Leading from the Roots

This course explores five design lessons found in nature and the dynamics of living systems to help us shift our assumptions, practices, structures, and processes of organizations so they can be more resilient and nourishing for all, and along the way teach us how to design our way out of workplace dysfunction and drama.

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Can we design organizations in a way that creates a place where employees, the organization, and the larger community all thrive? And if so, where can we go for inspiration to help us achieve this goal? Leading from the Roots uses natures lessons from 3.8 billion years of research and experimentation to help organizational leaders rethink how they lead themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

This course explores five design lessons found in nature and the dynamics of living systems to help us shift our assumptions, practices, structures, and processes of organizations so they can be more resilient and nourishing for all, and along the way teach us how to design our way out of workplace dysfunction and drama.

The Leading from the Roots Course provides a powerful new way of thinking about organizations as living systems and delivers practical leadership frameworks for individuals to learn how to create innovative and effective teams, and unleash the energy of the people they work with.

Course Curriculum

Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Life in Organizations

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  • Video Lesson 1: Course Overview - Why Learn from Nature?
  • Video Lesson 2: Living Systems
  • Video Lesson 3: Applications for Leadership - The Dynamics of Living Systems
  • Video Lesson 4: Reflecting on the Quality of Energy in Your Organization
  • PDF Lesson 5: Reflecting on Energy in Organizations Handout (Downloadable PDF)
  • PDF Lesson 6: A Summary of Dr. Allen’s Paper, “Optimizing Energy: The Theory of Action” - (Downloadable PDF)
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4 lessons, 4 Videos + 2 PDF Downloadable Worksheets

Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Nature Runs on Sunlight

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  • Video Lesson 1: Lessons from Nature
  • PDF Lesson 2: Nine Design Lessons Found in Nature (Downloadable PDF)
  • Video Lesson 3: Leadership Lessons - Organizational Photosynthesis
  • Multimedia Lesson 4: Blog - Organizational Lessons from Water
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3 lessons, 2 Videos + 1 PDF Downloadable Worksheet

Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Nature Fits Form to Function

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  • Video Lesson 1: Weak Forms, Strong Purpose
  • Video Lesson 2: The Ecocycle
  • Video Lesson 3: Thresholds of Rigidity and Scarcity
  • Video Lesson 4: Reflecting on Your Organization's Ecocycle
  • PDF Lesson 5: Organization Ecocycle Reflection Sheet (Downloadable PDF)
  • Multimedia esson 6: Blog - Paying Attention to Thresholds
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5 lessons, 4 Videos + 1 PDF Downloadable Worksheet

Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Nature Banks on Diversity

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  • Video Lesson 1: The Fragility of Sameness
  • Video Lesson 2: Lessons from Nature
  • Video Lesson 3: Leaderships Lessons that Invests in Diversity
  • Multimedia Lesson 4: Blog - The Link Between Resilience and Diversity
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4 lessons, 3 Videos + 0 PDF Downloadable Worksheets

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Nature Curbs Excess from Within

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  • Video Lesson 1: Lessons from Nature - Feedback Loops
  • Video Lesson 2: Leadership Lessons for Curbing Excess from Within
  • Multimedia Lesson 3: Blog- The Relationship Between Organizational Feedback and Dysfunction
  • Multimedia Lesson 4: Blog - What Nature Can Teach Us About Listening?
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4 lessons, 2 Videos + 0 PDF Downloadable Worksheets

Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Nature Depends on Local Expertise and Self Organization

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  • Video Lesson 1: Nature’s Lessons
  • Video Lesson 2: Lessons from Nature - Self-organization
  • Video Lesson 3: Leaderships Lessons - Local Expertise & Self-organizing
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3 lessons, 3 Videos + 0 PDF Downloadable Worksheets

Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Leading from a Living Systems Mindset

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  • Video Lesson 1: How Leaderships Changes in a Living System
  • Video Lesson 2: Lessons from Nature
  • Video Lesson 3: Changing our Defaults and Leadership Questions
  • PDF Lesson 4: How to Answer the New Leadership Questions (Downloadable PDF)
  • PDF Lesson 5: New Leadership Questions Handout - Answer for Yourself (Downloadable PDF)
  • PDF Lesson 6: Characteristics of Living Systems Handout (Downloadable PDF)
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3 lessons, 3 Videos + 3 PDF Downloadable Worksheets

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