Leadership Comments

June 2010 / Leading Comments

Why Integral Leadership Review Is/Can Be Important

Russ Volckmann, Editor

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Russ Volckmann

Take a moment with me to revisit why I am doing what I am doing, particularly bringing Integral Leadership Review to the world and welcoming the participation of so very many people in so many ways.

I believe that the future of the world is dependent on the quality of leadership that emerges over time. I also believe that leadership is only fractionally about heroic leaders or individuals in positions of authority and power. It is more about the diffusion of leadership in all of the population with minimal dependence just on the efforts of one individual as leader . And that is where integral comes in, along with adult development, transdisciplinarity, chaos and complexity theory, and a list of cutting edge and innovative ways of helping us grasp what leadership is about and how it can be replicated throughout the population.

I believe that one of the factors that has been destructive in human societies is the reliance on formal authority and heroic leaders. I believe that we are, as a consequence, faced with increasingly complex and difficult challenges that threaten our very existence. I believe that the sustainability of life on this planet is at stake. I believe that we must turn to more efficacious approaches to creating and solving problems in order for such sustainability to take place. I believe that spreading efficacious and generative leadership throughout the population is essential to our sustainability and thriving.

Integral Leadership Review and Integral Publishers are intended to widen the circle of those who engage our opportunities for sustainability of life. We are not a product of the Integral Institute, of the Center for Human Emergence, of CIRET, of a professional association or academic institution. We stand with these organizations and more in addressing sustainability challenges. We stand with these organizations when their work is about helping the planet thrive. We stand with these organizations in their concern for a more efficacious future.

Efficacious is about producing a generative desired effect. A desired effect that I want is one in which life enhancing systems and activities are increased in our lifetimes. I long for an end to war on this planet. I long for an end to the destruction of the environment and the daily loss of species. I accept that such an idyllic condition has been dreamed of by many others before me. I accept that it may be unlikely that I will experience this in my lifetime. But I want my work and my life to contribute to this possibility and Integral Leadership Review is a critical part of that.

Integral Leadership Review, unlike the focus on so many integrally oriented activities, seems less about vertical development (although I welcome that) and more about horizontal development. Each of the organizations and intellectual streams that I mentioned above is contributing to that development. Thus far, an integral theory built on the work of Ken Wilber, but not attached to it, offers the most useful “integrative” device and vision that I have found for bringing these streams together. I thought of a graphic with integral at the center, but that would be a distortion. Rather, as so usefully pointed out by Charles Hampden-Turner in Radical Man so many years ago, and used by many since, the DNA representation of intertwining spirals seems more appropriate. It suggests interaction, feedback, progression and regression–all dynamics that are part of a developmental process.

Ultimately, Integral Leadership Review is a place for horizontal and vertical exchanges that may contribute to both horizontal refinement and vertical development. Consequently, we have drawn wide boundaries around what is included and what is not. We would rather err on the side of inclusion, seeking the value added, as long as it does not distract us from our dreams and aspirations. One of those is to participate in the exploration, dissemination and evolution of a framework that will facilitate the integration of human capacities for generative activity. That is why we draw the circle in a way that recalls Edmund Wilson:

Heretic, rebel a thing to flout,
He drew a circle that shut me out.
But love and I had the wit to win.
We drew a circle that brought him in.

This issue of Integral Leadership Review has a number of exciting offerings. An interview with Bill Torbert and another by Raquel Torrent with Ken Wilber–all in one issue! And don’t miss Debby Hallett’sconversation with Myles Downey. There are Articles by folks like Keith Merron at Harvard and based on his new book, The Golden Flame, Brian Whetton, Maureen Metcalf and Dena Paluck, Pierre A. Gauthier and Mark Gilbert; the second in a series on transdisciplinary approaches in higher education by Sue McGregor and myself, this one focusing on remarkable developments at Arizona State University. Reviews by Bruce Gibb, Lucas Commons-Miller, and my review of Mark Edwards’ Organisational Transformation for Sustainability: An Integral Metatheory. In addition to our usual columns by Keith Bellamy and Alan Tonkin, we have another leadership cartoon and a short feature on Freddie Northern, our 3000th subscriber. There is a student paper by PhD student David Holzmer at Union Institute and University.Plus manyNotes from the Field for you to see what folks are up to around the world. Notes from the Field are becoming an increasingly important feature of Integral Leadership Review. They seek to capture what people are doing and experiencing in the world to support the growth of a more generative and integrative aproach to leadership and development in the world. We all hope you find much of value here. Let your friends know!

And, as always, another way you can offer your support is by making a gift and joining Friends of Integral Leadership Review. Thanks in advance.

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