The work of Rick and Lillas Hatala is a source of fascination for all who are interested in more integral, developmental and transdisciplinary approaches to leadership. Their focus is on the development of the individual leader, yet their work in applying their approaches addresses whole organizations and industries. Theirs is a dual approach to company building and training and development.
Rick Hatala has, as you will read, three decades of experience in the energy industry, including being CEO of three companies. His vision is about more than oil and gas and includes sustainable energy as well. Equally important, his principle-centered approach to organization is based on a holistic perspective that epitomizes the kind of leadership that we seek in all aspects of business and community.
Lillas Hatala, too, has a wealth of experience in industry and academia. She has demonstrated success in building an academic program increasingly focused on more “integrative” approaches to leadership and business. In addition, she is spearheading approaches to training in their integrally-informed approach to leadership.
You will learn more about each of their impressive careers in the interviews.
We briefly reviewed their book, Integrative Leadership, (http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives/2008-01/2008-01-leadership-emerging.html) in the January 2008 issue of Integral Leadership Review. Lillas published her article, “Integrative Leadership: Building a Foundation for Personal, Interpersonal and Organizational Success,” (http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives/2008-03/2008-03-article-hatala.html) in the March 2008 issue of Integral Leadership Review. Consider these good companion pieces to the interviews presented below.
— Russ Volckmann
Integrative Energy & Leadership:
An Interview with Rick Hatala, CEO of Integrative Energy, Ltd.
Integrative Leadership: An Interview with Lillas Marie Hatala, CHRP, Executive Director of Integrative Leadership International Ltd.
Q: My understanding is that you have pretty much lived your professional life in the energy industry—oil and gas primarily. Is that accurate?
A: That’s correct. I’ve been involved in the oil and gas business for over 30 years.
Q: Beginning in the 1990’s, you took on the role of CEO of Lionheart Energy, then later Momentum Energy and then in 2005, Integrative Energy Ltd. Can you tell me a little about the evolution of your career?
A: Upon graduation as a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Waterloo in the 1970’s, I began my professional career with Gulf Oil. Gulf was where I learned the business of oil and gas exploration, development, production, operations, planning, new energy resources and financing. So for fifteen years, Gulf Oil was where I had my grounding in business and my education in all facets of the energy sector.
I left Gulf in 1991 as the Manager of Western Canada Reserves Exploitation and took a year’s sabbatical to examine what I wanted to do for the rest of my personal and working life.
During that reflective and introspective time, the thought emerged that it might be interesting to begin founding or building companies. It wasn’t intentional, however the concept that originated from the very first service company, Zeeland—where I was the General Manager and Founder—was that of integration.
One interesting thing about my Zeeland experience was wondering whether I would suffer from, what was being called at that time in management and leadership circles, the ‘John DeLorean Syndrome”.
Q: What is that, exactly?
A: That is asking the question; “Are you successful because the corporate system and structure is around you and supporting you and you know how to work the system very well…” OR “Can you go out and found new companies independently; recreating the systems, structures, and teams you needed for success?”
Q: DeLorean was faced with starting a business and he began his manufacturing in Ireland and that entrepreneurial effort kind of collapsed around him.
A: Right. John DeLorean worked for GM and was a golden haired wonder boy. He left GM, wanting to build a revolutionary car—the Bricklin I think it was called—was financed and then his efforts first collapsed in Ireland, and then later in Canada as well. In order to finance his dream a third time around, he was involved in an FBI sting operation involving a drug money deal, and finally left the automobile industry in disgrace.
So when Lillas and I in our integrative leadership model talk about the three levels of awareness as personality (image), individuality (character), and universality (essence) that when aligned, lead to the process of integration, it would seem there was a character flaw which was tested, revealed and never overcome within DeLorean as exemplified by decisions he made outside of General Motors.
DeLorean succumbed to the whole idea of the end justifying the means, and as a result, his vision and life work was never realized. That is the ‘John DeLorean Syndrome”.
Q: That relates to the whole phenomena of ethics and leadership that we’ve been struggling with for the last few years—a lot longer, actually, but it’s been more visible in the last few years.
A: Yes it does. So I wondered, am I only successful because I was with Gulf Oil, just like DeLorean was with General Motors, understood the culture and the people and could do their politics really well, or could I be successful on my own, taking a brand new idea and building the foundations for it? After one year of operation, I was named CEO of the Year and received the Chairman’s Award from the group of Zeeland associated Dutch owned companies in Canada.
In the process, I learned that I could be successful outside the system in which I had grown up while taking an aspect of the integrative concept forward in a corporate entity.
Q: What is that integrative concept, exactly?
A: The integrative idea is that instead of having fragmentations or silos of information, we wanted to bring all of the players to the table and use a cooperative approach to create something new—a new type of synergistic business where everyone benefits together as a whole. There were a number of companies Zeeland was associated with that were doing their business in isolation and fragmentation. I wanted to integrate them under a common intent and create a third business—a new business that was better than the companies acting alone. This concept of a cooperative approach, I believe, was the thing that propelled us into a short, but reasonably successful run.
Q: So the notion of integration at this time was essentially about how do you bridge traditional boundaries and organizations and create a synergic response to the challenges they are facing?
A: Exactly. Applying the concept of integration to the educational model, we would ask, “How do we break down the barriers between the different faculties (silos)?” The concept of leadership involves education; history, psychology, social work, organizational behavior and the faculty of business among others. Integration, like leadership development, is the idea of breaking down those silos and compartmentalization’s—either within us or outside of us—and looking at the synergistic cooperative effort to bring these different silos together in a new way.
Q: I notice you were with Zeeland only for one year. That seems very limited.
A: Zeeland was a private company owned by a Dutch consortium. In our second year of operation, we had assembled a senior management team that was exceptional, each member I felt a ‘President’ in their own right. What the leadership team required to move forward and continue to build the private company was equity, not just salary and performance bonuses. People wanted to feel a part of what they were building, and although it was requested, it was denied. Without personal equity, I believed this integrative experiment would not work, and so I resigned, moving on to join the building of a domestic oil and gas company, Lionheart Energy.
Q: I was going to say, you didn’t waste any time.
A: I had already been involved with Lionheart as a founder during my tenure with Zeeland. It was a simple transition to move from General Manager of Zeeland to Chief Operating Officer of Lionheart.
Q: What happened to Zeeland?
A: After I resigned, many people who were involved also resigned. The consortium attempted to replace us with senior people from companies like Shell and Exxon, but it was unsuccessful. I can only assume that management was not acting like owners or stewards, but as hired hands, and the attempted resurrection did not work. Zeeland filed for bankruptcy less than a year after the original management team left.
Q: Oh my gosh, what a story!
A: Russ, I believe there are three things required to build a business: people, opportunities and money. In the Zeeland case, the consortium thought that money was most important, believing that they could buy the people they needed or the opportunities they wanted for growth. But the truth is that people, social capital, are the most important, for they can create the opportunities and attract the right money for investment from whatever is the target marketplace.
