Feature Article: On Leadership As Something We Are Rather Than Have

Otto Laske

Introducing Instrumentation to Strengthen the Integral Approach for Use in Organizations

Otto Laske
Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM)
Center for Executive and Organizational Growth (CEOG)
Medford, MA 02155, USA

Copyright © Otto Laske 2006

For Russ who provoked these thoughts.


The goal of this paper is to show that and how the effectiveness of the Integral Approach in organizational work can be strengthened by basing it on explicit assessments covering all four quadrants and subsuming all levels. This is in contrast to a multitude of “objective” right-quadrant-only assessments presently prevailing in industry and the military.

More specifically, this article demonstrates how to provide instrumentation for Wilber’s Integral Approach when used to assess and promote Leadership in the world of work. The instrumentation provided consists of explicit assessments. It derives from research of the Kohlberg School at Harvard, Henry Murray’s personality theories, and Elliott Jaques’s work on requisite organization. The assessments are discussed in the form put in place since 2000 for the author’s teaching of developmental process consultation at the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM). Instrumentation results in the quantification of selected bars of the integral psychograph with regard to individuals, teams, and larger groups. It facilitates relating and comparing developmental lines, their levels and states for a multitude of consultative purposes.

In terms of the topic chosen, I recast Leadership as the natural expression of what adults ARE (UL/LL) rather than HAVE (UR/LR), such as special traits, dispositions, or competences. This move places leadership foremost into the Vertical (cognitive and social-emotional development), and secondarily into the Horizontal (behavior). I thus embed Leadership in the natural process of adult development over the lifespan, rather than monumentalizing, and thereby marginalizing, it as a privilege and as special. To underscore the salience of assessment-based instrumentation, I distinguish between two dimensions of work capacity, a vertical (left-quadrant) one of Capability, and a horizontal (right-quadrant) one of Competence, and see Capability as a set of enablers of competences. Evidently, this distinction is highly relevant for coaching, mentoring, talent management, succession planning, recruitment, and mergers and acquisitions, not just leadership.

From my organizational vantage point, Leadership assessments can be fruitfully leveraged around two fundamental questions asked by every individual in life and at work: first, WHAT SHOULD I DO AND FOR WHOM?, and second, WHAT CAN I DO AND WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?. I consider the first question a social-emotional one, involving discontinuous mental growth across a number of “orders of consciousness” (Kegan) or developmental levels, while I see the second question as cognitive, involving different abilities to construct the world systemically in terms of dialectical logic. In shorthand, I refer to the social-emotional line of adult development as ED, and to the cognitive strand as CD (Stewart, 2005).

^––––––– ^

The article is in three parts, A to C. In A, I introduce the conceptual framework on which this article is based, using actual excerpts from interviews with two managers in a leadership position.

In B, I discuss three separate, but related issues:

  • How does the Capability/Competence distinction change contemporary thinking about Leadership?
  • What does the instrumentation of the Integral Approach introduced in this paper contribute to designing and implementing leadership development programs in organizations?
  • What consequences follow from the adult-developmental perspective for the use of scenarios as a way of developing leadership potential?

C is a short summary.

A. Conceptual Background

To judge from extant websites and leadership training programs (e.g.;;, etc.), the most wide-spread contemporary notion of leadership is an entirely “non-integral” one. Leadership is being construed as a behavioral, right-quadrant concept based on human DOING, uninformed by insights from the developmental sciences into the mental growth adults experience over their lifespan (Wilber, 2005; 2000; Demick & Andreoletti, 2003). As a result, the dependency of Doing on BEING is not acknowledged, seen, or acted upon. This curtailment in the vision of what is leadership directly shows up in the many efforts undertaken to sustain and promote leadership. Overall, these efforts are less effective than would be possible using developmental research findings (properly operationalized).

To complicate the problem, those approaches that understand themselves as “integral” to this day lack accurate measurements (instrumentation) of the leadership potential they focus upon (e.g., D. Beck’s Spiral Dynamics). However, tools for each of Wilber’s quadrants are available, as shown in this paper. It is the purpose of this paper to introduce these tools and to propose that, together, they form an instrumentation of the Integral Approach generally, regardless of the specific area of application. These tools have been taught in the evidence based distance learning program of the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM) since 2000 (, and are presently practiced by CEOG LLC, the affiliated Center for Executive and Organizational Growth.

Figure 1 laske

Figure 1. Two Dimensions of Leadership

A succinct way of formulating the distinction between developmental (UL, LL) and behavioral aspects of development (UR, LR) is to distinguish, with Elliott Jaques (1994; 1998), between what people HAVE – e.g., competences, habits, etc. – and what they ARE (capability). A similar distinction is expressed by Wilber as that between the Horizontal – in which all cows are gray – and the Vertical, depicted in Figure 1.

As we know, one can always suspend what one has, but never what one is, since one’s Being – what one presently IS developmentally–determines the way one uses what one has. Thus, in addition to seeing leadership in terms of the four quadrants, we need to conceptualize it in terms of levels that determine who one IS.

Viewed “vertically,” from the perspective of different developmental lines and their levels, Leadership appears as a process of mental growth we are all ceaselessly engaged in. When the term “leadership” is used emphatically, we typically understand what it denotes as the fruit of having risen to an order of consciousness in which self-awareness has become second nature (Kegan stage 4). This view of leadership comprises both social-emotional and cognitive elements which can, as shown in this paper, be assessed independently of each other.

Another refinement of thinking about leadership should be introduced here. When we consider the horizontal axis of leadership from an epistemological – ways of knowing – point of view, we feel compelled to consider that behavior, as far as we know, is based on PERCEPTION AND LEARNING. We can clarify relationships between the horizontal and vertical axes of leadership by way of a diagram by Steve Stewart (2005):

figure 2 laske

Fig. 2. The Perception & Learning/Adult Development Cycle
giving rise to Frames of Reference (FORs)

This diagram emphasizes several important epistemological truths:

  1. The vertical dimension is largely hidden from view, essentially on account of the fact that nobody can determine his or her own social-emotional level or cognitive profile, but is rather – as Kegan says – subject to it (even developmental experts).
  2. The horizontal or behavioral dimension of leadership is, however, in constant communication with the vertical dimension of CD and ED, determining what can be learned and developed in an individual (capability ceiling).
  3. In the quadrant/level scheme, CD and ED fall into the left quadrants, while Perception and Learning, oriented to the external world of fact, fall into the right quadrants.
  4. We can say that both dimensions converge in what one might call an individual’s Frame of Reference (FOR), or world view.
  5. What can be perceived and learned is a function of the individual’s Frame of Reference, which determines what observable actions are taken.
  6. The FOR is, at the same time, a complex knowledge outcome, formed through a synthesis of perception and learning filtered through the individual’s UL and LL quadrants.

