Oct. 15, 2020

From Individualistic Leadership to Conscious Leadership

From Individualistic Leadership to Conscious Leadership

We are never fully certain of the extent or the rippling impact of any single action we take in our lives. In this episode, I invite you: 

  • to think beyond your human centeredness;
  • to think about moving away from self organization to making with; and

to think about human and non human encounters.  [Michelle St Jane  2:21]  

There has been an increasing interest in the inclusion of the nonhuman world: 

  • fellow Earth born creatures in the dynamic multifaceted encounters; 
  • dialogues being engaged in times of multi species relations; and 
  • raising awareness around the complex multi species phenomena; and

opening avenues of awareness around the interactions of humans, and nonhumans. [Michelle St Jane  2:42]

In today's world, we need leaders who are responsive navigators and cultivators of connectedness.  Leaders who are both socially environmentally willing to network with human and nonhuman collaboration. Haraway calls us to the quest for a response-ability to take up the unasked for obligations of having meet. Taking an active part in the common worlding.

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Michelle St Jane  0:01  

Welcome to Life and Leadership. I believe in creating community and connections and creating space to be curious. This podcast aims to take you on a conscious journey by providing quality, diverse, innovative content and conversation. My hope is that we create a circle of influence, a transcendent sea of compassionate leadership in the world. 


Welcome to Episode Seven, From individualistic leadership, to conscious leadership.  Trade, markets are necessary to any form of collective wellbeing. The shaping of markets to benefit corporate welfare over the wellbeing of people and planet, however, is unacceptable to me.


I believe in, and work for a world that is sensitive to maintaining a fulcrum point based on the wellbeing of people and planet. And this podcast is an expression of this commitment, and my willingness to share my explorations of research into leadership. 


In the face of seemingly intractable conversations that prioritize corporate over social and environmental welfare, we are experiencing an intensification of legacies of deprivation associated with systemic social fragmentation and environmental deprivation. Such legacies of deprivation are increasingly associated with the form of capitalistic dynamics intensifying the world over regardless of whether economic achievements in a nation are on the rise or in decline. 


I choose not to stand silently and witness this exacerbating deprivation. I aspire to contribute to a transformation, to contribute by changing the engagement of leaders through conversations that might intensify commitment, or the direction of their actions around social environmental decline.


Decision time. There are times when it's important to walk away from normalized ways of thinking. This episode is about sharing conclusions and contributions to local and global understandings involving humans and non humans.


 In this episode, I invite you: 

  • to think beyond your human centeredness;
  • to think about moving away from self organization to making with; and
  • to think about human and non human encounters. 


There has been an increasing interest in the inclusion of the nonhuman world: 

  • fellow Earth born creatures in the dynamic multifaceted encounters; 
  • dialogues being engaged in times of multi species relations; and 
  • raising awareness around the complex multi species phenomena; and
  • opening avenues of awareness around the interactions of humans, and nonhumans. 


Daring an original thinker, Donna Jean Haraway, is the author of “Staying With Trouble” 2016.  Haraway calls for critical response to:

  • these troubling times of multi species, including humans;
  • the urgency of the great mass death and extinction;
  • of onrushing disasters.


In her 2016 book, Haraway reconceptualized as the current epoch as one with all species at stake to each other work together. Today is the time of beginnings, is a time for ongoing she says. To work together across species to render each other capable of flourishing. In concert with Haraway, Frost & Zylinska (2014) call for time to forcibly challenge the masculinist approach that privileges humans over creatures and maintains fantasies of mastery control and rationality. 


The current earthly crisis demands that we learn to appreciate such complex and collective ways of inhabiting the earth.  Time to recognize the multiple others and our shared existence brings us all together as earthly travelers.  Those familiar and unfamiliar to us as a necessity of living. We are here to live and die on this earth. 


We cannot escape our humaneness or taking the non-human into account. There is a connection and a dependency on earth that makes us cannot kind according to Donna Jean Haraway. 