If you remember, value-centered organizations were the flavor of the month back in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s. Companies would put up little plastic plaques espousing their values, but few really internalized them. Their values were out there as an ideal, but when you examined the organization a lot of it was not being lived.
Today, in Integrative Energy Ltd, we practice principle centered management and virtue centered leadership. What we suggest is that the principles upon which our organization is founded have to be right. If the principles are right—tell the truth, do the right thing, keep your word—and are incorporated into best business practices and are lived, then the people tend to turn out right.
Q: You’re the second CEO I’ve interviewed who has said virtually the same thing and has incorporated that into his company and made it a condition of employment—that these principles are something that new hires and all employees must commit to. At that time I was surprised, and I’m surprised again—and delighted to be surprised.
A: From my perspective, it is important that you stand for something. If the principles are right, then the people come out right, which makes the projects come out right. And the profits naturally follow from this alignment. Wrong people can take a good project and make it unsuccessful. Good people can take a terrible project and make it successful.
Q: Did you apply those principles to Lionheart as well?
A: Yes, we put in place a valued-centered, principle based organization. As a consequence, I believe, our growth was significant from many perspectives. We went from an initial capital contribution by the founders of $20,000, to raising more funds privately from friends, family and business associates, doing a reverse takeover onto the Alberta Stock Exchange, and eventually, listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. After three years, we had increased production from 10 to 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, increased the stock price from $0.03 to $1.20 per share, and merged the company away for $24 million. Lionheart Energy was one of the corporate gene pool that eventually evolved into Advantage Energy Trust, a billion dollar royalty trust listed on the TSE today.
Q: Wow! Then in 1997 you switched to be CEO of Momentum Energy and it sounds like doing the same thing all over again. Is it?
A: Yes, we endeavored to do exactly the same thing. Momentum began as a private energy company, which had offices in Canada and operations in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). In the FSU, there were significant opportunities for oil and gas development due to the silos, segmentation and compartmentalization their communistic system demanded.
Once again, we began Momentum at $0.05 per share, raised more money at progressively higher share prices, built an in-country organization, drilled wells, built gas plants and pipelines and solidified joint ventures. After two years, we had raised $35 million privately, had two oil and gas properties in both eastern and western Ukraine, and were valued at $2.25 per share.
Q: I assume that doing it again means bringing forth those principles and the same strategies that you used, only you’re doing it more internationally now. Since you talk about working in the Former Soviet Union, I’m wondering if there was a values clash in that environment.
A: Absolutely, and I think that’s one of the contributing factors to my becoming ill in 1999. It was such an incredible cultural shock to move into that system, which was dominated by a command and control management and leadership style. Fear was the greatest governing force used to hold the system together while serving to limit and control the people. Punishment and the Napoleonic code governed where you are guilty until proven innocent, as opposed to innocent until proven guilty. Yes, it was a very different value system at a peculiar time in the countries evolution.
Q: What do you mean by a peculiar time?
Well, just imagine it. When we first entered the Ukraine, there were 54 million people. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, the Ukraine experienced the highest rate of inflation in history, approaching 10,000 percent. As a consequence, all the people’s savings and retirement plans had eroded overnight. The average cost of living was US$400 per month. The average salary was US$100 per month, when they were actually paid. Now the people of Ukraine are brilliant, many with college education and university degrees. But nearly everyone, save for a few oligarchs and government officials at the top, were in Maslow’s need hierarchy of basic survival. And each person was willing to do just about anything to survive. Imagine an entire population thrown into such a desperate state.
So these value systems—these high ideals that we desired and could generally hold in North America, Western Europe and parts of Asia, these concepts of what principles are and how we should live them—were tested to the extreme limits in the crucible that was the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. It was incredibly difficult, personally and organizationally.
Q: So it was testing you.
A: Yes, it was testing me…
Q: In what way?
A: In every way, but predominantly in the reality that their values were radically different. I believed in a democratic leadership style, in hearing people’s opinions before making a decision. That is not the style of leadership or management that was in place in the FSU.
Q: So how did you try and adjust to that?
A: Education. I tried to teach people that there was a different way, but the system, and the people that upheld it, would fence you in and wear you down. For them, command and control was the only way. It was habit. It was tradition. It was socially acceptable and what they were used to. My approach was to be flexible; at times visionary; at other times affiliative; always striving to be democratic; coaching when there was a need, and using command and control when appropriate. My primary approach to be fair and appreciative of others was so at variance with the predominant style of command and control, it was perceived not as strength, but as weakness.
So yes, it was an extremely difficult and stressful time, both externally and internally, for me and the company. That is why I believe this situation contributed to my eventual health crisis.
Q: I assume that during your health crisis, you had further opportunities to reflect on that experience. Is that accurate?
Q: So what were the key learnings that you took from that experience? In the popular leadership literature, Warren Bennis and others are talking about crucibles of leadership. It sounds like this is what you had.
A: Very much so—a huge crucible of leadership is a good way to characterize my experience with Momentum Energy and the FSU.
One thing I learned is that you need to take the time for reflection. You need to back away, extract yourself from the busyness, and make a conscious decision on what you are or are not willing to do. Asking yourself what are the principles you are willing to live or die by, and then having the courage to live them no matter what.
We talk about that in our book on “Integrative Leadership”. In the cultural mechanistic capitalistic paradigm—which characterized the FSU at that time—the predominant principle was quid-pro-quo: cause and effect. I whack you and so you whack me back. “Do to others what they do to you.” The second principle was: “Do it to them before they do it to you”. And the third was: “Do it to them a hundred times worse than they could ever imagine so that they never even think of doing it to you!” The people were a product of these mechanistic principles, feeling broken materially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And in time, by immersion and association, so did I.
The organic paradigm that we are attempting to now live within Integrative Energy follows the golden rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Not what others do to you, but what you would have them do to you. We have found this to be one of the most difficult principles to live in the business world, and yet fundamental to co-creating our ideal of a ‘living organization’.
Q: Those are learning’s about different culture sets, worldviews or life conditions that people are living under. I’m wondering out of the crucible, what did you learn about yourself?
A: I had missed living my soul or life’s purpose. I was off the mark. I was caught up in the role of an ‘actor’ in the drama of my life, governed by fear, worry, doubt and greed. I had lost the faith, hope, trust and compassion that make a supposedly living being, a human being. I felt I had lost my way, and the health crisis gave me an opportunity to reclaim my relationship with myself, my family, others and the Divine once again.
Q: What were some of the steps you took to do that?
A: I began to meditate regularly once again. I took time to slow down, reflect and rebalance myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As I reawakened internally, I tried to reconnect with my wife at that time, and my children—with whom I had been apart for so many years while traveling and living internationally. In that reconnecting, I found two beautiful young adults I had not previously made the time to get to know.