These implications of Fig. 1 have certain actionable consequences:

  1. To the extent that we can MEASURE what occurs in each of the four quadrants, we are enabled to support leadership in an evidence-based way, rather than engaging in “handwaving” as to what we think leadership is or should be.
  2. We need to educate a community of process consultants (Schein, 1999) who can consult to others’ mental processes because they have been educated in the Integral Approach and also have skills and techniques for eliciting valid left-quadrant information about individuals and groups (a purpose the Interdevelopmental Institute is dedicated to).
  3. Since movement along the vertical axis is discontinuous, or occurs in stages, while the horizontal axis is continuous (linear), we can expect to see SUDDEN LEAPS in leadership capacity IF we, as process consultants are able to engage individuals’ ASSESSED potential “at the right time” and “with the right tools.”
^––––––– ^


To concretize what is meant by instrumenting the Integral Approach, we need to become as concrete as possible. This will require some close reading and reflection upon that reading, but the effort should be worth the reader’s while. Below, I give a concrete, although shortened, example of how actual developmental assessments work. For this purpose, I provide 2×2 excerpts (illustrations) from a cognitive and social-emotional interview, respectively.

To begin with CD (cognitive development), let us consider two managers, A and B (Laske, 2005), interviewed about the consequences for their company of having merged with a competitor. Rather than assessing the fragments comprehensively, as taught in IDM Program One (, I present a simplified procedure of how to evaluate cognitive profiles. Specifically, I quote both managers’ answer to the interviewer’s request, and then compare the cognitive complexity of their replies.
In my own practice, I start with CD in that the cognitive interview – called a professional agenda interview – is more neutral, and less intimate than the social-emotional subject-object interview, and thus constitutes a good first step for forming a trusting relationship with the interviewee. In my view, making a clear distinction between CD and ED as different, closely related, developmental lines is absolutely crucial (Laske, 2001): as Hegel put it, what has not been distinguished cannot be related.

Interviewer: Could you tell me a little bit about how you view your company’s internal situation and market position, now that you have acquired Acme’s services business?

Manager A:
When we bought Acme’s service business, it was clear that if we didn’t build efficiency into the combined network, we’d fail. Efficiency means reduced overall costs, more revenue from our customer base, and less work overlap. Now we can price our products more competitively, knowing we can continue to build our revenue stream through service contracts.  And providing that service will keep us close to our customers for equipment lifecycle planning and utilization analyses.  If we can keep our eyes focused on managing costs and delivering quality, the results will be there.

The same request is put to Manager B.
Manager B:
When we bought Acme’s service business, it was clear that one of the immediate advantages would be in building a more efficient network.  By integrating product and service sales, we become a more complete operation, and customers will see us in a new light. However, we also become more vulnerable to a lack of integration until we can define that new business model, and manage re-training and re-directing our sales force. Even then, perhaps customers may feel we’re not as focused on our huge new service operation as was Acme. And Engineering is committed to reducing maintenance and Manufacturing to driving up quality; that may mean we’ll have to branch out to include servicing competitors’ products to justify the new service infrastructure and manage the overhead. Would customers see that as a dilution of our commitment to our own products? We’re juggling many more things than before, and risk over-extending ourselves. How we balance customer perceptions, cost efficiencies, and product development will be a challenge, but we can succeed if we plan carefully and give it our best shot.

Spelling out some of the cognitive differences between the two managers, we can say that Manager A speaks “disjunctively.” We witness very little critical thinking that would explore the implications of the concepts he uses. Also, his ability to construct coherent structural descriptions is weak, with no systemic thinking ability to speak of.

By contrast, Manager B is able to entertain hypotheses, think in conditional terms, and moreover can move back and forth between two lines of thought, the first regarding his company, and second concerning the company’s customers. In addition, while his critical thinking is weak, his ability to construct coherenthypothetical scenarios is fairly strong, however minimal his ability to think systemically may be.

Table 1 laske

Table 1. Informal cognitive profile of two managers

What I’ve done above is to make a simple cognitive analysis of the two managers’ language, considered as the medium of choice for determining left-quadrant information. I have thereby ASSESSED their cognitive profiles – which could be defined in much greater depth than I have done here for the sake of illustration (Laske, 2007, volume 2). As a result, we can say that the two managers starkly differ in their cognitive profile, the second one being without doubt the more advanced and subtle thinker. How the managers’ cognitive profile relates to their social-emotional profile remains to be seen.

It would be a stark simplification of developmental differences between the two managers, to assume that all that distinguishes them is the degree of their complexity of thought. When we look at the respective social-emotional level of development of these individuals, by focusing on the excerpts below, we see that their cognitive ability is more or less commensurate with their developmental maturity level and, I would add, leadership potential (the typical correlation between CD and ED is about 0.6; Stewart, 2005):

Interviewer: Can you tell me a little bit about how you presently make decision in your job?

Manager A: I have recently changed in this. I used to wait for the CEO to come in. But now I just make a decision by myself, and don’t wait for his. When I need to solve an important problem, I’ll tell him about it and say: “Boss, I’d like you to support me in this, else I am going ahead.” Of course, he finds no time for me, and I’d enjoy work more if he did, but at least, I get to decide.

Interviewer: How does that work out for you?
Manager A: To tell you the truth, sometimes I wonder whether doing it this way is much better than delegating, because even though he doesn’t say that much, I can see that it hurts his feelings that I just go ahead without him, and I feel like I’m being a bad employee. Why don’t I just wait for him to make the decision? It’s not so bad, and he is so busy!
Interviewer: What happens then?
Manager A: I often get really angry and think: “Don’t I have the right to act on my own judgment? It isn’t fair of him to make me feel guilty.” And so go ahead, but I end up feeling guilty about it.

In terms of Kegan’s theory of social-emotional maturity (Lahey, 1988; Kegan, 1982), we would score Manager A as a “3/4 individual.” By this is meant that Manager A is presently ensconced in a developmental position within the range from “other-dependence” (level 3) to “self-authoring” (level 4). In this position, individuals resolve developmental conflict toward the lower level of 3, and are thus unable to act in a truly self-authoring way since foiled by internalized others that define him. As a result, A is torn between making decisions by himself, on one hand, and deferring to the CEO, on the other. Thus, it is the CEO who carries the burden of A’s self cohesion, not A himself.

An individual like A is taking responsibility for others’ feelings, thereby putting the burden of his own leadership capacity on others. This is shown by A’s guilt feelings, which are about acting on his own principles. A is literally conflicted between a view of himself as dependent on others, on one hand, and as grounded in his own value system, on the other.

Let us now compare A’s social-emotional and leadership stance to that of Manager B:

Interviewer: Can you tell me a little bit about how you presently make decision in your job?

Manager B: I used to wait for the CEO’s approval, but now I just decide by myself. My boss doesn’t like it a lot of the time, but I think it’s not only better for me but better for our relationship.
Interviewer: What do you think provoked this change in you?
Manager B: I have just had to accept the fact that there are some things I am not going to get from him, and he has to do the same thing. He’s working with somebody who has certain expertises, and though he does not fully share them, he has to understand that I am competent in what I do, and will thus make decisions on my own.
Interviewer: Are you still concerned about his reactions to how you proceed?
Manager B: I know he doesn’t like it, but I try not to dwell on that. And I’m aware that there’s a part of me that doesn’t want him to dwell on it either. I find it much easier when he doesn’t dwell on our different competences.
Interviewer: What makes it hard when he does dwell on that?
Manager B: Well, I just have to work harder to remember that although I can be sad about his not helping me decide, I do think it’s very important for me to honor my own interests.
Interviewer: You said “it’s very important?”
Manager B: Yes, because I’m not me if I don’t.

