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To begin again…
everything is going to be different

THINGS WILL NOT BE “business as usual” as the transition unfolds. All communities and organizations will be impacted and stretched.

  • There is no road map but there is a shared responsibility for the future and the ability to shape our part. We believe an emergent coordination is possible with a culture shift in corporate governance.
  • There is no better time for leaders to bring individuals, organizations, communities, regions, professions, and industries to their highest vitality and possibility in order to sustain human well-being and protect and restore nature and the environment. In this decade, the stakes are high.
  • By 2030, and likely well before, there will be a challenging and different situation. The years will pass quickly.

With a longer time horizon, we understand that organizations are living systems “operating” within a set of interdependent networks, communities and species living in one biosphere. Not turning our gaze, we search for and see ways to serve regeneration and people.

Any possibilities now have to connect to what really matters long-term to future generations.

Your organization can tap intelligence and learning so that everyone becomes aware of the bigger picture that will affect them.

With that awareness we can steward new possibilities.

Capability for the future requires some grasp of the big picture.

This is a galvanizing governance priority.

The term “resilience” is everywhere for a reason. Resilience is the ability to cope with and adjust to change. Possibility thinking embraces change with an open orientation, reshuffling minds and hearts to see more resourceful and capable arrangements.

Directors, singly and collectively, working closely with their management teams embark on this journey by:



  1. What big picture changes are ahead?
  2. Who might we be on a much longer time frame and in this big picture?
  3. What and who is in our relational field now and ten years from now?
  4. What loose go-forward frame or construct will inform and guide our initial journey of learning?
  5. How do we place the next generation in their rightful place with capability that we can foster?

Understanding Governance Within a Living Systems Context

Organizations are living systems relating to other living systems in which they are embedded. The corporate governance machine language is swapped out — or at least supplemented — by a living systems language because frames matter. This is not a metaphor, but reality. Indeed, we will all increasingly depend on energized, inspired people doing good work together. With their heightened awareness, the board can better support what fosters vitality in their organization, sector, habitat and society.

Taking in a Wider Relational Field

When we fly higher we can see how things fit together. We can extend our field of perception from the familiar zones of fields, industries, professions and communities into the fertile soil of possibility. When leadership is aware of their organization’s relations with and impact on other spheres, there is a more spacious capacity to coordinate internally and externally — often with the same physical and financial resources.

Directors Evolving a New Sense of Responsibility

These historic times are adding another layer to what directors must know. For the issues that are germane to their organization and the foundation upon which it operates, there is a learning curve and also a personal development requirement: to remain calm.

The generator functions of change include the coming energy deficit, the loss and degradation of planetary resources, climate change, the reset of the overly leveraged financial system, the displacement of workers by exponential technology, and demographic and population shifts.

Events may well intensify in their occurrence and effects. When directors with management grasp the relevant realities of this mix to their organization, they can take opportunities to make things better. The gravity point must be in their own person as wise and steady individuals knowing this is a journey they must share with all their stakeholders.

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& Patterns

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Working with management and communicating to stakeholders, ethical and wise directors can unlock the gate and act and decide in ways that are more resourceful, courageous, and inventive. Independent thinkers will best be able to negotiate the accompanying ethics of this shift.


Machine thinking shifts to living systems thinking

When we move from machine to living systems thinking, we see more relationally and with more care about how one thing affects many other things. A living systems view is more accurate to reality as well:

Individuals in roles are not machine parts after all, and organizations are not actually interlocking cogs in motion.

The machine metaphor has taken us with great efficiency and progress to this point, but it will not serve us going forward. Living systems include both human and environmental contexts and celebrates necessary diversity.


Relationships grow new possibility space and capabilities

Everything, when it is new, has a certain possibility space. Organizations have grown to occupy a niche with their current resources. One would think that their evolutionary potential has been deployed; that existing entities have their set “plate of offerings” and can do no more, at least without increasing financial resources.

However, in a living system perspective we restore ourselves to more natural relationships with everything. New levels of shared community emerge when boards encourage the potential for new collective responses and capacities for the challenges ahead


Existing institutions require relevant external information

Organizational processes and information will be redesigned. Information to the board will consider external and relational factors to help it navigate. While this area will surely evolve, we believe boards can start to explore the issues, dimensions, and natural systems that their organizations both impact and are affected by. This will immediately widen their view and frame the window on the external world through which to chart developments and progress. Indicators will vary, be they focused geographically, on specific issues, or if serving specific populations.


Culture is Job 1

Empowered, supported individuals working in collaborative teams inside and outside the organization help all of us to adapt successfully. Possibilities expand when individual genius and group creativity are nurtured and enabled. Culture is now too important to be left solely to the CEO. The “big-picture, common-good” will count, as will a priority on continuous learning and development for everyone in order that the organization is able to be more and do more. Much more.


Governance has a whole new ambit

There is much talk of “post-normal” times and how the world is not the same as it once was. Governance has to catch up and evolve as well. Policies need to be revised, discarded, renewed and created. Regenerative governance boards frame the minimum viable predictability that their organizations need — and the freedom required to allow everyone to function at their best. It’s time to find ways to inter-relate on shared approaches, distribute decision-making, spawn related initiatives, attract support and engagement, and develop a matrix of staff teams.


A cooperative blue ocean exists

In 2005, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne developed the concept of a “blue ocean” in their book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. Blue ocean is untapped markets and approaches that create new demand. The “red ocean,” in contrast, is bloody cut- throat competition. The flip we will do is about creating blue ocean coordination and collaboration so as to secure the essentials of our common ground.


Every organization has its own path

Organizations differ in their size, scope, fields of interests, settings, constraints and opportunities. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe. We don’t have to fully understand all that is happening. We do, however, have to know the direction of travel. This must be supporting life of course, and not taking away or reducing its vitality thoughtlessly and for non-essential purposes. Those sorts of tradeoffs are where we are at.


The nRhythm community of practice encourages organizations to reflect the patterns of living systems.

Holistic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Holism values the entirety of the system and creates conditions for abundance, resilience, and impact to emerge from the interdependent contributions of all team members, clients, and partners.
Interdependent. The inherent value of all relationships recognizes the complexity of our deep interdependence with our clients, suppliers, partners, and even competitors.
Evolutionary. Maintains a dynamic balance with ever-changing environmental conditions. Both responds to and creates change in our organizational environment to maintain a dynamic balance with constant change.
Unique. Original and the possibility of individual genius. Fosters the expression of the genius of all members within the greater context and purpose of the organization.
Developmental. Growth and health of the members creates the conditions for all members to grow and thrive in conjunction with the health of the system.
Nodal. Decentralized and distributed. Does not rely on centralized command and control structures and allows all members of the system to be resourced, empowered decision-makers.
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