Awakin Calls » Carol Sanford

Carol Sanford: Author, Thought Leader, Regenerative Paradigm Educator
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Jun 20, 2020: Regenerative Life & Regenerative Business


Watch: Video Recording

Read: Summary By Preeta Bansal  


Carol Sanford is a thought leader working with business and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic business change. A Senior Fellow for Social Innovation at Babson College, she works with leaders who see the possibility to transform the nature of work through developing people and work systems that ignite creativity and motivation everywhere. For four decades, Carol has worked with 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 delivers extraordinary results. Carol’s work is deeply rooted in the belief that people can grow and develop beyond what their leaders or anyone sees possible: to be increasingly See full.

Carol Sanford is a thought leader working with business and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic business change. A Senior Fellow for Social Innovation at Babson College, she works with leaders who see the possibility to transform the nature of work through developing people and work systems that ignite creativity and motivation everywhere. For four decades, Carol has worked with 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 delivers extraordinary results.

Carol’s work is deeply rooted in the belief that people can grow and develop beyond what their leaders or anyone sees possible: to be increasingly entrepreneurial, innovative, and responsible in their business and personal actions. She approaches her work as an ecosystem with stakeholders to the business in order to create the organizational conditions, market positioning, and human capability for people to innovate and contribute.

Her most recent book, The Regenerative Life: Transform Any Organization, Our Society, and Your Destiny (2020), sets forth her belief that “we need a better theory of change, one that goes beyond the heroic and do-good models and that taps into, develops, and releases the inherent potential of every human being to live in ways that make meaningful contributions to the world.”

And she comes at this through her own life journey:  “I grew up in a broken and abusive family, in a broken place (the Texas panhandle), the granddaughter on my mother’s side of a Native American man who had escaped the brokenness of early twentieth-century reservation life. My father was the Grand Dragon of the Texas KKK. When I was small, he locked me in a closet as a way to break my will. It didn’t work. Instead, it reinforced my desire to stand up to him, to be a hero, and to break the corrosive influence of racism in my world.”

After trying to be a hero, and when that seemed to stall, to be in service of other heroes, Carol eventually came to realize that the heroic journey was not an adequate theory of change.  Instead, “profound change could happen through the almost invisible work of developing the capacity of ordinary people to see things differently.” Describing her first intuition about the “non-heroic journey,” she notes that transformation of the world lies hidden within the undeveloped capacity of every person. “I didn’t need to become something I wasn’t in order to cause (or force) other people to change. I needed to join with them, to care about the things they cared about, in order to help them create the change they were already seeking.” 

Carol is the author of five other books:  The Regenerative Business: Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes (2017); The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game-Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders, and Impact Investors (2014), The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success (2011); and No More Feedback: Cultivate Consciousness at Work (2019). 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 to produce Executive Education through Babson College, Kaospilot in Denmark and University of Washington, Bothell, WA, and The Lewis Institute at Babson.

Backed by research and extensive case stories and testimonials, Carol challenges and educates leaders to reimagine everything they currently know about strategic thinking, leadership, management, and work design. In the end, she guides people to find their individual and organizational “promise beyond able-ness,” embedding enormous possibilities into an organization.

Among her many recognitions, Carol was honored as Top Conscious Business Leader by Conscious Company Magazine. 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.

Join us in conversation with this thought leader and personal change agent!


Five Questions for Carol
What Makes You Come Alive?

I am alive and just have to become mindful. Overcoming our mechanicalness is the only barrier to feeling alive. Nothing else makes me come alive. It is not external to me. It is an inner process of going from asleep to noticing, to managing my mentation and energies.

Pivotal turning point in your life?

All events designed with this in mind can be uplifting moments. At my age I literally have hundreds that I have seized to uplift me. A severe and almost crippling chiildhood was likely the initial one, but that was over 70 years ago. I saw it for what is was and embraced it. It is not passive act, as your question implies, that happens to you. I seek and strive to create energy and transform moments regularly. They are not accidents. Or a rare event that happened one time. That is a lazy way to live life and passive.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?

I am not a fan of kindness. That is too small and idea. I prefer Caring which means waking me up regularly, teaching me how to do that for myself, and it is often rough and demanding. I had three teachers who I write about regularly. They worked to build will in me, not comfort (which kindness fosters and is external). Caring is internally evoking.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?

I am almost 80 years old. I don't make bucket lists. I just do them, My current one is writing a fiction novel to supplant Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which is deadly for human condition. It has not love or caring and has led to much of our governing process around the US and world.

One-line Message for the World?

Wake Up with consciousness practice or you are useless to planetary and social evolution except as mulch.

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