Commensurate with his more developed cognitive profile, Manager B is also ahead of A in terms of social-emotional maturity. As a result, B possesses stronger leadership potential. As is clearly conveyed in the excerpt, B has relinquished his dependency on the CEO, although some uncertainty and espousal about this move clearly remains. For this reason, B keeps away from internal places in himself where he would be reminded of what his boss might feel about his taking action unilaterally. At the same time, B prefers it if the CEO does not dwell on their differences either. Although not fully self authoring, Manager B has moved much closer to a position of self-certitude than A can presently claim.

In Kegan’s nomenclature, we would assess Manager B as presently residing at stage 4(3), one step below stage 4, thus two developmental steps above Manager A. This indicates hat he lives at an espousal stage – “because I’m not me if I don’t [make decisions by myself].” B only espouses self authoring but falls short of acting accordingly when asked to manifest it.

The difference between the two managers would not astonish a developmentally schooled listener/observer, simply because it is empirically known that cognitive profile and social-emotional level correlate at about .6. There is presently not enough longitudinal research to show whether cognitive development (CD) or social-emotional development (ED) is the motor of leadership development. But we have strong evidence that the two lines of development are closely linked, and are interactive (Laske, 2001; 1999). By making a clear distinction between these two lines in UL and their assessment, we gain the ability to measure their actual discrepancy which could constitute a major cause for an individual’s present leadership dilemmas (and is thus a crucial finding for acting as a process consultant to the individual concerned).


So far, we have considered the upper left quadrant (UL) of the two managers. If we think of these managers as being part of a specific corporate culture, we can address their respective standing in the larger community from a 2nd person perspective, thereby extending our research into LL. From an integral perspective, however, even that is not good enough. We also need to take into account the behavioral manifestations of these managers’ actions in terms of UR and LR, thereby linking behavioral snapshots to developmental profiles that explain (or at least elucidate) them.

While there are many ways to do so, here I choose an assessment taught and used at the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM), by the name of Need/Press Questionnaire. The questionnaire follows the notion of H. Murray that people have psychogenic needs of different strengths, and that the satisfaction of these needs is typically obstructed by the pressures they experience both from inside themselves (ideal press) and from social reality (actual press). We can say that individual Need/Press constellations result in energetic states that determine work performance. The NP questionnaire addresses both the upper and lower right (UR, LR) of the four quadrants, focusing on UR in the form of unconscious Need, and on LR in the form of two kinds of Press (Pressure): the ideal press of an individual’s “shoulds” (values), and the actual press of the individual’s experience of the social surround (whether an organization or family system).

Regarding behavioral Need/Press constellations, we can say that two salient gaps between them typically arise, namely, a gap:

  1. between subjective need and ideal press (“shoulds” or values) [UR/ LL]
  2. between ideal press and actual press (experience of social reality) [UR/LR]

Following M. Aderman (1971), I call the first gap an energy sink, and the second one the individual’s frustration index. Energy sinks straddle the line between UR and LL, while frustration index straddles the line between UR and LR. This nomenclature conveys that an individual whose need and ideals diverge is likely to spend a lot of energy on managing this discrepancy,–energy that consequently cannot flow into his/her performance at work. Similarly, the discrepancy between what I think “should” happen (and the way I “should” appear to others) and how I experience social reality–e.g., an organization’s cultural climate–leads to frustration (or lack of job satisfaction), and this frustration can actually reach pain levels (actually not only in individuals alone, but entire groups of a workforce). Evidently, both energy sink and frustration index, when high, detract from optimal work performance and satisfaction with one’s work.

^––––––– ^

Let’s now return to our two managers and summarize the assessment findings regarding them for each quadrant. (Below, I restrict myself to UL, but could easily extend the findings to the LL by assessing entire groups.)
The numbers below should not attract undue attention; they are stated only to make the point that the quadrants can be duly quantified by a process consultant who has learned how to listen/interview developmentally, and can interpret NP questionnaire data in light of findings about CD and ED.

The findings of Table 2, below, derive from the use of three different assessment tools comprised by the Constructive Developmental Framework (CDF) taught at IDM. While behavioral scores capture right quadrant (external world) findings, the developmental scores spell out left quadrant (inner world) findings.

table 4 laske

* Large numbers indicate low outcomes, in contrast to developmental findings which
indicate high outcomes.
** The Efficiency Index combines Energy Sink and Frustration Index findings, and thus
summarizes all behavioral findings.
*** Developmental levels are notated in Kegan’s notation
**** Fluidity Index is notated in terms of Laske’s 1999 adaptation of M. Basseches’s Dialectical Thinking Model (1984), and is a deeper- level assessment than the one shown in Table 1.

Table 2. Quantification Quadrants for Managers A and B

Expectedly, Manager A not only lives at a lower developmental level (ED), but (on account of the size of his energy sink and frustration index) also has a lower behavioral Efficiency Index. Cognitively, he conceptualizes what is “real” with less fluidity of thinking than Manager B, being bereft of systemic thinking.
Had we carried out a complete social-emotional (ED) interview with both managers, we would have been found, in addition, that A inhabits his present Center of Gravity (L-3/4) in a less flexible way than B who moreover has a higher potential to move to a self-authoring position (L-4).
Since in the Constructive Developmental Framework (CDF) here employed, “developmental potential” has the very precise meaning (introduced by Jaques, 1994) of “ability to move to the subsequent developmental level,” we could thus say that not only is B better positioned for a leader position than A, but that the likelihood for B of becoming fully self-authoring is decidedly greater. In this regard, B is served well by his stronger cognitive ability to think systemically (although cognitive coaching for boosting that ability further would certainly be recommended).

From a more general perspective, the three CDF assessments exemplified above fit into the 4-quadran/all level context shown below (courtesy Brian Leclerc):

IDM/Ingegral Instrumentation
Fig. 3a. IDM Instrumentation of the Integral Approach

As can be seen, the leader’s Ego straddles left and right quadrants, and functions under the influence of both social-emotional and cognitive self (CD+ED=UL). On the behavioral side, the Ego manages both the ideal press of its “shoulds” and values – imposed on itself (UR/LL), and the actual press of the social environment which it constructs and in which it finds itself (UR/LR).

We can simplify Fig. 3a by leaving out some detail, focusing on the way CDF assessments are taught in IDM’s Program One. Modules A and B cover the left, while Module C covers the right, quadrants, and Module D puts them all together (

figure 6 laske
Fig. 3b. IDM Instrumentation of the Integral Approach

The connections shown between the different quadrants can be summarized as follows:

  • ED and CD are intrinsically linked albeit in ways not completely understood at present.
  • Behaviors (energy states) pinpointed by NP in UR & LR are symptoms to be explained, and to be addressed from a left-quadrants developmental perspective.
  • LL and LR assessments are extensions (through aggregation) of UL and UR assessments to teams, groups, and entire organizations.

What’s involved in researching the UL quadrant of clients through semi-structured developmental interviewing (for CD & ED data points) is actually the crux of learning developmental process consultation (and coaching), at least at IDM (Laske, 2006, passim). Such interviewing,–much de-emphasized by Kegan, but spelled out beautifully (albeit verbosely) in Lahey et al. (1988)–is very close to what Wilber calls the therapeutic process and considered by him a process of re-owning.

As Wilber puts it (2005, 165)
The therapeutic 3-2-1 process the Integral Institute has developed to help in these cases consists in turning those 3rd-person monster (its) – say, of 360 surveys by your peers [OL] – back into a 2nd-person dialogue voice (“you”) …and then going even further and re-identifying with those voices as 1st-person realities that you re-own and re-inhabit using, at that point, I monologues, not voice monologues.

For the same purpose, at IDM we use what is innocuously called “developmental interviewing and listening” by which 3rd and 2nd person representations of clients are turned back into the underlying 1st person experience of their self identity. The ability required by such interviewing is a transformational enterprise undertaken by coaches and other helping professionals – process consultants – who well know that the effort is truly interdevelopmental, and thus benefits both parties involved in the long run.

For good reason, it is essential that the developmental interviewer employed be “a stage ahead” of the client. Otherwise, it is impossible to avoid the catastrophe of the blind leading the blind that is pervasive today in conventional coaching and leadership consultation, where the so-called helper does not know his/her own developmental level (Laske, 2006, chapter 9). No re-owning of falsely objectified parts of the client can otherwise happen, and only 3rd-person cognition, not 1st-person self-identity is going to be engaged.

Of course it is important to keep in mind Kegan’s distinction between mental growth and mental health, or more sloppily, “coaching” and “therapy.” Developmental interviewing of leaders and others does not touch upon the client’s SHADOW, although it might well focus on STATES. Rather, it is focused on STAGES throughout, and thus on pure focusing of attention in contrast to interpretation and enactment. And this becomes possible only in a cohesive, integral framework like IDM’s Constructive Developmental Framework (CDF) or an equivalent one.

^––––––– ^

Leadership is Systemic

So far, while keeping away from “trait” and “fate” theories of leadership (“you are a born leader or you are not”), we have kept within the confines of individuality. However, leadership is a systemic issue, as any consideration of LL and LR will show. The best way to clarify what the outlined CDF instrumentation of the Integral Approach amounts to with regard to leadership in organizations is to consider the table below.

table 7 laske

* Elliott Jaques (1998; 1994); B1/C1 stand for disjunctive, B2/C2 for conjunctive thinking, while B3-4/C3-4 indicate conditional/parallel thinking, respectively. (Time Span is assessed through a special interview).
**Otto Laske (1999; 2001), adapting M. Basseches’s work (1984).
*** Otto Laske (1999), adapting R. Kegan’s work (1982).

Table 3. Two basic organizational architectures

In the table, I have adopted Elliott’s Jaques’s view that leadership is a systemic issue, and that it is therefore crucial to consider the organizational environment in which leadership is to be exercised. Jaques’s emphasis is on systems management (LR), with inclusion of psychological understanding (UL) shaped by J. Piaget’s ‘orthodox’ cognitive development theories (that is, exclusive of post-formal thought, as well as social-emotional development of adults in UL). Moreover, Jaques’s approach, when taught and exercised, engages only 3rd person cognition (as does Spiral Dynamics), not 1st person self-identity (Wilber 2005, 106), which is in contrast to IDM teachings of developmental listening and analysis.

To make Jaques’s systemic view more integral, the dimensions missing in Jaques’s “social engineering” and “information processing” approach have been added in the table’s right side (under Fluidity Score and Developmental Stage). His revolutionary meta-assumption is that organizations are based on two fundamental architectures: first, a “right quadrants” Accountability Architecture (also referred to as Work Complexity Architecture) and second, a “left quadrants” Capability Architecture, and that leadership, systemically speaking, can only happen in REQUISITE ORGANIZATIONS.

Requisite organizations are those in which the two architectures briefly defined above are in fundamental alignment with each other, such that if you function on a particular level of work complexity, say Stratum IV, you do so because you can be shown to manifest commensurate CD and ED scores, as indicated in the table. (Behavioral or right-quadrant scores are not included in the table, since for Jaques they are merely external symptoms of individuals’ cognitive profile.) For example, if you are assigned tasks on Stratum IV and do not have a commensurate Time Horizon of 2-5 years, or lack either the requisite CD score or ED level required for  your Stratum, you are not only failing as an individual performer, but are also a hindrance to the exercise of leadership throughout your company.

^––––––– ^

When we now compare the information in Table 2 with that of Table 3, we see more clearly how Managers A and B, respectively, fit into the Requisite Architecture of their company:

Table 8 Laske
Table 4. Positioning of Managers A and B in their company’s Accountability and Capability Architectures

As shown, these two managers differ in their Capability (CD/ED) scores, and therefore should be active on different Strata – levels of Accountability – of their company. Although their Capability scores are commensurate with the competence requirements of their particular Stratum (“job requirements”), it would be a miscalculation to expect from Manager A the leadership and optimality of competence use that Manager B is able to realize. These managers’ developmental scores evidently place them at different Strata of organizational work, and therefore of leadership. For obvious reasons, accurate assessment of potential leaders’ Capability levels, and comparison of these levels with the level of work complexity they are held accountable for is absolutely crucial for requisite organizations to come into being.

This point of view gains additional saliency on account of the fact that the overall attainment of developmental levels in Western societies looks approximately as is stated below by  Susann Cook-Greuter (1999, p. 35):

Table 9 laske
Table 5. The sober reality of adult developmental attainment

When this sober statistics is appreciated, there is no need for astonishment about the fact “that we have so few leaders.” In fact, one might be gratified that we have as many leaders as we do seem to have!

Although Table 5 is restricted to ED, and thus leaves out of account cognitive profile (CD), given the correlation between CD/ED found in the military (Stewart 2005), it is telling enough. The table says that as we move up in social-emotional level, we will find fewer and fewer candidates available for leadership positions. In fact, most individuals groomed as leaders today are “Group Contributors,” residing on Kegan level 3. This is borne out by the very fact that leadership is such a hot topic, and the most eclectic and hazy schemes are being invented to make us forget Table 5. When we combine the information from Tables 3 and 5, we have, I think, before us a realistic context for discussing leadership, and for thinking about what can be done to “promote leadership potential.”

However, we still lack a tool for sizing up the Capability distribution – requisite or non-requisite – of an entire organization. To remove this lack, at CEOG, S. Stewart and I have introduced Capability Metrics. These are displays of left and right quadrant assessment outcomes that partition an entire organizational echelon (or even workforce) into three groups, those of organization members BELOW, AT, and ABOVE the requisite Capability level for work they are held accountable for. Based on defining representative samples of larger numbers of people, and aggregating their assessment results, such metrics precisely show the degree to which an organization is presently requisite, balancing its division of labor (LL/LR) with its Capability Architecture (UL/UR):

figure10 laske
Fig. 4 Capability Metric for a representative sample

As shown in Figure 4, the (normalized) gray, requisite area for the company here invoked is encased by a variously configured red area of “below” and green area of “above” requisite Capability levels. This integral assessment finding for an entire leadership echelon indicates that the company’s present Capability distribution at that echelon (or Stratum) is out of balance, or non-requisite. This means that people are not positioned for work where they should be, regardless of whether they lack Capability or have excess Capability (which is wasteful and equally non-requisite). Any attempt to compensate for lack of capability (red bars) by substituting excess capability (green bars) is a waste of talent with ruinous consequences for the company’s future.

