Human beings are social animals. We are not especially big or especially strong. Our ability to survive and evolve has always hinged on our ability to learn collectively, to adapt our ways of living to new circumstances, to innovate. We have deep instincts for kindness and concern for the other. We care about one another, not because we need to but because we want to. As the pioneering biologist Humberto Maturana says, “We are loving animals.”

But instincts need to be cultivated. Although relationships have always been the context in which innovation and learning either flourish or founder, challenging work settings demand more than instincts. ...

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