Leading Comments

Russ Volckmann


I am grateful to the more than 400 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.

> Russ Volckmann


“Turning an Industry Inside Out: A Conversation with Robert Redford,” Harvard Business Review, May 2002, 57-62.

Robert Redford has demonstrated significant leadership in the entertainment industry. He is a “Tempered Radical” who has focused considerable energy at bringing about change in the movie industry, in particular, while having a strong commitment to the environment and other social issues.

He notes two approaches to change in an organization or industry: top-down and bottom-up. The former is the more difficult and the latter takes longer and requires considerable skill and patience.

Some lessons he has learned:

  • “corporate powers that be aren’t going to be interested in the fruits of your labor and passion unless you are adept at understanding their agenda and speaking their language.”
  • Direct confrontation can backfire and working for change from within is smarter.
  • Building credibility is essential. Then you need to be prepared to “horse-trade with the devil” by trading “a sure thing for the right to experiment.”
  • Incremental change has higher potential for success.
  • Timing is critical. Development in the industry or in the business can open or close doors for opportunity for change.

He also had some significant things to say about success and failure. It is important to shadowbox with success and not let ego get in the way. And “You can’t let success lull you into complacency.” Failure allows you to continue to risk and experiment.

It is important to continue to push for the changes and the values you hold: “If we simply continue building on our current success, we’ll end up in a safe, conservative place that is anathema to art.”

Robert Redford states that he is “competing for what I consider to be a higher purpose: making the world safe for artistic diversity. If you want to bring about real, sustained change, you have to be constantly aware that you are not just taking care of yourself. You end up using whatever power you’ve gained to take care of yourself and others by creating a category that others like you can work in.”

In this interview Robert Redford address all four quadrants. He speaks of the collective culture and systems, as well as the internal values, beliefs and aspirations of individuals and their actions. Sounds to me like Integral Leadership.

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Dedicated to Chris Newham with deep appreciation.
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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