In terms of integral mathematics (Wilber, 2005, 56-57), Capability Metrics give us a third-person conceptualization of a first-person view from within the third person (objective organism), here aggregated over a sample representing a larger group of people [LL/LR] (§[sum] 3-p x 1-p x 3p). In short, by bestowing instrumentation on the Integral Approach, we are replacing the third term“1p” – say of Spiral Dynamics – by “3p,” of objective science, based on explicit assessments.

When we interpret the assessment outcomes for the representative sample above as one depicting ALL PEOPLE IN AN OFFICIAL LEADERSHIP POSITION in a company or institution – say 50 line managers or 50 principals in a school system,–we can see that the Capability Metric shows considerable lack of leadership and an imbalance in the way that people with leadership potential are positioned within the Accountability Architecture. This entails that even if leadership potential is available in a company or institution, it is not distributed in a requisite way, in terms of levels of work complexity or accountability strata.

This situation exists because management does not conceive of work from a left-quadrant (vertical) or Capability perspective, so that the misalignment of developmental potential with right-quadrant behaviors and competences cannot be spotted. The adult-developmental lines and their levels (CD/ED), plus the associated energy states and types in the four quadrants, therefore remain fundamentally misaligned, and this necessarily determines the total corporate culture of the organization. Needless to say, it also has an important impact on the company’s bottom line of profits.

All of this you, as a process consultant or leadership coach, could never find out if you were following the conventional HR/scorecard/performance management and OD paradigms. What is more relevant in this context is that you couldn’t find it out either if you were following an un-instrumented Integral Approach, since only what can be measured can also be managed in companies and the military.
As for non-integral paradigms, they are all fixated on UR (behavior) and LR (social systems), thoroughly neglecting first-person experience (UL) and the experience of community and culture (LL). Even Jaques’s social engineering approach falls flat here, because you cannot without distortion reduce UL (inner experience) to the cognitive line (CD) alone, and even less to that line conceived and measured solely in terms of formal logic a la Piaget (

Looking back at Capability Metrics, the systemic nature of organizational and military leadership could not be demonstrated more convincingly, it seems to me. In the attempt to make visible leadership’s integral nature as well, using Capability Metrics is an important tool. Organizational leaders are required to “embody as many perspectives as possible,” and using Capability Metrics as instrumentation for making leadership actionable is a way to honor this injunction.

^––––––– ^

B. Salient Leadership Issues

B1.  How does the Capability/Competence distinction change contemporary thinking about Leadership?

Let’s return to the distinction between Horizontal (right quadrant) and Vertical (left quadrant) introduced above now. We can then make an important distinction between two aspects of leadership that I call CAPABILITY and COMPETENCE. Simply put, Capability is vertical and represents what somebody presently IS developmentally, while Competence is horizontal, and indicates what somebody HAS. The former can never be suspended, while the latter very well can.

Competences are typically “listed,” which reflects non-systemic thinking and, from a developmental assessment perspective, is mere hand-waving. Lists of competencies are typically haphazard, and are moreover strictly behavioral even if contextually derived. But assuming such a list for arguments sake, we can say with regard to Managers A and B that even if they had the same competences, both will use the competences they ‘have’ differently, simply because the underlying enablers of their competence, that is, their Capability, is at different levels. And since it is not competences per se that matter to organizations but rather their use, this is a very important insight also for discussing leadership.

By extension, if you have the capacity for ‘seein’ others’ potential – assuming that this is a relevant aspect of leadership – your ability to do so will vary from developmental stage to stage (ED) and one cognitive disposition (CD) to another. It will then be too imprecise a statement to say of somebody that “she has the capacity of seeing others’ potential.” This statement is woefully lacking in substance. However, if you could say following an assessment, using Kegan’s nomenclature, that “she has the capacity of seeing others’ potential at ED-level S-4/3, with a cognitive grasp – expressed in terms of a CD Fluidity Score– of or 25% of what would be optimal,” you would have made a meaningful statement.

This statement would be even more substantive if, in the manner of evidence based leadership assessment as practiced at IDM, you could amplify your developmental statement to include behavioral scores (data from the NP Questionnaire), by saying:

Manager A’s behavioral profile shows a significant Energy Sink between her unconscious needs in self conduct and interpersonal perspective, on one hand, and her ideas of how she should present herself on her job, on the other. She also is burdened by a high Frustration Index  stemming from a gap between her personal values and how she experiences the organizational culture As a consequence, her Efficiency Index and leadership potential is somewhat impaired, but coaching might be helpful, particularly in assisting her in adopting a more highly self-authoring stance (Kegan stage 4) [potential permitting].

An abbreviated way of saying this would be:

While Manager A has considerable leadership resources at  level L-3/4, and also has a commensurate cognitive capability [Fluidity Index = 17%], she can presently exercise her leadership competences only mildly because of lack of Capability (developmental resources). She can therefore be expected to do optimal work only on Stratum II, not III, and should be re-assigned to work commensurate with Stratum II.

A slightly more comprehensive way to express this would be to say:

While Manager A’s Capability (ED)! is presently insufficient for a leadership position at Stratum III, she can be held fully accountable for work at complexity level II. On that Stratum, she could with some assistance become more aware of her behavioral profile, especially regarding self-conduct and emotional intelligence, and could, by using her fairly good cognitive grasp (CD), certainly strengthen the use of her  leadership competences. Cognitive coaching, in particular, should be used over behavioral coaching, keeping her present level of social-emotional maturity constantly in mind.

^––––––– ^

The above characterizations are meant to convey the distinction between Capability (Vertical) and Competence (Horizontal) [see Fig. 1], simultaneously pointing to the interrelatedness of CD and ED in UL. In the table below, this interrelatedness is taken into account, as the attempt is made to give an overview of important leadership orientations (in the form of 3rd person conceptualizations):

table 11 laske
Table 6. Changing orientations across adult stages

In the table, differences between selected orientations important for the exercise of leadership have been spelled out in terms of different ED levels (Stewart, 2005; Laske, 2006, 32). However generic (since lacking a consideration of intermediate levels such as S-3/4 or S-4(3)), the table marks advances in leadership potential based on social-emotional maturity alone. By quoting this table, I want to signal that one cannot expect leadership competences – whatever they are defined as being–to be used UNLESS THERE EXIST COMMENSURATE ENABLERS ROOTED IN DEVELOPMENTAL CAPABILITY (ED). This, in brief, seems to me to be the relevance of distinguishing Capability and Competence, both theoretically and pragmatically, in coaching and mentoring people in leadership positions.