As well, I backed away as President of Momentum Energy, and we voted in a new President to manage the company. In managing my health crisis, we used both alternative and conventional western medicines, counseling and coaching. But the most important part for my healing was reconnecting with my life’s purpose and then having the willingness to live it. It was cultivating a reflective practice that reconnected me with the presence of the Divine within, and then having the courage to listen to it.
Later I learned that some of the greatest leaders in history would take a sabbatical away from their life or career for a time. Gandhi observed total silence one day a week; sort of a mini-sabbatical from talking. Did you know that Buckminster Fuller took a sabbatical from his architectural career?
Q: No, I did not.
A: Yes, at the peak of his career as an architect he took a three year sabbatical at great financial hardship to his family. When Fuller came back after that reflective and deeply introspective practice, he revolutionized architecture. I believe the reason he could do this was because in that quiet time, he was able to reconnect with his own creativity, his own essence, his own spirituality, and original thinking was the natural result. I found this to be true during my own sabbatical.
Another learning I had during this crucible was to genuinely formulate an Ideal. An Ideal is your personal image, belief, and feeling of the highest, the best, the noblest you can imagine yourself to be, and then choosing to live it, each and every moment of each and every day.
The difference between a personal vision and an Ideal is that the Ideal is the ‘you’ that walks into your vision.
I have found that there was a gap between the Ideal and the Real me. The inner journey helped me reduce that gap so I was more integrated and aligned with the growth process that is life, as opposed to being lost in the valley of death, as I had been for eight long years.
Q: How do you relate your inner journey to the concept of integration?
I was on a breakfast show and the interviewer, named David, asked me: “What is this integration thing anyway? What do you mean by physical, mental, emotional and spiritual intelligence and getting them to integrate?” In response, I asked him: “Have you ever thought one thing and felt another?” He said yes, that he had. “Have you ever intended one thing, and done another?” Yes he said a little sheepishly, he had. I replied: “So that, David is a fragmented state of mind. In our work, we find 85% of our time and 85% of the world is in this fragmented condition and the result is conflict, confusion, uncertainty and doubt.”
“The process of integration is about getting what you intend to do (the spiritual intelligence), what you think (the mental intelligence), what you feel (the emotional intelligence), and how you act (physical intelligence) to be in balance, harmony and alignment with one another. When you accomplish this, you are in flow and relative ease, and not struggle and conflict.”
Integration is the source of a leader’s credibility and authenticity. It is the source of building character. If through your practice of self observation, self reflection, and deep introspection, you see misalignment between the Real and the Ideal, take the time and have the willingness to line yourself up once again.
So my trigger event within the crucible of leadership, or transformation that Warren Bennis describes, was my health crisis. My health crisis was only a shadow or a reflection of my spiritual crisis—where I was out of alignment with my life’s purpose and the principles and values I wanted to live. As I descended into the crucible, I experienced the death of aspects of my career, aspects of my family, my treasured and sacred beliefs about the way the world worked, and my feelings and my values. During this deathlike process, I had an opportunity to let go, accept, reawaken and revision my life’s journey and reawaken to my life’s purpose.
Q: In your journey around the year 2000, there was a significant shift in the way you were focusing your time and energy it seems, because you went from being enmeshed in the energy industry to being engaged with Integrative Leadership International Ltd. That’s a big transition—essentially here you’re talking about a company that is about development and training at the personal and organizational level and not development of resources.
A: That’s correct. It is human potential that we are exploring and developing. It is our innate human resource we are trying to uncover, unleash and nurture in order to bear fruit in our lives.
Q: How did that happen? What happened that you would make that radical of a transition in your career?
A: It wasn’t that radical from my point of view. In the 1980’s, during the day I worked full time in the energy sector. But at night and on weekends, I began to teach across Western Canada seminars, workshops and programs that dealt with and promoted personal growth.
Q: So you were involved in the “human potential movement?”
A: Yes, I was involved in the human potential movement—transforming your attitudes and emotions, discovering your life’s purpose, the inner power of silence, all avenues that would help unlock and rekindle the spirit of creativity that is found within us all. But for eight years in my company building phase, I had put my development, teaching and facilitating self on the shelf.
Q: In your process of recovering your health you apparently went searching for opportunities to reincorporate those aspects of yourself. Is that correct?
A: That is exactly right. When I was in University I had a “mental awakening” or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of life.
Let’s back up a minute first. Russ, your first “physical awakening” occurred when you were born, right? You came into this earth and—Bang!—your mother gave birth which was the starting point for your life here on earth.
So, in order to relate this to a “mental awakening”, can I ask you how old you were when you had your first memory?
Q: Oh, probably about four years old.
A: Where were you from zero to four?
Q: Well I know where I was geographically, but I don’t have a clue where I was in any other sense.
A: In consciousness, right?
A: And so, I always talk about when I was in my early twenties in University, I had a “mental awakening”. I had a belief that there was more to life than just eating and drinking and sleeping…how does Deepak Chopra say it? “There’s more to life than the ‘Four F’s’.”
Q: Oh, I know those four. Go ahead.
A: Feeding, Fighting, Flight, and Procreation.
Q: Right, exactly!
I thought that was so funny when I first heard that phrase. So I believed and then fully realized that there was more to life than the four “F’s”. When I had this “mental awakening” or deep personal insight, I began to see that life is purposeful and meaningful, and not just random and accidental. If it is purposeful and meaningful, then part of our soul’s purpose is to go and find that meaning and that purpose and how we fit within it. Is there a Higher Source, a higher calling, a Higher Self? Is there something else beyond eating, working, playing and sleeping?
When I had my “mental awakening” I said, “Wow! This is fabulous! I have found the Truth and it is setting me free.” I was in engineering school at the time and I went around and tried to shake hands with people and tell these student engineers that I had found the truth…
Q: I can imagine the reception you got.
A: I was the president of my engineering class and I called a meeting. They all came thinking it was for something else and I tried to explain to them that I had found the truth, that this was important, and that if they listened and took it to heart, it would set them free too…
About 15 minutes into it, their eyes glazed over and they began to leave one by one, until I was the only one left in the room.
Q: That is an amazing story.
A: Six weeks later, I was back asleep, but the seed thought had been planted in my heart and in my mind. And what I learned was that even if you find out the truth, Russ, nobody else really cares. They didn’t care at that time—they still don’t care today. They don’t care if you found it out for yourself logically, by reading a book, or like Ken Wilber, in writing a book. What they really care about is: ‘Are you living your Truth? So in University I had a great insight, and then promptly went back to sleep.
Then in 1991 I had a “heart awakening”, where I awakened to the whole concept of a natural love in the earth. It was a marvelous experience that lasted about eighteen months. The heart awakening was the feeling of being in love with the idea of life, with my family, with my children, with others, with myself, and with the work I felt I was brought here to do. However, gradually, slowly, in the busyness of the wheel of life, acting in my new company building roles in the marketplace, I slowly succumbed to the system—some would call it the matrix—my heart closed, and I fell fast asleep once again. But deeper and richer and more powerful seed thoughts had been planted in my heart and my mind in that eighteen month experience.