In today's world, we need leaders who are responsive navigators and cultivators of connectedness.  Leaders who are both socially environmentally willing to network with human and nonhuman collaboration. Haraway calls us to the quest for a response-ability to take up the unasked for obligations of having meet. Taking an active part in the common worlding. 


Once noticed, these phenomena become examinable by the rational mind. You become very absorbed in the extraordinary environment you come to engage with. 


Autopoiesis has been with us since the dawn of time. Autopoiesis describes self-motivated living organization and living systems. Autopoiesis is designed as a self-serving system. Continuously reproducing itself within the boundaries of its own making. It's a theory of living organization. 


My favorite reading comes from Capra and Luisa, Maturana and Varela. There will be citations at the end of the transcript. These theories focus on the presence of self-constructing phenomena of living systems and organizations. They are materially and energetically open while necessarily close in their dynamic states of self-construction. The self-construction phenomenon, I propose, contributes to the everyday dialogue. 


Currently, everyday dialogue is dominated by the self-replication of the sacred money market story, as defined by David Korten. There is a potential to build on contractions evident in the storying and restorying by consciously interrupting the self-serving concert and flow to question.  Querying further what's being said. Potentially, this could contribute to opening opportunities for expanded knowing of what segments of the community were experiencing, or where there was a lack of knowledge complicated by the unwillingness to collect statistics in a timely manner. Levonton, a biologist working outside of the area of autopoiesis, mentions that the atmosphere that we all breathe was not on earth before living organisms Levonton notes that there is no environment in some independent and abstract sense, because, and I quote, organisms construct their own environments out of the bits and pieces of the physical and biological world.  They do so by their own ability. Therefore, the wanton interconnectivity of living organisms, the environment and the Gaia theory, by Lovelock, connects human and non-human. Although I highlight the value of autopoiesis, as Maturana Varela wrote, living systems, our cognitive systems and living as a process is the process of cognition. 


This is worthy of noting.  Margaret Wheatley states that life is about creation and the ability of life to generate itself is encapsulated in the term autopoiesis. 


From early childhood I have been conscious of nonhuman social systems in the presence of self-constructing phenomena of living systems.  Organizations is present in many forms.  Like seeds, like new thoughts.  Giving attention to being conscious can give rise to a series of positive new actions for higher good in recognition of our interconnectivity on many levels. 


I set a clear intention, and I'm totally responsible for purposely making a contribution to dialogue. I like to promote the potential of autopoiesis because it meets the need for a new paradigm.  As Capra and Luis put it, we need a holistic worldview.  Seeing the world as an integrated whole.  Rather than a dissociative collection of parts. I align with Magalhães and Sachez (2010) that the 21st century needs a theory of knowledge and organizational thinking that is different from the reductionist approaches relied on to date. Autopoiesis provides an opportunity to hear other contributors to the story and to do it with leadership. As Karen Brad puts it,, we are part of nature. We are also of the storytelling nature's doing and the intra activity means we're not outside the storytelling, nor observers of the world. 


This is not a new concept. Prigogine and Stengers (1984) authored Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature.  They introduced the idea of expanding the dialogue of quantum storytelling to capture the appearances of nature as they arise in wind and bird song,  As Capra and Luisa note our common language is rich in expressions about actinb consciously that being in critical awareness.  Rather than being unconscious. Capra and Luisa call for us to be awake and in full possession of our cognitive faculties. We're showing social consciousness that is being aware of social-environmental problems. 


Logic does not lead us from the fact that we are an integral part of the web of life, but to the understanding of the norms of how we should live, and breathe. 


One thing I know for sure, the sacred money market story, as defined by David Korten, does not let me breathe easy. Capra and Luisa take up the question of how to characterize the living and new conception in their book The System's View of Life as a Unifying Vision


Through the use of the term autopoiesis, a termed coined by Maturana and Varela, identified itself constructing phenomena of the living system and organizations. 