^––––––– ^

B2. What does an adult-developmental perspective on Leadership contribute to designing and implementing “leadership development programs”?

I have suggested above that leadership capability can be precisely assessed and programs meant to strengthen leadership can be based on developmental assessment findings. More importantly, I have implied that those working with leaders would benefit if they were to adopt evidence based procedures to give feedback to their clients, instead of “winging it” by way of intuition uninformed by developmental assessment data (not to speak of the transformational experiences they would gain through structured developmental interviewing).

We can speak of evidence based leadership programs in contrast to those that are not based on research evidence. By research, I don’t primarily mean academic research in the institutional sense, but rather the qualitative research each coach, mentor or leadership trainer – having graduated from such research–is doing when assessing his or her client in terms of developmental profile.
How, on account of Table 6, would one go about designing and implementing leadership development programs? (Below, I leave out level S-2 since it does not predispose individuals to any kind of leadership ability).

table 12laske
Table 6b. Changing orientations across adult stages

As demonstrated by the two managers figuring in this paper, leadership capabilities between Kegan’s developmental levels S-3 and S-4–that is, prior to reaching the self-authoring level – certainly exists. In fact, it is from this developmental range that most leaders are presently being chosen and groomed. This is borne out by Stewart’s (2005; Laske 2006, 60) 3rd person conceptualization (vignette) of S-3 individuals:

S-3 is a ‘We,’ or a sense of community stage.  Self-image is determined entirely by what others think, whether these others are internalized or external others.  Thus, people at this stage are highly, if not completely, identified with an external socially established norm or standard that has been internalized.  If rank, position, power, etc., are viewed as being important by the system that defines them, then they are important to this individual, as are appearances – social correctness.  Obtaining status, in whatever terms the external reference is based upon, makes them highly competitive, but they will not stoop to the stratagems Stage 2 persons will to achieve their ends.  They ‘follow the rules,’ and are ‘above board’ about winning and losing.  It is very unlikely that they will ‘see’ or think beyond the established operational principles and values of ‘their’ organization.  Because their image is so caught up in the status quo, they will be unwilling to take the risks necessary to change it, even if they can stand apart from their unit, group, or organization far enough to objectively assess what could make it operate more effectively.  Hence, they do not make good change agents, either in the sense of seeing what needs to be done or in actually doing it.  Any change they believe might be beneficial will be whatever is being echoed by the majority.  In a leader position, this person will follow what they believe the norms are and will try to establish a climate accordingly.  Yet, they may have a very tough time doing so, unless those norms lead them to simultaneously gain recognition, or credits, within the broader social structure.  What contributes to the climate first is how it will affect their stature.  Hence, the climate will be focused as much on individual achievement as it is on the group’s collective effectiveness.

While S-3 individuals are other-dependent, defining themselves by membership in a group, S-4 individuals by definition live and die by their own value system. They have risen above their peers through an awareness of their uniqueness, and they know that they cannot impose their own values on others, without quite understanding what their own values really are. As S. Stewart (2005; Laske, 2006, 65) puts it rather succinctly:

S-4 is an ‘I” stage, but one much different from S-2.  These individuals, rather than trying to become someone, have found themselves or ‘come of age.’  They have been successful while pursuing S-3 goals and have, in their eyes, earned the ‘right’ to stand above the crowd and be noticed.  Consequently, they are highly, if not completely, identified with the value system that they have authored for themselves, yet they are very respectful of others for their competence and different values and beliefs.  They find great difficulty in standing away from themselves to discover their own voids, but they will accept them when they are discovered.  In this sense, they can be more self-accepting, relative to those less well developed.  They can stand back, however, from the institution that previously defined them far enough to be objective about what they ‘see.’ Since they are far more objective, they can be good at apprehending what could be done to change the system of which they are a part and, once doing so, will have enough strength in their own center-of-gravity to weather the storms that may come about in actually instigating a change or transformation process.  The changes they author, however, will, more likely than not, be directed towards making the organization more responsive to themselves, authoring and moving it in directions approximating their own personal ‘institution,’ rather than one more universally self-sustaining.  The climate they create will be one that follows the status quo, but taking on their own idiosyncratic values and operational principles as time passes.  Since they are caught in their own frame of reference, they fail to appreciate the value of other frames of reference (that are) just as much, if not more, developed. This, by definition, limits the extent to which ‘their’ organization can learn-to-learn, grow, and further develop.

While S-4 individuals are better change agents than their S-3 colleagues, they, too, will strive for a status quo, except one that solidifies their own particular institution. Their big limitation lies in the fact that they cannot step outside of their own “integrity cage,” and are thus unable to see the limitation of the value system with which they are presently identified. In short, they are less than capable of leading learning organizations.

Most of these obstacles seem to fall away when we move to Kegan’s S-5, although pathologies may still intrude. The intriguing question arises why individuals at this stage should care to be organizational leaders in the first place. As S. Stewart (2005; Laske, 2006, 68) formulates it:

At this stage, people are no longer strongly identified with any particular aspect or asset of their own frame of reference.  They know that no matter what they do it will be limited.  Consequently, they have come to realize that learning-to-learn, life long learning, is not just a platitude, but becomes their life.  Collaboration and collegiality become the means for exchanging different frames of reference openly, where exposure of self-limitations is routinely accepted as the only means to learn increasingly more about the self and others.  This makes them potential unifiers – consensus builders at their level – and an invaluable resource for rethinking corporate goals, operational principles, and values that combine to create culture.  Such a person is best positioned where visionary risk taking and development of others, their organization, and the broader social context are called for.  Such a person is often highly self-critical, even humble, seeing clearly the limits to which s(he) can impose their perceptions and convictions on others.  The climate they will create will be one that is open to exploration, risk taking within reasonable limits, and the emphasis, above all else, will be on promoting and sustaining growth and continued development of others and the organization as a whole.

On account of these differences between ED levels (and their associated CD markers), when we speak of “leadership development programs,” we first have to be sure to have a baseline for where developmentally we want the leaders we groom to reside when we start out working with them as process consultants. Once appropriate evidence based assessments have been made that indicate the developmental range of our clients, we can then define developmental parameters based on which such programs can be defined, designed, implemented and measured as to outcome.

In reference to Table 6(b), and focusing on the transition from S-4 to S-5, we might ask:

  • How do we move self-authoring individuals’ view of others from being mere collaborators to being active contributors to their own integrity?
  • How do we increase self insight?
  • How do we promote the adoption of values less self-determined than universal, independent of one’s own life history?
  • How do we channel needs from flowing from one’s own striving for integrity to being viewed in connection with one’s own limitations?
  • How do we decrease need to control from low to very low?
  • How do we go beyond mere dialogue to true, self-revelatory communication?

To begin answering the first question, let’s focus on the first orientation listed in the table:

table excerpt laske

To instigate views of others that help develop leadership potential, it would seem that we need to put in place environments safe enough to engage with others as agents we perceive as crucial for our own development, and as able to act upon as Mind Openers. For individuals below level 4, this is not a realistic provocation, especially if the process consultant the client works with resides at a lower developmental level than his or her client. Even if that is not the case, consultants cannot do anything other than facilitate what is about to happen developmentally in individuals’ self awareness anyway. In process consultation, our own – assessed–developmental level is therefore the most potent predictor of success in grooming leaders.