The last awakening—which I hope will be my final awakening—is awakening to my own soul and the spirit which is the life within it. As I was ascending from the valley of death that was the crucible of the Momentum experience, I collided with Lillas Marie at a Business and Consciousness conference in Acapulco in December of 2000. This collision was a catalyst and instrumental in the process of integration we both eventually experienced, for we helped each other reawaken to a natural love in the earth and all my past seed thoughts that had been planted, began to grow, blossom and bear fruit.
Since 2000, in our research, phenomenonological life experiences, and studies, we began looking for the archetypal model of life and leadership we suspected was evident in history, psychology, philosophy, leadership and the world’s wisdom traditions. The product of this search is the integrative life and leadership model. What this model does is help us understand the eight universal principles that make up the framework in which we all live and move and have our being; our four domains of intelligence (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual); our three levels of awareness (mechanistic, organic, and wholistic); and our two choices (react or respond) that can lead us towards unity consciousness or integration.
In Integrative Leadership International Ltd, we are attempting to teach, coach, counsel, research and facilitate understanding of the model and process of integration. Lillas is leading this effort while I and many others support her.
In Integrative Energy Ltd, we are helping to build an organic, living, energy focused organization where life giving multiplying factors can enhance performance significantly. At this time, I am leading this effort while Lillas, our board, management team, and key advisors support this organizational experience.
Q: Can you give an example of these multiplying factors?
A: In the mechanistic paradigm, one plus one always equals two. However, in the organic paradigm it can equal something much greater. For example, if I have one male rat and one female rat, I can have 22 baby rats every six weeks. If I have one male rabbit and one female rabbit, I can have 64 baby rabbits per year. And if I have one fertile field and plant one fertile wheat seed in it, then I can harvest 30, 60, up to 100 times the weight of that one seed.
In business, this same process often starts as a new inspiration that illuminates; it inflames the awakened heart, takes shape as an idea, and then is acted upon with conviction and determination. The result of which grows beyond expectations technically, financially, environmentally, and in the forming of inner and outer relationships.
I remember reading about Fred Smith and the birth of Federal Express. He knew with his whole being that two points are equidistant on the globe and he could move a letter anywhere around the world in 24 hours by considering a network and not, as had occurred in the past, central distribution points. When he proposed this idea, he failed his University course because his professor thought it was “silly”.
Undeterred, Fred saw his vision so powerfully, and articulated it so clearly, and lived it so completely, that he became an attractive force for its success. Fred was firing on all four cylinders (domains of intelligence), and in that state of awareness, attracted the number two man from Kentucky Fried Chicken to come and help build with him what eventually became the international, multi-billion dollar entity known as Federal Express today. This state of growth in a company is infectious, and gives life to all who choose to participate in it.
Q: This seems to correspond in the leadership environment with the idea of vision and the importance for leaders to be able to communicate a vision that resonates with others.
A: Sure. Kouzes and Posner talk about it in their Leadership Challenge work as the practice of “Inspiring a Shared Vision.” Three of their five leadership practices are what we would call organic (inspiring a shared vision, encouraging the heart, and challenging the process) and two are mechanistic (enabling others to act, modeling the way).
In our time, I believe we, as a society, are undergoing a profound shift from the mechanistic to the organic paradigm in business.
A hundred years ago, Henry Ford used to lament: “Why is it that every time I hire a pair of hands, a head has to come along with it?” Henry wanted his people to simply ‘do’ and not to ‘think’. We have evolved from only being viewed as a pair of hands, to hands and heads post World War II, to hands, heads and hearts in the 1990’s, until today we are on the verge of awakening the very soul of leadership that can integrate our physical, mental and emotional selves into one cohesive, meaningful and purposeful whole, governed by a higher intent.
So today, people with an awakened heart are the natural leaders in this world. They understand other people and can choose to work with them or not; influence them or not, for weal or for woe. And we have found that these people currently make up about 10% of the population.
Q: By saying its 10%, you’re talking about an elite group that is often cast in a heroic archetype of leader. I wonder, do you agree that leadership can show up virtually anywhere in an organization?
A: Absolutely! Emotional intelligence can be learned and that is what we are encouraging, facilitating and teaching as the very heart of leadership.
The next frontier in human and organizational development is spiritual intelligence. It is innate in all of us as unlimited potential, and needs to be awakened, developed and applied before it can become a part of our reality. For we’ve found that once you have apprehended that connection, once you have that One Taste, then the choice of style of leadership in any particular situation becomes clear—whether that style is visioning, democratic, affiliative, coaching, pacesetting, command and control—the right style, the right tool emerges to be used at the right time, with the right amount of energy, and under the right circumstances. Having the wisdom to know which leadership style to use when, where, and how, is a fundamental part of the inner and outer processes that make up the integrative leadership paradigm.
Q: Much of the conversation about leadership so far has involved what I would call the individual Holon—the interior and behavioral aspects—of the leader. One of the things that intrigue me in terms of our growing ability to begin to articulate this has to do with recognizing that whenever we have a leader, whether it’s someone from the bottom or top of the organization, there are also the cultural and systemic aspects of the system in which they are leading. I’m wondering if your perspective on being a leader relates to those.
A: Are you saying that leadership is a part of culture?
Q: No, I’m saying that things like choices of what will be effective in terms of leadership approaches is going to be shaped in part by ones’ understanding of the context, both cultural and systemic, and that our choices around how we approach leadership are going to be shaped as much by what the life conditions of that situation are as by what our own consciousness and awareness is at any of the levels we’ve discussed.
A: Leaders influence the culture of an organization and the culture influences the leader. It is a symbiotic relationship, in my opinion.
However, I do feel there needs to be an alignment in order to put the systemic and the cultural together. Let’s think of the mechanistic as the policy and procedures manual; the organic as the best-practices manual; and the wholistic paradigm as the principle-centered manual of the organization, the culture, or the person. What you want is what you intend in terms of a principle, to have a best-practice in terms of your thoughts and values, lined up with a specific action oriented policy or procedure.
Q: When I talked with Steve MacIntosh who is the CEO of Zen and Now, when he formed his company, he formed it on a set of four or five principles.
A: Yes, and that’s exactly the principle centered alignment that we would like for the people in our organization. There was a book written some time ago that echoed Steve’s view about throwing out all the rules and regulations: ( Up the Organization). From my perspective, we can view one universal principle in the wholistic paradigm that— as it descends into our organic awareness— divides into best practices, and then, descending once again, divides further to form thousands of rules and regulations in our mechanistic awareness.