I think the sacred earth, through nature, offered their self up as a participant in my doctoral research, through the voice of songbirds, the whistling frogs, and the many hurricanes storms.  These contributors qualified as non-human participants in my doctoral research.


Now is the time for moving from autopoiesis, that being self-organizing, to sympoiesis, that being to make with. Multispecies, feminist theorists, Donna Jean Haraway created the concept of sympoiesis. 


Haraway invites us to think about individualism in relation with others human and not unexpected collaborations, and combinations. Conscious stewardship calls for leaders to build relationships that inspire trust and create sustainable investment. 


Think interdependence. The opportunity lies in creating a diverse web of Neo tribes of emerging and re-emerging leaders.  An alliance of visionaries. 


Haraway provides a worthy reminder of kinship to our companion species family, and its many layered history of cohabitation. She highlights the problem of discourse between people and companion species collectively.  While noting how important it is to find ways for the stories to be told with co evolution within nature, cultures, and tangled cats cradles of technogy, science studies among companion species. Building on Haraway’s metaphor of the cat's cradle, suggests some back and forth. Its all about receiving as well as adding something new. Moreover, a form of collective creativity can be played via meaning. making. 


Haraway considers that embracing individualism, philosophy, politics and science is no longer thinkable. Rather, as a method of thinking with multiple others across disciplines and in continued collaboration. 


Are you leaning into your legacy?  With ecological devastation, multiple species feminist theorist, Haraway offers fresh thinking around our relations to the earth and her inhabitants. 


The current epoch is one in which humans and non humans are inextricably linked and demands sympoiesis, that being making with, instead of auto polices that being self making.  Haraway calls us to endure and stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged planet. Doing this she says is the pathway to build more livable futures. 


The Sands of Time and the enduring presence of digital residual leave no doubt of the footprints you will leave behind over time.  Conscious engagement with your digital voice is critical today. Barad, Hird , Capra and Luisa claim human and non-human communication is not passive. McCullough concurs conversation across species occurs continually, reconfiguring material ways of going and knowing. 


David Boehm suggested to Joseph Jaworski that we should compare dialogue to superconductivity. Boehm explained that superconductivity electrons cooled to a very slow temperature acts more like a coherent whole and then as separate paths.  They flow around obstacles without colliding with one another. Creating no resistance and very high energy.  At high temperatures, however, they begin to act like separate paths scattering into random movement, losing momentum. 


David Bohm went on to explain, that with dialogue the goal is to create a special environment in which a different kind of relationship among parts can come into play. This special environment reveals both high energy and high intelligence. And we want to clarify, that this was in a sense, the field forming as we entered into true dialogue, and a place for ideal speech. 


As elusive wings create turbulence over my shoulders, the ripples of energy propel me always onwards, I do not always have the language or lexicon for the sensing of something yet to be understood. Regarding my experience, David Bodie describes this, as an experience not yet explained. At this stage, I do not know if my experience was an instance of the touch of the tetranormonetizing butterfly, originally created by David Boje. 


The wings on this butterfly divided into four quadrants. On the top left  social cultural fractals.  On the bottom left the ecology. Quality fractals at the top right. The earth and a boardroom table depicts trade fractals. The bottom right showing the economy accounting fractals of the market.


In closing I invite you to take choices not chances. 

Consider how do the global scripts interject into local beliefs, norms and values legitimising its goals over the needs of the human and non-human stakeholders?

Can you identify both the human and non-human voices challenging the dominant narrative into conversation through the living storytelling? 

Can you recognize human and non-human stories showing up in the entanglement space time network?


As a conscious steward of meaningful leadership in the world, and wider cosmos, I have a passion.  Being in the service through sharing wisdom, dreams, and hope. Thank you for the opportunity to foster open conversation, discussions and an exchange of ideas that create understanding and connection among diverse groups. Your support is valued. Please subscribe, leave a review and a rating. More importantly, share with your connections. Thank you.


