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The Emergence and Impact of Be Generative: A New Paradigm in Listening and Leadership

Updated: Apr 29

In an era where the cacophony of digital noise, constant connectivity, and rapidly evolving workplaces challenge the very essence of human interactions, a revolutionary approach called Be Generative is paving the way for transformative change in how we listen, lead, and ultimately live. Born from the insightful minds at Fathom, this innovative venture is not just an organization but a movement towards redefining the art of conversation in professional and personal realms.

The Birth of Be Generative

Be Generative emerged from the collaborative brilliance of Brent Robertson, a co-founder of Fathom with two decades of experience in making organizations purpose-driven, and his colleagues, who share a profound belief in the untapped potential of human-centric communication. It aims to harness the often overlooked power of generative listening to foster environments where ideas flourish, challenges are met with creativity, and leadership transcends traditional paradigms.

"Generative listening is the fact that we have this incredible capacity of listening that allows us to really shape our future and to call things and people and ideas into existence." - Brent Robertson, highlighting the transformative power of generative listening in molding the future and bringing ideas and relationships to life.

The Philosophy of Generative Listening

Generative listening, as introduced by Brent, is an advanced form of listening that transcends the act of merely hearing words. It's about engaging with conversations in a way that brings ideas, people, and possibilities into existence. Traditional approaches to listening focus on developing skills without addressing the fundamental reasons we listen or what listening can achieve. Be Generative proposes a radical shift from this mindset, advocating for listening as a dynamic force capable of shaping futures and bringing about substantial change.

Recently, Rache had an opportunity to sit in on one of Brent's sessions for a local group of leaders. He walked everyone through the exercise of learning how to be Generative Listeners. The outcome was an exceptional chance to really get to know another leader – but in a way that none of the traditional preconceived or expected outcomes were present. It's impossible to explain how it works; you have to participate and learn how to do it. And when you do, the way you listen to your children, your colleagues, the world, is just different. 

Want to get started? Learn about Be Generative here.

→ Then, reach out to Brent to book a session.

Top 10 Generative Listening

Brent & Rache during the 360º Session

Photo from Rache & Brent's 360º Assessment + Growth Plan Session. A "Beautiful Mind" room behind us.

The Impact on Leadership

Leadership within the framework of Be Generative is not confined to the directives of action but expands into the realm of being. It challenges leaders to elevate their state of being, aligning it with their actions to influence their environment profoundly. This approach promotes a leadership style that is both inclusive and exploratory, encouraging leaders to venture beyond the reactive responses to challenges and delve into the proactive and discovery-oriented strategies that promise a more substantial impact.

Real-World Applications and Successes

Be Generative has already begun making waves across various sectors, offering workshops and leadership programs that bring its principles to life. These programs have not only proven to be transformative on a professional level but have deeply affected participants personally, leading to improved relationships and enhanced quality of life. Stories of success from these workshops highlight the profound changes in organizational dynamics, decision-making processes, and interpersonal communications, underlining the versatility and effectiveness of the generative listening approach.

"The quality of our listening will inform the quality of the conversations we can have, and the quality of the conversations that we can have will literally shape our life experience and the performance of our organizations." 

Get Started Immediately

Brent encourages a Japanese movement called Ichigo Ichie - One moment, one lifetime. Every moment, even the seemingly mundane, holds a richness waiting to be discovered. This weekend, try approaching the "every day" with the same open heart and attentive spirit we cultivated in the workshop.

What if, while unloading the dishwasher or catching up with a loved one, we truly listened for the whispers of joy, connection, and wonder that often get drowned out by the noise of routine?

Want to learn more about Ichigo Ichie? Buy the book from our friends at Key Book Store.

Looking Ahead

The enthusiasm surrounding Be Generative and its concepts is a testament to the collective yearning for deeper, more meaningful connections in a world often marked by superficial interactions. As this movement gains momentum, its potential to redefine the essence of communication, leadership, and community building is immense. With plans to expand its reach through more workshops, leadership programs, and an upcoming book, Be Generative stands at the precipice of ushering in a new era of human interaction.

"Generative practices are simply about things that ways we can be or things we can do to create more than themselves that have to do with listening, leadership, and how it is that we create extraordinarily powerful conversations." 

Brent describes how generative listening and leadership go hand in hand in fostering conversations that are not only powerful and impactful but also create a positive ripple effect beyond the immediate interaction. 

Super Side Note: The idea of the Ripple Effect is another idea we stay close to with our friend Scott Sullivan who is specifically centered on how our lives start from a single ripple. We will share more on this soon, but Scott was Rache's partner during the Generative Listening workshop and in a 1-hour period they had an incredible experience that was only able to happen by this learning of Generative Listening.

Be Generative represents not just a new method but a new mindset towards how we perceive and engage in conversations. It reminds us that at the heart of every successful organization, community, and relationship lies the ability to listen, not just to respond, but to understand, create, and inspire. As we move forward, embracing the principles of Be Generative could very well be the key to unlocking our fullest potential, both as individuals and as a collective.

See our interview on Brent →


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