For example, in the Judaic philosophy we find there are about 1,600 rules and regulations on how one should conduct one’s life. If we elevate our thinking one level of awareness, we see that these 1,600 rules and regulations originated with Moses’ Ten Commandments that were written 3,500 years ago. Do you remember them? They are made up of three do’s like: love the Lord your God and honor your mother and father, as well as seven don’ts like: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t kill, don’t covet…
In our society, we can view these commandments (or practices) residing in our heart (or organic paradigm), which then, as we try to make them mechanistically practical, spawn numerous rules below them. Much like a single beam of light when shined through a prism breaks up into a rainbow of colors, so does the principle as it is transformed through our levels of awareness.
So we say, “Thou shall not kill” and then modify this practice to suit our needs in everyday life. We should not kill except when: we are at war with Iraq, it is done in self defense, you are protecting your home, protecting your family, hunting for food, administering capital punishment to someone we’ve found guilty of a criminal offence, etc. And that is how one best practice becomes many different, and sometimes contradictory, rules to live by.
This is where we often become lost.
We would advocate that you should try and learn the key universal principle behind the practice, strive to fully live it, and in that process, you begin to eliminate the need to know all the multitude of practices and associated rules and regulations that proceeds from it. By simply choosing to live that principle, you become the law that governs your own life, as well as a living example for others to help them govern theirs. That is what we call an involutionary, or inside out, process.
When we move from a rule, regulation, policy or procedure; to a practice; and try to determine the principle that informs it, that is what we call an evolutionary, or outside in, process.
For example, honesty is the best policy, but we don’t tell the truth all of the time. If honesty is a principle we want to stand for, then what makes us be truthful in some situations, but not in others?
Q: Could be a number of variables. Things like I don’t have the energy to get into the discussion, or I don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings.
A: Exactly. We have a series of personal habits or cultural traditions that act as barriers to living that one simple principle of telling the truth of our experience. And we form excuses based on our fears, worries, and doubts that stop us from living it.
The ultimate within the wholistic paradigm is the principle of love—giving unconditionally without expectation of return. Do you think we could do that with one another in business?
Q: Well, you can do it, but you can’t guarantee what the results are going to be.
A: Like you, I’m not sure this principle of love has a place in the world of business as it generally exists today. So at this time of transition, the bridge-builders that can help move us from the mechanistic (or materialistic) to the wholistic (spiritual or integrated) must be firmly centered in the organic paradigm.
Integrative Energy’s mission statement is that we are “…building an organic, living organization, abiding by the golden rule, playing the mechanistic game successfully, with a wholistic intent.”
In co-creating the spirit of a living organization, one of two things happens. People are attracted to it, and walk towards you, or they are repelled by it and walk away. It’s as simple as that.
Q: Can you give an example of how that plays out—the organic and the mechanistic principled approach and the notion of being successful in both worlds. Do you see them coming into conflict or do you see them supporting each other in some overt way in the work you’ve done?
A: They can be in conflict or they can be in support of one another. An easy way to see this is to talk about Agreements. In the mechanistic paradigm we have contracts; in the organic we have interpersonal agreements; and in the wholistic, we have covenants.
We see the mechanistic paradigm in sports, the stock market and the way our culture is generally developed. The mechanistic is a win-lose, lose-win, or lose-lose situation. In this competitive environment we have to play those games if we want to survive.
The organic paradigm is about a win-win agreement or, as Stephen Covey puts it, “no deal”. If we’re going to play a game, Russ, our desire is that both parties win, so we are willing to take the time required in order to find what the nature of the “win-win” is. If we can’t find cooperative common ground, there is no deal.
Q: Can you make that explicit?
A: In a typical Agreement in the oil and gas business, we are constantly searching for a win-win. The land owner will win as we drill the well on a property for the royalties the family will receive. Society wins as we drill an environmentally-conscious well that has the smallest impact on Mother Nature. If the well is successful, we want the investor to win by appreciating the value of their stock and the dividends and royalties we give them. And because of our paradigm, we also give back to the community in terms of health care, education, and infrastructure so that they can win as well.
Without feeling and perceiving the “win” for all parties, we would rather walk away from a deal than move forward and consummate it.
Q: Have you actually done that?
A: Yes sir, we have. For example, in Integrative Energy we hold a mineral interest in 40,000 acres of land, 18,000 acres of which we own 100%. A competing oil and gas company wanted to farm-in on our 18,000 acres of mineral leases in our prime prospect area. After several months of dialogue with a cooperative intent, we both realized that it would really be a “lose-lose” situation, and chose to go our separate ways. In the end there was ‘No deal’.
We have found it is better to walk away if it’s not perceived as a win-win solution for all involved, for we’ve learned that what goes around eventually comes around.
The third level of agreements, lets call them covenants within the wholistic paradigm, is about a triple-win. You win, I win, but also the spirit of the relationship in which we’ve come together wins as well.
So as long as we strive to allow the “win” to emerge such that our ‘letters of intent’, reflect our ‘letters of agreement’, which in turn reflect our worldly ‘contracts’, the three levels of awareness become aligned, personally and organanizationally, guided by our intent and governed by principle.
Q: You both directly and indirectly talked about the kinds of principles that apply, not only in your business approach but in your own leadership. I’m wondering if there are any others that you didn’t mention.
A: Well, they’re all in our book on Integrative Leadership, Chapter Six. And be sure to buy the hardcover on Amazon, Russ, since it is the most up to date…
In terms of how we do business, the “why” is the intention; the “what” is what we actually do, and the “how” is where you apply the universal principles.
In our life and work, we are constantly attempting to respond to life as our Ideal Self and not react to it as our Surreal Self. It is not always easy to do when you find yourself in the midst of a “win-lose” debate, while at the same time, inviting the players to find the “win-win” in a cooperative discussion, and simultaneously holding the hope for a breakthrough into a “win-win-win” collaborative dialogue.
If we associate these three levels culturally and psychologically, the mechanistic paradigm is our conscious or waking state; the organic is our unconscious or sleeping state; and the wholistic is our super conscious or deep sleep state.
So from our viewpoint, in the mechanistic paradigm, “knowledge is power” to be withheld and used to meet one’s own or the corporations needs. In the organic paradigm, it’s not knowledge that is power, but rather understanding.
So how do you move from knowledge to understanding?
Q: My sense is you do it rather than read about it or think about it.
A: That’s right. You apply it. You can read all the books, study the diagrams, know the technical terms about what sex is all about, but until you actually experience it, you really have no idea…
Q: So it won’t help to read all of David Deida’s books.
A: No! You have to go out and apply it!
A: People ask my opinion about the scriptures from various wisdom traditions, asking: “Which translation is the one I should use?” I reply: “It doesn’t matter which translation you use, but rather which part of it are you willing to apply in your life?” The process of application moves you from knowledge to understanding which is the heart of the organic paradigm.
Now how do you move from understanding to wisdom?
Q: Through your reflection on the experience.
