A living systems approach creates conditions for all stakeholders to thrive, explains Deborah Mendes

As a seasoned Assistant who has received recognition for solving a business critical

issue at my company in a “refreshing way” and seeing how we were able to create a company-wide system for greater efficiency, I know the role of an Assistant can be extended further than solving a problem in a tunnel vision sort of way.

It is about opening up to a wider holistic approach and seeing that everything is connected.

I’ve been studying an emerging field in business which takes a regenerative living systems approach where the person or organisation is not separate from, but part of, a whole ecosystem. Actions and decisions are made for the greater good for the economy, people, the local community and the planet, as well as profit.

Living systems regenerative businesses are collaborative, systems-focussed and benefit from diversity. The benefitsare increased employee satisfaction, innovation and adaptability. It is also about being inspired by nature.Nature doesn’t see tensions as a problem; it adapts and evolves and hence flourishes. Nature succeeds as a connected, functioning ecosystem.

This approach is the future of work. We can be part of the evolution – adapt and amplify the way we work across the organisation. I encourage you to take a step back, work with your executives to explore the tensions within the company and take a more living systems approach.

The aim is to achieve a better outcome by creating systems that work efficiently within the ecosystem of the organisation and beyond, considering all stakeholders: investors, customers, employees, community, the planet and co-creators.

How to Get Started

  1. Shift your perspective from that of a problem-solver to an innovator of new thinking and systems, a creator of an environment to support adaptive thinking at all levels.
  2. Familiarise yourself further with a regenerative approach, reconnect to nature and, when in doubt, look to the natural world for inspiration.
  3. Be the change first. Take steps to live a regenerative work life.
  4. Engage with other like-minded Executive Assistants to get inspired and share ideas.
  5. Find experts, mentors, coaches and consultants to work with.
  6. Consider how you can add value and learn a new skill aligned to your values and zone of genius. For example, impact reporting requires a lot of coordination and facilitation and is perfect for an Assistant to take ownership.
  7. Identify your sphere of influence: supplier sourcing, IT, facilities, your internal network of Assistants, your team. Ask questions and share ideas and good practice.
  8. Involve your executive. You might even create a business case for some activities.
  9. Document your journey and achievements; build your portfolio to demonstrate a regenerative systems thinking approach.
  10. Don’t give yourself a tough time. Be patient and grateful.

In doing this, you will become a much sought-after Assistant, future-fit and more fulfilled in the process, whilst making a difference to the bottom line in an authentic way.



The world calls for regenerative leadership | Laura Storm | TEDxSlottsparken:


What does being a regenerative business mean? | The Circular Economy Show





Leading by Nature by Giles Hutchins

The Regenerative Life: Transform any organisation, our society, and your destiny by Carol Sanford

Deborah Mendes is a regenerative empowerment coach for Executive Assistants. In 2016, Deborah asked for a job share to help quench the fire in her soul. She embarked on an entrepreneurial journey where she was able to step into her full expression and ... (Read More)

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