities. And I can organize in my own mind the entire book, because it's around a framework and stories which I know fit. I talked to Ben Ben's a much better writer, he's, he's written his own book very long time ago. So I'll dictate. Secondly, over the years, I've gotten better at writing. I'm very good at thinking and organizing, even flow and how the stories will but not so good. Because I see the hole it's really hard for me to get down to the parts. But I've made myself learn to do that. And then I have another colleague who also edits what Ben and I, kit Brewer, who I will write like I didn't know more feedback. And she will come back and say I don't understand that I've been done said to Ben Scott saying give me another story do that different way. But she does a super editing and structuring and tells me what I need to put together. Then the third way is I write on medium. And I've created a magazine there for during other people we're trying to do this into the regenerative economy collaborative. And those our right and just pay somebody to edit for me. But they always start with this morning process that talked about they all have a framework, which is a living systems way of seeing the world. The mental models, we have our answers. The frameworks are places questions are needed places explanation is needed. So I put up one like a law three, we have to get beyond the law to where there's the Democrats are in propaganda, right or wrong, good and bad, evil and good. All of those things have to go away. And if we can get to at least the last three, where we can look at if you go to the next larger system, you're likely to see some of you can't see with the two. Like I know why we have the problem with republicans, democrats in our head undermining our democracy. It's a law of three problem. And that's a good Jeep idea of we're blind to the third force, which we need to get to so all of my writing has that and then when you get to return to life, I used to use a grant which people vandalize. It's not about types oh my god is the most ancient framework on the planet has nothing to do with you being a type as you are ready to do all of that. So that's how it is I Right.

Cory Ames  54:42  
Excellent. Well, Carol, finally Where might you direct folks to to keep up with your work anywhere specifically right now?

Carol Sanford  54:51  
Oh my god. Well, you can go to Carol sanford.com which is my personal site where my some of my podcasts are but on the bottom are the communities that you can join if you're an individual the businesses you can join with to be in community of how to build a regenerative business. All of my blogs all of my I don't even know mediums on there. But if you email me, Carol, Carol Sanford calm, my signature has all of that in it. So start with Carol Carol Sanford comm and email me if you're not finding what you want.

Cory Ames  55:26  
Perfect. All right. We'll have everything linked up in the show notes at grow ensemble.com Thanks again, Carol.

Carol Sanford  55:32  
Cory, this has been so much fun. Thank you.

Cory Ames  55:36

Oka, that is a wrap another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast in the books. I hope you enjoyed it. As always your host your Cory Ames. I always really enjoy knowing that you're you're out there listening to this episode engaging with the content, perhaps the folks that we featured doing this exceptional work in the world. If you enjoyed the show, and you haven't already, please leave us a review wherever it is that you get your podcasts and hit the subscribe button if you haven't already that really helps other folks like yourself, discover the show. And lastly, if you have not yet sign up for the better world weekly newsletter this is our weekly discussion of building a better world with our global community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors in all walks of life. So go to grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter to get the next Better World weekly in your inbox. Alright y'all, we'll talk next time.

Carol SanfordProfile Photo

Carol Sanford

Executive Producer, Creator, Designer, and Author

Carol Sanford is a consistently recognized thought-leader working side-by-side with Fortune 500 and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic business change and design. Through her university and in-house educational offerings, global speaking platforms, multi-award-winning books, and human development work, Carol works with executive leaders who see the possibility to change the nature of work through developing people and work systems that ignite motivation everywhere. For four decades, Carol has worked with great leaders of successful businesses such as Google, DuPont, Intel, P&G, and Seventh Generation, educating them to develop their people and ensure a continuous stream of innovation that continually deliver extraordinary results.

She is a founder and leader of The Regenerative Business Development Community, with lifetime members of almost 500 members, meeting in locations around the world and now online with leaders from multiple companies learning together in bi-quarterly events as well as an Annual Regenerative Business Summit, Carol is also a founder and leader of The Regenerative Change Agent Development community, with member and events in three regions- Americas, EMEA, Deep Pacific with over 50 events a year in person and online with regenerative change agents learning about and creating change together.

She is also the author of The Regenerative Business: Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes; The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game-Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders, and Impact Investors, The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success; and No More Feedback: Cultivate Consciousness at Work.

Her books have won over 15 awards so far and are required reading at leading business and management schools including Harvard, Stanford, Haas Berkeley and MIT. Carol also partners with producing Executive Education through Babson College, Kaospilot in Denmark and University of Washington, Bothell, WA, and The Lewis Institute at Babson.

Learn more at https://carolsanford.com/