Leading Comments

Russ Volckmann

We are in the fifth year of publication of the Integral Leadership Review. It is increasingly taking the form that I hoped, although I am sure there is still much that can be done to make this a useful document that attracts a wider audience in the fields of consulting, training and coaching, as well as among business and other organizational leaders who have a passion for leadership.

I am grateful to the 1200 (Thanks, Warren—#1200) subscribers to Integral Leadership Review. Your support means that we can move closer to a way of viewing and being in the world that is integrative, generative and supportive of our evolving integrity – learning to align our theory and our action, our values and assumptions with achieving what is important to us. Also, I am grateful to the many kindnesses, suggestions and offers of support we have received.

The mission of this e-publication is to be a practical guide to the application of an integral perspective to the challenges of leadership in business and life and to the effective relationship between executive/business coaches and their clients. My vision includes that this will be a place where others, as well as myself, can continue to develop and share ideas about Integral Leadership and integral coaching. That vision is being realized.

> Russ Volckmann

(1) Integral Scenarios and First Tier: Russ Volckmann

Russ Volckmann“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

> Mark Twain

This will be my final article on scenarios for a while (unless something exciting happens that I just can’t sit on).

I recently had a talk with someone in leadership development in one of the mid-range oil companies (any of those still around?). I was interested in their use of scenarios for leadership development. I discovered that they are used primarily with middle level individuals mainly from engineering and science backgrounds. Not surprising – the backgrounds, that is! But I could hear the frustration in the voice of this individual that their introduction of scenario thinking was pretty fundamental. Their audience just wouldn’t engage in any developmental activity beyond the intellectual exercise of developing stories from scenarios and exploring actions in those contexts. Pushing this activity beyond what is “likely” was a stretch. Pushing the analysis of the results to one of introspection to a third level of self-discovery was out of the question. Linking all of this to any questions of leadership would take a while.

Again, there is no surprise here. When we are exploring Integral Leadership development we are really talking about working with people at the stages of development where we find them. One reason for focusing on executive development might be that here we may find a broader perspective—an openness to questioning assumptions and learning about self, an ability to conceive of systems and meta-systems, and an ability to appreciate that people with different world views need to find ways of understand, appreciating and working with each other for change to happen with us, rather than without us.

To read more of this article click here.

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(2) Dvorak, Orange, Design and Measurement:

Now how did those all show up in one article?

Today I was listening to Dvorak’s “A Hero’s Song,” while I was working on the computer. The phone rang. It was one of my clients. He is an entrepreneur in the early stages of starting a new business. He had called to status me on his progress on some marketing .

“By the way,” he said, “I looked through your new issue of Integral Leadership Review and it is really interesting. But it seems like a lot of theory. Can you tell me how in a measurable way this is used?”

Bless his heart. This guy is into knowing. By that I mean his whole life is dedicated to knowledge. Not just thinking about things, but knowing things. This is reflected in the way he has developed his business, an integration of many sources of knowledge.

Well, we have all been warned by the likes of Ken Wilber and Don Beck not to share this integral/spiral/developmental stuff with clients, but I barged ahead, caught in the glow of delight that someone out there was reading what I was publishing in the Integral Leadership Review. Sure, there are lots of subscribers, but who really reads this stuff?

To read more of this article click here.

Guest Article: Alexander the Great: Lessons of Heroic Leadership, Richard Freis

I. Introduction

Richard FreisAlexander the Great is again at the center of attention with Oliver Stone’s recently released blockbuster film. Leaving aside our judgment of the film, Alexander himself is worthy of our serious attention, for his reshaping of civilization on three continents before his death at 32 and because his remarkably accelerated and many-sided development exhibits a rarely equaled array of model leadership abilities. They may need to be complemented but can never be omitted in defining the leadership abilities required in the global life conditions which Peter Vaill describes as “permanent white water.”

Our own attention to Alexander will center on three interlocked questions, which together throw light on Alexander’s leadership.

The first question is this: What can we learn here and now from the example of Alexander as leader?

The second is an aspect of the first: What configuration of qualities did Alexander understand and act out of in his leadership role, within the context of his nature, his culture, his chronological age, and his intensely challenging circumstances – which he chose?

The third bears on the challenges posed to Alexander’s leadership by the need to integrate diverse cultures: What does Alexander’s life tell us about the problems that arise when diverse and multiple civilizations must be integrated under a common rule, a problem that we face in some version in an age of rapidly accelerating globalization?

In the manner of many ancient biographical narratives, I will begin by recounting Alexander’s life and circumstances and against this background take up our three thematic questions. I want to invite you into a certain frame of mind as you read: to help you stand inside Alexander’s life, as if experiencing it, and then, without relinquishing the first, to stand outside it, reflecting on it.

At times I will refer to the color-coded framework of developmental vMEME levels used by Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDI). To help those who are unfamiliar with the framework I have provided a chart which places some of Alexander’s qualities in the color-coded bands which SDI uses to identify the levels. I have always given a cue to their meaning in the text.

To read more of this article click here.

Guest Article: Notes on Spiritual Leadership and Relational Spirituality, John Heron

John HeronJohn Heron is a facilitator and trainer in co-operative inquiry and a wide range of personal and professional development methods. He is the author of Helping the Client (Sage, 2001), The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook (Kogan Page, 1999), Sacred Science (PCCS Books, 1998), and Co-operative Inquiry (Sage, 1996).

This is a revision and integration of interrelated sets of notes that have appeared over recent months in Michel Bauwens’ Pluralities/Integration online newsletter [].

The Guru Phenomenon

The traditional oriental guru represents a form of spiritual leadership in which so-called advanced spiritual states of being are transmitted from guru to disciple. This requires the disciple to be present with the guru, physically or psychically, to project onto the guru the disciple’s latent divine nature, to be obedient and devoted to the guru, and to practice the disciplines he prescribes. There is a hierarchical, charismatic relationship to affect the disciple’s shift from an ordinary to an extraordinary state of being ‘enlightened’. A favorite candidate for ‘enlightenment’ is the so-called non-dual state, in which spirit and any kind of form are known to be not two.

To read more of this article click here


Chris Cowan and Natasha TodorovicChris Cowan and Natasha Todorovic’s Critiques

In the March 2005 issue of Spiral Dynamics® Newsletter, two articles appeared worthy of consideration by anyone interested in the application of integral theory and/or spiral dynamics to leadership. The critiques raise several points to be considered.

To read more of this summary click here.

A Request
If you are finding the Integral Leadership Review to be bringing useful, fresh perspectives to the subject of leadership, please think of the leaders in business and life that might be able to benefit from subscribing to this epublication. Please send them a copy or a link to the web site, so that they may explore it. In this time of intense internet communication, we all need to manage our time and read those things which are most relevant for our work, our thinking and our values. It is my hope that many people will find the evolvingIntegral Leadership Review does just that. Your help is deeply appreciated.
Got any? E-mail Russ Volckmann
Thanks for taking the time to consider this e-publication in a world of data overload. For leaders, collaborators, consultants, academics and coaches alike; I welcome you to some ideas and a dialogue that may benefit us all. I hope you will contact me soon with your idea, reference or article. Suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Russ Volckmann, PhD, Coaching Leaders in Business and Life
Tel: 831.333-9200, FAX: 831.656-0110
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