^––––––– ^

B3. What consequences follow from the developmental perspective for the use of scenarios as a way of developing leadership potential?

Scenarios are typically seen as tools for “developing leadership potential” (R. Volckmann, 2006 [Emanation and Learning Challenge], ILR). In this formulation, the word “development” is used in its agentic rather than ontic meaning, namely, in regard to what human agency can do to promote leadership. As this paper has shown, this use of the term “development” is different from the vertical (ontic) meaning of development, where what is at issue is that humans develop in being adults discontinuously (or in stages), both cognitively and social-emotionally, and out of their own accord.

Upon reflection it would seem that the two different meanings of the English term “development” belong together:–to promote leadership out of synch with the assessed adult development an individual is undergoing is like teaching a child physics without regard to its capability, at different ages, to understand conservation of quantity. Rather, what needs to happen is “developing” leadership potential in harmony with the assessed adult-developmental potential of individuals, teams, and larger group, based four-quadrant instrumentations as introduced in this paper.

Once this evidence based way of “developing leadership” is accepted, the question becomes: WHAT DO SCENARIOS articulated by an individual and scrutinized by a developmentally schooled process consultant TELL US ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENTAL POTENTIAL A PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL IS PRESENTLY POSSESSED OF?

Developmental theory would suggest that the scenarios individuals choose are a straightforward reflection of their present developmental level (ED) and cognitive profile (CD), that is, their Frame of Reference. This indeed is the assumption in developmental interviewing based on verbal prompts – such as ‘success,’ ‘important to me,’ ‘control’ and others used in Kegan’s semi-structured Subject-Object Interview–such as the following:

Can you think of a time in your recent work where you felt somewhat jubilant,
feeling you had achieved something that was difficult for you, or that you had
overcome something? (Laske 2006, 89; Lahey et al., 1988).

Here, the implicit question of the schooled interviewer is “what comes to mind,” and the challenge for him is to probe, in a disciplined way (that can be learned at IDM) what comes to mind in such a way that the speaker’s Center of Gravity clearly emerges with high inter-rater reliability. The social-emotional prompt above is a kind of Rorschach test. In answering it, the interviewee projects him or her self into the prompt, which can then be analyzed based on developmental stage theory. In this context, it is the task of the process consultant, first of all to ASSESS what Center of Gravity is being articulated by the client choosing a particular scenario. It belongs to a later step following this assessment, to “identify potential events that would exercise the integral aspects of leadership,” and to “generate potential action and implications (emanation),” to speak with R. Volckmann. (For examples, see Laske 2006a, Appendix).

From the vantage point of an instrumented Integral Approach, then, the present informal use of scenarios amounts to a quid pro quo. Without knowing the client’s developmental potential and risk through assessment, there is no way of distinguishing ESPOUSAL – what an individual verbally pretends but does not authentically own in terms of 1st person experience due to lack of maturity – from what an individual is ACTUALLY capable of putting into action.
However, the conventional agentic use of scenarios can be easily reconciled with their novel ontic use if developmental assessment precedes leadership coaching proper, and such coaching is subsequently carried out based on a precise understanding of the client’s assessed developmental and cognitive profile.

A major result of the instrumentation introduced here into the Integral Approach, then, is that espoused Capability of clients can be separated from actually existing 1st person experience of self-identity. In this case we can speak of an evidence based use of the Integral Approach.

Regarding Managers A and B, discussed above, this entails that theoretically Manager A (Kegan stage 3/4) can at any time espouse scenarios that to realize would be impossible for him, although it might be possible for Manager B who is two developmental stages ahead of A (Kegan stage 4/3). If the process consultant is not schooled developmentally, this difference would completely escape him or her, and he would delude himself as well as his client as to the capability of the latter. In short, we would be dealing with the blind leading the blind (as in so much of contemporary coaching).

The topic of scenarios is actually an interesting opportunity to contrast the non-instrumented use of the Integral Approach with the instrumented, assessment-based one outlined in this paper. We can indeed say that client and process consultant together form a SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT TEAM (Volckmann). Assuming that what is projected by the client as a scenario is initially pure ESPOUSAL (in the sense of Argyris’s distinction between ‘espoused theory’ and ‘theory in use’), it then becomes the mandate of the consultant, to check out in how far the client is actually capable of putting espousals into practice with some developmental scaffolding.

At this point, I can answer some of the questions raised by R. Volckmann, drawing on the previous discussion:

  • What were the assumptions, beliefs and values that shaped the client’s response?
  • What were the actions that stemmed from these?
  • What were the cultural factors that influenced the response? and
  • What were the interactions with systems, processes and technology that related to the client’s actions?

Simply put:

  • The assumptions, beliefs, and values that shaped the client’s response (encoded in the scenario) are those germane to his or her present developmental level and cognitive profile. (You tell me the developmental level, and I will predict the gist of the scenario, see Table 1).
  • The actions stemming from the client’s scenario are behavioral symptoms of the CD/ED constellation based on which the scenario is unconsciously designed by the client,–a level that the client is subject to, and thus has no control over and no way of dissimulating vis a vis a developmentally schooled observer.
  • The cultural factors involved in the formulation of the scenario can be examined by a suitable questionnaire that investigates the corporate climate in which the client is finding himself (for instance, the Need/Press Questionnaire taught and used at IDM).
  • The interaction with systems, processes, and technology that related to the client’s actions do not exist independently of, or outside of, the client, but are co-generated by him or her, and thus derive from his/her meaning making in UL, and his/her behavioral symptoms in UR.

Given this state of affairs, what would it mean to do as Volckmann suggests: “An expert CTC [consultant] could walk the client through an analysis of choices in relation to levels of development and the possibilities from the perspectives of other levels”? This sounds as if the client could readily imagine and instantiate “other levels,” but such a conclusion would be against all empirical evidence, except that we would have to grant the possibility of espousal.
For instance, while Manager A can speak to possibilities “from the perspectives of other levels,” such as the level of Manager B, to do so would be spotted by a developmental expert as pure ESPOUSAL, and would not be suitable material to work on as long as Manager A has developmental risks to cope with that preclude his capability to realize possibilities of other, higher levels. Manager A’s pronouncements would amount to adopted 3rd person descriptions picked up from the social surround that would have no 1st person experiential grounding in self-authoring (assessed UL).
Rather, a developmentally schooled consultant would “walk the client through” the developmental assessment findings about him or her and, in a considerate way, give feedback about the assessment to the client, to probe for readiness vs. resistance or espousal. From the client’s reaction to the feedback, a good deal can be learned about the extent to which the client is non-defensively able to “own” his present developmental profile, and to what extent resistance is an important factor in the interactions of the Scenario Development Team.
The notion of scenario shows a high respect for the context in which leadership education is to happen. It might be proper, therefore, to conclude this paper with some reflections on the context in which clients’ developmental profile can be boosted, at least to some extent, given a knowledge of their assessed potential to move on to a successive developmental stage.  As outlined above, non-requisite environments in which there is a gap between Accountability and Capability Architectures are not promising for leadership development in the agentic sense of the term. Ultimately, then, the question of how to design scaffolding environments is answered by the corporate culture that prevails, and the goodness of such scenarios will depend on the degree of requisiteness in the sense defined earlier (Jaques, 1998).