Bakhtin, M. M., & Holquist, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: four essays. Austin: University of Texas Press. 

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831. https://doi.org/10.1086/345321 

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Duke University Press. 

Bauman, Z. (2013). Does the Richness of the Few Benefit Us All? New York, 289 NY: John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from http://nbn- resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:101:1-201410171017

Bauman, Z., & Donskis, L. (2014). Moral blindness: The loss of sensitivity in liquid modernity. The Hedgehog Review, 16(2), 122.

Bohm, D. (2004). Thought as a System. Routledge.

Bohm, D., & Hiley, B. J. (2006). The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory. Routledge.

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Boje, D. M. (2014). Storytelling Organizational Practices: Managing in the Quantum Age. Routledge.

Boje, D. M., & Ph.D. (n.d.). What is the Mattering of Homeless Being-in-the- world? David M. Boje Aug 16 2015. Retrieved from https://davidboje.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/what-is-the- mattering-of-homeless-being-in-the-world-david-m-boje-aug-16- 2015/ 

Capra, F., & Luisi, P. L. (2014). The systems view of life: A unifying vision.  Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 

Paul Cloke, Harvey C Perkins Cetacean Performance and Tourism in Kaikoura, New Zealand December 1, 2005 Research Article https://doi.org/10.1068/d57j

Costa, R. D., & Wilson, E. O. (2010). The watchman’s rattle: thinking our way out of extinction. New York: Vanguard Press. 

S. Frost, S.  Biocultural creatures: Toward a new theory of the human. Duke University Press, Durham and London (2016)

Haraway, D. J. (2003). The Haraway reader. New York USA 10001: Routledge. 

Haraway, D. (2008). When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Haraway, D. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Hird, M. J. (2009). The Origins of Sociable Life: Evolution After Science Studies. Basingstoke 

Hird, M. J., & Roberts, C. (2011). Feminism theorises the nonhuman.Feminist Theory, 12(2), 109–117.https://doi.org/10.1177/1464700111404365. United Kingdom RG21 6XS: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://www.palgraveconnect.com/doifinder/10.1057/9780230242 210 

Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B. S. (1996). Synchronicity: the inner path of leadership. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 

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Magalhães, R., & Sanchez, R. (2009). Autopoiesis in organization theory and practice. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

McCulloch, G. E. (2014). Summon Kairos: Atavistic Processes in Quantum Adaptive Rhetoric. In D. M. Boje & T. L. Henderson (Eds.), Being quantum: ontological storytelling in the age of antenarrative (pp. 51– 89). Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. J. (1992). The tree of knowledge: the biological roots of human understanding. Boston; New York: Shambhala ; Distributed in the U.S. by Random House. 

Maturana, H. R., Varela, F. J., & Maturana, H. R. (1980). Autopoiesis and cognition: the realization of the living. Dordrecht, Holland; Boston: D. Reidel Pub. Co. 

Prigogine, I., Stengers, I., & Prigogine, I. (1984). Order out of chaos: man’s  new dialogue with nature. Toronto; New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books. 

Wheatley, M. J. (2006). Leadership and the new science discovering order in a chaotic world. San Francisco, CA 94104 United States: Berrett- Koehler. Retrieved from http://www.aspresolver.com/aspresolver.asp?BIZP;2342358 

Wheatley, M. J. (2009). Turning to one another simple conversations to restore hope to the future. San Francisco; [London]: Berrett-Koehler ; [McGraw-Hill, distributor]. Retrieved from http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=407905 

Vesa Markuksela & Anu Valtonen (2019): Dance with a fish? Sensory human-nonhuman encounters in the waterscape of match fishing, Leisure Studies, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2019.1588353 

Zylinska, J. Minimal ethics for the Anthropocene. Open Humanities Press, University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor (2014)

Reach out.  I am interested, do you have a topic you'd like to explore? It would be great to have your feedback.

Dr. Michelle St Jane

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey 

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