8/31 – And so it goes…

August-November 2017 / Leading Comments

This is an important issue, and honestly, I’m not sure where to start. This year marks 16 years since the founding of Integral Leadership Review. At the same time, this issue also marks the passing of its founder, Russ Volkmann. For the past five years it has been a true honor and a privilege to call him a mentor and a friend. We held a gathering in Monterey, California on August 27th with Jeannie Carlisle, Russ’s partner and wife, and our families.

For most of our relationship, Russ knew he had cancer.  He was, and still is, my mentor, my dissertation chair, and my friend. It was my hope and desire to put together the Letters to Russ section in time for him to read them. Alas, this was not the case. However, if anyone would like to contribute letters to Russ, this section will be updated throughout the coming months.

The Leadership Quote for this issue is by Nelson Mandela, who reminds us that “A leader… is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” This quote is inspired both by the need of the times, and the phenomenal human being that Russ was. May we all rise to the occasion.

In this issue there is a letter to the Integral community from Susanne Cook-Greuter, Ken Wilber and Beena Sharma. The letter calls for more rigor in research in the integral community, specifically raising questions about the STAGES model. Through many negotiations, a detailed response to this critique by Terri O’Fallon, Tom Murray, Geoff Fitch, Kim Barta and John Kesler appears under Feature Articles.

When Susanne first contacted Russ and I at the beginning of April, he was intrigued. This debate was important to Russ, and he felt it is important to address. He asked about it on and off through June, as we were planning an end of June issue. In fact, we were going to write this intro together. And then life happened, and so it goes…

Walking the middle line, as editor, it is important to honor Russ’s wishes, as well as his intuition.  Traditionally, such a dispute is mediated through peer-reviewed academic discourse, and the results are shared with the community. On the face of it, given the lack of peer-reviewed arbitration, publishing such a memo could be hurtful to all parties concerned, not to mention the community as a whole. On the other hand, as integral academics and practitioners, it seems we are called sometimes to integrate our academic work with our shadow work.

I see this not just as an academic dispute amongst peers, but also as a call to the community. It is a fractal representation of the state of the world. Can we do the work to heal these rifts in our own home? Are we ready to do the integral housework needed? Do we have a choice?

Along with this response are three other Feature Articles from Jaap Geerlof, Ron Cacioppe, and Tom Murray. Tom offers a substantive article adding entitled Sentence completion assessments for ego development, meaning-making, and wisdom maturity, including STAGES, which adds background to the discussion about the Stages Model. Ron returns to ILR with the article Leadership, Mindflow and the Integral Point of It All: The role of Integral Leadership in bringing mindfulness and flow to the workplace, as well as a book review of Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations. Last but not least, Jaap offers his thoughts on Learning to embrace the paradox of leadership.

We also have a second book review by Jon Freeman, reviewing John Bunzl and Nick Duffell’s The Simpol Solution.

To round out the issue, Robin Lincoln-Wood and Terri O’Fallon discuss how they both became interested in integral leadership and state development, and how it has impacted their professional careers, Jeannie Carlisle interviews Keith Witt about his latest work, Shadow Light Workbook, and in Notes from the field, Alain Volz gives a quick introduction to Leap into Life – a new business model for a Sharing Economy.

And finally, thank you Russ. May we honor your legacy, your love and your light. And above all, may we learn to see a fraction of the light in each other that you saw in all of us.

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