When it is a matter of designing contexts in which to boost leadership, it is imperative to take into account Perception and Learning as forces by which an individual’s Frame of Reference (FOR) actually develops. It is through Perception and Learning (UR) that knowledge development leading to a specific FOR takes place in an individual, and this knowledge development articulates the developmental profile (CD/ED) such as we explored for Managers A and B above.

figure 14 laske repeat
Fig. 2. The Perception & Learning/Adult Development Cycle
giving rise to Frames of Reference (FORs)

The important process that comes into play in supporting the development of leadership is REFLECTION ON ACTION, and this process has all the hallmarks of the participants’ level of UL (CD/ED) maturity. In working with a budding leader, the developmentally schooled consultant can be most effective if working in the confines of tasks that require engagement of leadership in a group (class) of individuals sharing a narrow developmental range. On the part of the client (budding leader), this requires:

  • The capacity of self reflection.
  • An understanding of the difference between espoused and developmentally authentic scenarios.
  • The capacity to project forward and question assumptions (triple-loop learning).
  • The capacity to imagine and evaluate contingencies.
  • The capacity to collaborate with others in complex teaming relationships.
  • Resolution of conflicts with internalized others that – prior to reaching a self authoring level (Kegan S-4)–inhibit taking risks and the breaking of self-sealing conventions.

However, without a thorough assessment of where the individual – potential leader – presently is developmentally, and how that individual learns and perceives the world, no work with scenarios can be very effective, and no requisite scaffolding environment for their use can be successfully built.

C. Summary and Outlook

I have made a grand tour over issues of leadership seen from a developmental and epistemological, all-quadrant perspective, with a focus on evidence based uses of the Integral Approach in organizations. In so doing, I have tried to rescue leadership from both trait theory and fate theory (leaders are born, not made), as well as from being marginalized as something special. I have conceived of leadership as a natural outgrowth of a natural – although largely hidden–process: that of adult development over the lifespan.

Adult development provides natural answers to WHAT SHOULD I DO AND FOR WHOM (ED), and WHAT CAN I DO (CD), in a way that can only be facilitated, but not sped up. However, what may be helpful in supporting the natural course of adult development – once its level in an individual has been determined through assessment  —  is to put in place requisite environments (E. Jaques) that can support authentic – rather than merely espoused – scenarios.
The key to distinguishing between these two kinds of scenario lies in stringently assessing the 1st person experience of a client’s self-identity through semi-structured developmental interviews, both cognitively and social-emotionally. (For a textbook on assessments of ED, see Laske’s Measuring Hidden Dimensions, volume 1, found at

Selected Bibliography

  • Aderman, M. (1971). See Murray, H.
  • Basseches, M. (1984). Dialectical thinking and adult development. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.
  • Cook-Greuter, S. (1999). Post-autonomous ego development: A study of its nature and measurement. Ed.D. thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA.
  • Jaques, E. (1994). Human capability. Falls Church, V A: Cason Hall & Co.
  • Jaques, E. (1998). Requisite Organization. Arlington, V A: Cason Hall & Co. Publishers.
  • Jaques, E. (2002). The life and behavior of living organisms: A general theory. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self. Cambridge, M A: Harvard University Press.
  • Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads. Cambridge, M A: Harvard University Press.
  • Lahey, L., Souvaine, E., Kegan, R., Goodman, R., Felix, S. (1988). A guide to the subject-object interview: Its administration and interpretation. Laboratory of Human Development, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Laske, O. (1999a). Transformative effects of coaching on executives’ professional agenda. Ann Arbor, MI: Bell & Howell (order no. 9930438;
  • Laske, O. (1999b). An integrated model of developmental coaching. Consulting Psychology Journal  51.3, 139-159.
  • Laske, O. (2000). Foundations of scholarly consulting: The Developmental Structure/Process Tool, Consulting Psychology Journal 52.3, 178-200.
  • Laske, O. (2001). Linking two lines of adult development: The developmental structure-process tool. Bulletin, Society of Research in Adult Development, 10.1, Spring.
  • Laske, O. (2003a). Looking for patterns in clients’ developmental-behavioral dance with coaches. In I.F. Stein, F. Campone, & L. Page (Eds), Proceedings, 2nd ICF Coaching Research Symposium, 131-138). Washington, D.C.: International Coach Federation.
  • Laske, O. (2003b). Executive development as adult development. J. Demick & C. Andreoletti (Eds.), Handbook of Adult Development (ch. 29, 565-584). New York: Plenum/Kluwer.
  • Laske, O. (2004). Can evidence based coaching increase ROI? Intern. J. Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, vol. 2.2.UK: London.
  • Laske, O. (2005).
  • Laske, O. (2006a). Measuring hidden dimensions: The art and science of fully engaging adults, volume 1. Medford, M A: IDM Press [ISBN 0977680002]. (
  • Laske, O. (2006b). From coach training to coach education: Teaching coaching within a comprehensively evidence based framework. Intern. J. of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, vol. 4.1. UK: London.
  • Laske, O. (2007). Measuring hidden dimensions: The art and science of fully engaging adults, volume 2. Medford, M A: IDM Press [in progress].
  • Laske, O., & Stober, D., & Edwards, J. (2004). What is, and why should we care about, evidence based coaching. In Stein, I.F., Campone, F. & L. J. Page (Eds.), Proceedings, Second ICF Coaching Research Symposium, 169-174.
  • Laske, O. & Maynes, B. (2002). Growing the top management team. A. & N. Korac-Kakabadse (Eds.), Journal of Management Development, 21.9 (702-727), Cranfield, Bedfordshire, U.K.
  • Laske, O. & S. Stewart (2005). Developmental foundations of HR: Three webcasts (
  • Lahey, L., Souvaine, E., Kegan, R., Goodman, R., & Felix, S. (1988), A guide to the subject-object interview: Its administration and interpretation. Laboratory of Human Development. Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA.
  • Murray, H. (2005). See, andhttp.//
    Schein, E. (1999). Process consultation revisited: Building the helping relationship. Reading, M A: Addison-Wesley.
    Stewart, S. (2005). Private communication.
  • Volckmann, R. (2005),
  • Wilber, K. (2005). Integral spirituality. Integral Institute, Denver, CO.
  • Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology. Boston, M A: Shambhala.
Short Biography
Otto Laske is a developmental psychologist, coach, management consultant, and coaching researcher. As Director of Education at the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM), he guides the oldest evidence based coach and teacher education program in North America. As Director of IDM Press, Otto recently released the first of 4 volumes on Measuring Hidden Dimensions: The Art and Science of Fully Engaging Adults (ISBN 0977680002), obtainable at
Otto was educated at Goethe University, Frankfurt (studies with Th.W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer) and Harvard University, MA, USA. He can be reached at