A: Exactly! By bringing those reflections together, you begin to feel the synergy where the principle behind the understanding reveals itself. Knowledge supports the understanding that arises from our embodiment of it. Reflecting on our experiences and searching for the common ground between them leads us to wisdom. So in effect, one aspect of the process of integration is moving what is ‘unconsciously’ motivating you in your life and making it ‘conscious’.
Q: So it’s shifting from being ‘unaware’ to ‘aware’.
A: Correct. People wonder why they react to life the way they do, and we find that the answer is always found within them. If they can cultivate an ability to stand aside and really observe themselves from another vantage point, then they will begin to see themselves as much more than they think they are. This ability to stand aside and watch yourself go by, is moving from identifying with the ‘actor’ in your mechanistic drama, to stepping back and identifying with the ‘director’ of your life. That is a shift of perspective from the mechanistic to the organic state of mind. Once in the organic state as the director, we have the opportunity to step back once again and now see ourselves, not just as the ‘actor’ and the ‘director’, but also as the ‘producer’ of our personal life drama. This is shifting from the organic to the wholistic perspective.
These three levels of our awareness are continually playing themselves out in our everyday lives.
Q: How do you find them doing that?
A: We’ve observed conversations between senior executives where they’ve moved from wholistic to organic to mechanistic and back again in rapid succession. We marked the time we felt they spent in each of these levels, and found 85% of the time they were competitive; 10% of the time they were cooperative; and maybe 5% of the time they were collaborative. You don’t need an external study to validate these percentages, simply watch yourself and where it is that you focus your attention.
Reflecting on your understandings is the path to wisdom, and it is wisdom that we are all yearning for. We would conduct a seminar and there would be 50 people present and we would ask: “How many people believe that they are wise?” Two or three hands would go up. Then we would ask: “How many people would like to be wise?” And everyone’s hand would go up.
Without reflecting, without extracting the lessons of your life, you don’t grow. You can’t grow. You can’t see the food that you’re feeding your soul. This is the only thing that remains at the end of the drama of life in my mind. What is the food that you are feeding your soul?
Was that life experience appetizing or was it nauseating? We feed our bodies food. We read books; watch the news or documentaries to feed our mind. We feed our hearts with relationships. But what are we feeding our souls?
Q: Let me point out that you are currently involved not only in Integrative Leadership International Ltd (www.integrativeleadership.ca) with Lillas, but you’re also involved in Integrative Energy Ltd (www.integrativeenergyusa.com) You have spent some time now working with this material that we’ve been talking about, but it sounds like you’re also beginning to take it back out into the world yourself.
A: Yes, we’ve been doing that since May 1, 2005 with the activation of Integrative Energy Ltd in Canada, and subsequently, in the fall of 2005, with its associated companies in the United States.
As background, when Lillas and I first met eight years ago, one of our awakenings or realizations was that we had not been fully living what either of us had been teaching, she in the academic community and I in the energy sector. We realized that neither of us had really done the deep inner work of being a leader, or for that matter, the deep inner work of becoming a fully integrated human being. It was a sobering and very humbling thought that first arose during our radical honesty session in Acapulco.
So the intent behind what was to become our new life work was to not simply research, study and integrate all the life and leadership theories we knew of historically, but to apply the emergent archetypal model of integrative life and leadership in our own lives. This was our movement from knowledge to understanding; and through reflection, understanding to wisdom.
For five years, we applied these principles: first to ourselves as individuals, then together as life and business partners, then invited our family members to try the process, and finally applied it in the teaching, consulting and counseling marketplace.
Q: So what are the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of Integrative Energy?
A: Our Integrative Energy vision statement includes three strategies: applying the integrative paradigm at all levels of the company; researching and utilizing new inner and outer energy related technologies; and exploring and developing high impact energy opportunities.
The first strategy is to apply the integrative management and leadership paradigm and utilize it in every relationship within and outside of the company. We’re not talking about a procedures manual. We’re not talking about a best-practices manual. We are talking about a principle-centered manual. These universal principles or enduring truths are being used as the framework by which we will measure our day to day performance.
How we’ve included the integrative paradigm in our corporate bylaws is in the form we call, the “24% Solution” that incorporates our second strategy for researching and developing new inner and outer energy related technologies:
The first 6% of our before-tax profits will go to a foundation that will give back to the communities in which we work, as I had mentioned earlier, in terms of health, education and support. Wherever our company explores and develops, a portion of our profits will be re-invested there to help.
The second 6% of pre-tax profits will go into a “People’s Fund” where merit and reward increases for staff and associates will be administered in a unique way. Because the company is private, it will also be the area in which the company can buy back shares by creating an internal market for them.
The third 6% will be invested in Research & Development (R&D) in three areas:
- The first area is the development and utilization of leading edge technologies (LET) that primarily utilize the electro-magnetic spectrum. LET can provide direct detection of natural resources, such as crude oil, natural gas, fresh water and minerals, in sub-surface formations before we move forward with the expense of drilling.
- The second area deals with new energy technologies (NET), which is a paradigm shift away from alternative energy. NET includes technologies to develop zero-point energy, magnetic motors, and cold fusion, among others, which requires understanding of a new physics to be fully realized. We have a brilliant director of R&D whose passion is this field of endeavor.
- The third area of R&D is inner growth technologies (IGT), and that is the work that Lillas Marie will be doing as director of the Integrative Energy Leadership and Learning Center (LLC). Through her associations, she will develop a curriculum that will allow people to move onto the path of self-awareness, of being able to observe and have deeper introspection and connection with the producer, director and the actor within their personal and organizational dramas.
The final 6% of the 24% solution goes to our stakeholders, unitholders and shareholders in the form of dividends.
Our third strategy is to develop high impact energy opportunities. The opportunities that have come to us—and I’ve been in the business for over 30 years—are some of the most significant oil and natural gas and new energy technologies that I’ve ever seen. I believe that between the technologies and the natural resource opportunities, the money we hope will be entering our company in the near term will enable us to pursue this dream and help the U.S. move towards energy self-sufficiency over the next decade.
We believe the higher purpose for the exploration and development of the oil and natural gas opportunities in our portfolio is to help reduce the possibility of a global engagement over Middle Eastern oil that many forecast could occur within the next decade. This is a significant dream that originates from our desire to help gracefully move the world through it’s transition.
Q: It certainly is. It will affect billions of people. Now tell me, what were some of the challenges you faced in getting to where you are today as Integrative Energy, and what challenges do you still see ahead of you?
A: Initially, in our work with Integrative Energy, we were faced with applying the integrative paradigm on two levels. The first level consisted of the senior management team, board of directors and advisors and our key external relationships. The second level was working with our investor community. From my past, I understood that people were the most important element of building a company, for they can co-create the right opportunities and then attract the right money.
As Jim Collins spoke about in Built to Last (with Jerry Porras) and Good to Great, a company that is sustainable needs a large vision which he called a BHAG (“Big Harry Assed Goal”). And we think we have one. The second step is to create a core ideology that never changes, with an outer core that is fluid and adaptable. With our integrative management and leadership paradigm, we think we have in place that core. And the third step was to get the right people on the corporate bus and the wrong people off the bus. In the past three years, we think we have done that as well.
