Change starts from within



Author: Monique Cumin, illustrations: Florent Duchêne

The IPCC synthesis published March 20th has once again confirmed a clear message: a radical shift is needed in our socio-economic systems if we want to respect the Paris agreements and safeguard human life in the next decades.

In the corporate world, many leaders and change agents are aware that their company’s progress is too slow. They want to do more but don’t always know where to start. What can they do differently to accelerate awareness and more radical action?

Our answer to this question is simple: to change the world we need to change ourselves first. In other words, our own inner transformation is a prerequisite to any sustainable change.

On March 9th, the Seedlings team hosted an on-line “Courageous conversation” on the topic of the leadership needed to accelerate the ecological transition. We proposed the following 7 leadership skills and qualities :

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So inner transformation comes first and is at the heart of true change. But what does it look like in more concrete terms?

We asked our participants the kind of work they feel they need to do on themselves. Here are a few verbatims:

- "Manage the internal conflict between my "current but already old way to live" and the "new way" I wish to impulse"

- "Be (even) less status driven and open myself to a more simple definition of happiness and fulfilment"

- "Embody 'Less is More' in my life and in my work"

- "Dare to ask myself the right questions and take risks, putting myself outside of my comfort zone"

- "Identify my personal baby steps that will lead to more radical changes"

- "Be more tolerant, accept that not everybody has climate action as a top priority"


Some participants spoke about the need to get more clarity on their inner compass:

- my values and beliefs, my purpose, the meaning I derive from my work and the kind of contribution I want to make to the world.

- what is my role, what am I responsible for, beyond delivering top and bottom line results?

Many of us feel a deep desire to align our different identities: as professionals, parents, friends, citizens, human beings who truly care for future generations. This requires a deep, reflective work, connecting and listening to our thoughts, feelings and body.

This inner transformation is also about acting with more authenticity, integrity and humility: leaving the corporate mask behind, accepting that we don’t know everything, challenging ourselves to learn more and being prepared to unlearn previous ways of doing business.

The drawing below captures the inner transformation and mindset shift from EGO - Man at the top of the pyramid, low concern for ecosystems, to ECO - Man supporting and living in harmony with ecosystems.

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What kind of courageous conversations do we need for this inner work to happen ?

- Conversations with ourselves: what kind of contributions to the world do I want to make? Am I living my purpose in my day-to-day life? Am I embodying my values and beliefs in my corporate role? Where are my dissonances and what do I want to do about them?

- Conversations with people who bring a totally new perspective and can challenge us: our children, young activists, scientists, NGOs who can act as ‘critical friends’, other corporate leaders who are more advanced in the journey towards the regenerative economy.

- Conversations with our colleagues, our leadership team. Are we radical enough ? Are we leading by example and inspiring our team members ? Courage grows when we feel a shared purpose and a deep sense of connection with others.

Deep change starts from within. At Seedlings, we leverage the transformative power of coaching to create a safe space and make it happen at individual, team and organisation levels.


Our online ‘Courageous conversations’ take place every second Thursday of the month, alternatively in English and in French. You are welcome to attend, here is the link to register to the next ones: