Leading Comments

Russ Volckmann

I am grateful to the more than 925 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 and to the world. Also, I am grateful to the many kindnesses, suggestions and offers of support we have received.

The mission of this epublication 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.  This vision is gradually becoming reality.

> Russ Volckmann


Alan Deutschman, “The Fabric of Creativity”, Fast Company, December 2004, pp. 54-62.

Another article in the long line of leader-hero worship, this one features W.L. Gore and Gore-Tex.  Well, perhaps this is a bit different because it focuses on the question of creativity and innovation in a company that innovates with a small-is-beautiful culture. And it is different in that the hero died 18 years ago, but the company continues to thrive.

Gore organized his company with a set of task force-like teams that have proliferated as new products have been created and markets have been opened. Even manufacturing organizations are limited to 150-200 people, small enough for everyone to know who is on board and to communicate directly, a value held highly by Gore.

The article summarizes Gores “rules”:

The power of small teams:
This is an interesting concept from an integral point of view. It addresses individual capacities and is focused on building a culture through a structural intervention.
No ranks, no titles, no bosses:
Associates have sponsors, but not job descriptions. They develop roles that fit who they are on the team. Roles are LL constructs, but here, rather than being defined systemically, they are defined by the individual in relation to their small-is-beautiful system.
Take the long view:
Patience supports the development of new products over time. This is a quality that Gore brings – patience. It is translated into over support for long range new product and market development. Gore models this and it is part of the culture.
Make time for face time:
So much for technology; this culture is built on nose-to-nose, shoulder-to-shoulder communication as a preference over email and other hi-tech “essentials.”
Celebrate failure:
The well known, but rarely practiced art of support for risk taking that in the long run produces outstanding results. This is a culture thing that challenges and frees those aspects of individuals that inhibit creativity and innovation.

I have saved for last:

Lead by Leading: Assure 10% of each employees time is about new ideas – exploring, formulating, sharing…Then allow leadership to emerge based on the capacity of an individual and an idea to attract followers. An attractor theory of leadership!

While Gore died in 1986, the culture lives on and has continued to produce a double-digit growth rate now to the tune of $1.6 billion. And growth will challenge this exceptional approach. I have fleshed out the article just a bit with integral framing, but the value in studies like this is that it moves us beyond hero-leader worship into a more integral understanding of what it takes to build a thriving, innovative organization that is not dependent on the political power structure in our society.

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
This material is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Financial, Legal and Professional information is not Financial, Legal and Professional advice. You should see a Financial, Legal or Professional in the area in which you live if you need advice.
You are welcome to share the contents of this e-publication. Please provide source information,
Thank you.