So we feel that the core group of people is ready for the next step in our collective journey.
The second area of applying the principles was within our investor community, which is made up of our shareholders, unitholders and stakeholders. In my previous company building experience, in the beginning of Integrative Energy I held the belief that we were in the business of ‘raising capital to build a company’. However, in the fall of 2006, we experienced an awakening where I realized that with this new idea of relationship with conscious investors, we could not put new wine (new ideas) in old wineskins (old forms). If we tried, the wineskins would burst. I realized that what we were really about was ‘raising consciousness to build a community’. Once the consciousness was raised sufficiently, it is our belief that the money we needed would come. We invested time, effort and energy towards connecting in various ways with our investment community in order to make this occur.
We are at the place, after three years, where there is a key group of 12 senior people and 300 members of our investor community that have walked the valleys of death with us; that have climbed the mountains of hope with us; that have evaluated and re-evaluated what we needed and didn’t need; and that have helped each one of us live authentically, our principle centered philosophy. We have sufficient respect and honor for each other, and hope that if we stray from this path and this intent, someone will stand up, speak out, and let us know, giving us the opportunity to realign and step back onto the path of integration once again.
We are at the place where we attempt to reflect on every problem, plan or decision and respond—not react—to a circumstance or a troubling internal or external relationship.
For the past six months we have been diligently searching for financial partnership that will help bring our collective dream into reality. Of the financial investment candidates we have before us, we are not sure, which of them, if any, it will be. However, what we are sure about is that we believe our principles are right, our community consciousnesses is right, the structure of the project is right, so that it is inevitable that the money will come to us at just the right time.
Once this energy in the form of money comes into our company, it will help initiate our additional land acquisition, technical evaluation, exploration and development drilling phases, and the seeding of our energy technologies. And we will respond to it as best as we are able, as good stewards for the benefit of all involved.
So that’s what we’ve been given in the last three years; an integrative management and leadership philosophy; a family of high impact opportunities; and new energy, leading edge, and inner growth technologies.
So the third challenge is how to deal with exponential growth in people and infrastructure.
Q: That is your personal challenge as well as the systemic challenge.
A: That is right. How do you hold your space in the marketplace while bringing new people into the community who may not fully understand what it is that you are attempting to do? That will also be one of the key challenges that Lillas will address in the Leadership and Learning Center.
Q: One of the things that has been central to the work I’ve been doing is trying to shift thinking away from the notion of the heroic leader to leadership as a systemic phenomena that occurs over time in organizations; not that we don’t have heroic leaders, but that heroic leaders do and can show up from just about any part of the system. However, their roles are temporary and the system moves on and there are some of those other requirements for leadership that you talked about. Do you see yourself being challenged to, in some way, create the conditions where leadership emerges from wherever it needs to in the system and isn’t dependent upon you and Lillas and a small cadre of others?
A: That is exactly what we’ve been working on for three years—to ensure that wherever people are within the organization or the community, if called upon, they will lead. What we want to be clear on is how they choose to respond to situations in alignment with universal principles, rather than react to them as they always have in the past. Our principles of relationship are simple: Tell the truth. Be compassionate: Connect with inner wisdom to get the timing of your truth telling right. And before it all, hold the intent to help rather than hurt that other and yourself.
The first step OFF the path of integration is avoidance. How many people or situations do you avoid because they make you feel uncomfortable? The minute you are aware that you’re avoiding, the next step is to engage. How and with what intent you engage leads you into the process of either integration or separation.
The first step ON the path of integration is having the courage to speak the truth of your experience. When we teach, we ask people, “How many of you tell the truth?” Many raise their hands. “All the time?” we would ask. A few would lower their hands. “No matter what the situation?” we would ask again. And a few more hands go down until, after a few more questions, no one is left.
Q: I’m reminded of a psychologist in Washington, D.C., Brad Blanton, who published a book and recorded tapes on something he called Radical Honesty. Are you familiar with that?
A: Yes, I met him in Acapulco in December of 2000. We had a long chat about radical honesty and truth and how it all comes into play and how deceptive we are, not only to others, but with ourselves. The whole thing begins with a simple principle, “Tell the truth.”
Q: Was every other word of his a curse word?
A: Yes! But his point was well taken.
Q: Yes, of course, he makes it very clear, doesn’t he?
A: There is a place for Blanton’s style of leadership. However, I choose to not use it as my primary way of relating to people. You can tell the truth like Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart”, which is a brutal way of communicating the truth, and afterwards, all you will have is dead bodies lying all around you. After awhile, that approach to truth telling is a path that leads to loneliness and dissatisfaction.
Q: No, that’s not taking into consideration intention, is it?
A: You’re absolutely right, Russ. Not just the intention, but the lack of compassion and wisdom as well. One of the seven days of re-creation that Lillas and I shared in our first encounter in Acapulco was devoted to practicing radical honesty.
Q: That sounds fascinating.
A: It is a great story.
Q: I’m going to do a follow-up interview with Lillas if that’s all right with you and spend a little more time on the models and things. Is there anything you’d like to add?
A: There’s a principle in relationships that appears as a triangle of love. We have found this principle expressed in all the worlds’ wisdom traditions, in all sustainable philosophies, and in all meaningful psychologies. This triangle of love has a priority: “Love the Divine with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your mind, and with all your soul” first. Then, love “your neighbor as yourself.”
That triangle of self, others and the Divine, that ‘Image of God’ which we hold, consciously or unconsciously, tells us who and what we are and how we will relate to one another.
If our ‘Image of God’ is humanitarian and holds social justice as its highest ideal, then that is the way we will relate to one another. If our ‘Image of God’ is justice without reason or understanding, fear without compassion, punishment without mercy, then that is how we will relate to one another, for it governs the very spirit of all our relationships. So what is your ‘Image of God?’
Within Integrative Leadership as a philosophy, and Integrative Energy as a company and community, the spirit of the relationship we’re attempting to build is to find, not only our personal relationship with the Divine, but to see the Divine in each and every one of us.
If we can relate from that higher ground, then the idea of cooperation and collaboration will be simple and not a struggle. The idea of forgiveness and mercy will be simple, and not difficult or impossible. The idea of justice will be guided by wisdom, and not self interest. All things will be in flow. All things will have the look, the smell, and the feel of grace.
How can we do that? By first choosing to be authentic and credible: by choosing to be trustworthy and honest: by choosing to instill hope in the lives of others, not despair: and by choosing to walk in faith the path of integration set before us each moment of each day: personally, professionally, interpersonally and organizationally towards our mutual success.
Q: That’s a great note to end on. I want you to know how much I’ve enjoyed this interview.
A: It’s been a pleasure talking with you as well.
Integrative Leadership: An Interview with Lillas Marie Hatala,
CHRP, Executive Director of Integrative Leadership International Ltd.
Q: Lillas, I know that today you are the Executive Director of Integrative Leadership International and have been in that role full time for the past two years. Tell us what were some of the ‘defining moments’, people, or influences that led you—over the past thirty years of your management and leadership development career—to your current role?
A: Sure, but with your permission, let me step back and give you some of my background that will hopefully set the context and allow my key influences, people and defining moments to make sense.
I graduated from the University of Alberta in Edmonton with a B.Sc. in Agriculture (Rural Sociology and Community Development), earning the Governor Generals Gold Medal award for Academic Excellence in 1975. I then worked two years in Agricultural Extension for the Provincial Government; two years as a Program Coordinator at a Community College; and in the next five years, chose to go to graduate school, have three children and work as Executive Director of a “Not for Profit” in Saskatoon.
My decision to go to graduate school was a ‘defining moment’ for my life and my work.
Q: Why was that?
A: Because in obtaining a Masters in Continuing Education (M.CEd), I learned about stages of adult development and processes of adult learning. This was a better fit for where my passions, my skills, my heart and my head could become balanced. I remember in my Masters Program first learning of Kegan’s work on stages of development and consciousness while at the same time being asked to facilitate team leadership through University Extension. I loved learning academically and then teaching what I learned. This combination of life events was pivotal in setting the stage for awakening my passion for human and leadership development.
After obtaining my M.CEd, I joined Federated Co-operatives Ltd.—one of the largest wholesale and retail distributors in Canada. This experience gave me corporate grounding in most facets of human resources (HR).
Q: And what did you take away from that corporate experience?
A: I think it strengthened my ability to design, develop and deliver adult learning programs in the workplace. Rick talks about his ‘mental awakening’ and when you listen to his stories they are so dramatic. Mine has been more gradual and evolutionary, rather than catastrophic awakening to my life’s purpose that took me years to crystallize.
Although my corporate experience was generally ‘mechanistic’, as we define this in our integrative model, there were also elements that were ‘organic’ in the sense that they involved people, team and organizational development.
So my second ‘defining moment’ was being recruited to a ‘start up’ faculty position in the University of Saskatchewan Extension Division in December of 1992.
Q: What made it a ‘defining moment’ for you?
As part of the recruiting process, I was asked to give a public seminar on the vision for this new business and management program area. I reflected on my past career and decided that, if I were the successful candidate, I would dedicate the programming to the human side of business, management and leadership development—emphasizing people and process. This became my personal and academic program area vision.
To my great joy, I was hired and thought, “Wow!”, for the first time in my life I was being given the freedom to co-create leading edge management and leadership development programs within a supportive environment.
Q: “Now what do you do?!”
A: Right. What do you do? I felt this was my license to pursue my passion and I ran with it. As you know, since 1992 the whole area of leadership has become the top priority in North American and some European and Asian organizations. For me it was the right move, to the right place, at the right time and in the right situation.
I changed the name of the program area from Business and Management—not to discount management at all, I certainly see the need for strong management as a necessity for personal and organizational success—to Business and Leadership Programs (BLP). That proved to be fortunate, for it set the tone and direction for me as Faculty Director of BLP at the University of Saskatchewan for the next 14 years.
Q: What did that include for people participating in BLP—a course on leadership, or was there more?
A: In the beginning, it was just a title. There was nothing, no programs, no activities except a blank slate on which I could write down ideas and begin to build.
This was a true ‘start up’ with systems, structures and supporting relationships, key of which was the Dean of the Faculty and some colleagues who desired my success. But understand, we also had revenue generating expectations. So BLP was a blend between academic and our target community—comprised of government, for and not for profit organizations—that required a vision, mission, strategies, goals and objectives just like any other business. So revenue generation was a key performance measure of the effectiveness of BLP.
I began developing a variety of supervisory, management and leadership programs that steadily grew under my directorship over the years. Today there are four full time and 20 associates, faculty, facilitators, and instructors involved on a day-to-day basis. BLP annually serves thousands of leaders in various community, business, and government sectors in the Province of Saskatchewan. They conduct several dozens of public and in-house programs (lasting one to six days in duration) with many programs offering follow up coaching. There are leadership and coaching certificate programs and major leadership conferences every two years that attract thousands of people across western Canada on their own. BLP’s revenue targets have been exceeded each year over the past fourteen years and continue to grow. BLP is a legacy with which I am proud to have been associated.
Throughout this building process, I also taught Organizational Behavior and Leadership in the School of Business; consulted on University Leadership Development Initiatives across Canada; spoke at international education and leadership conferences; wrote journal articles; co-authored two books; and received tenure and promotion at the University of Saskatchewan. I also was President of the Saskatoon Human Resource Association, on the board of directors of the U.S. Universities Management Development Conference, Chair of the Business Education Committee of the Chamber of Commerce; founding board member of Leadership Saskatoon; and was honored in being awarded the YWCA ‘Woman of the Year’ Award in the category of leadership and learning in 2001.
Q: Wow! That is an impressive background and list of achievements. It sounds like in the beginning of BLP you started off by focusing on the cognitive side of leadership.
A: Yes, I started off on the cognitive side for that was the only side that was acceptable at that time. In 1995, I met Barry Posner, the co-author of the book and body of work known as The Leadership Challenge, which has had a profound influence on my early leadership development work. The model is a behavioral model that can also be transformational if you choose to allow it to elevate you to that level.
Q: What was it about The Leadership Challenge that drew you to it that you didn’t find in the work of other leadership models?
A: I was in the corporate sector when I left to go to work at the University and the Corporate Vice-President said to me, “That’s a good move for you because you’ve got a real academic bent.” When I was at the University and heavily involved in an academic leadership development initiative, the University Provost said to me, this is a good move for you since “You’ve got such a practical bent.”
I felt at that time I was a bridge-builder between the two worlds of the purely academic and theoretical—mental—and business that is practical—physical. Today, I have evolved to be a bridge builder between the head and heart, heart and soul, the mechanistic and holistic, and the material and the spiritual. Regardless of the bridges I am helping to build, it is important for me to use well-researched tools while facilitating management and leadership development.
At that time, I felt that Barry was my mentor and bridged these two worlds of academic and business very well. His and Jim Kouzes’ tools were well researched. Their model, from our later research, also bridged the mechanistic to the organic. From my experience, The Leadership Challengehas high buy-in and face validity for a wide range of audiences.
Q: Does it have high buy-in because it is a set of ‘principles’ as opposed to more detailed instruction?
A: It is not a set of principles as we define them in the integrative model and framework, but rather a set of five practices—primarily organic—that if individuals apply the six behaviors—mechanistic—— that support each of the five practices, they will become more effective leaders.
In 1998, Barry invited me to Santa Clara University—where he was the Dean of the Leavey School of Business—to spend my sabbatical doing research and writing with him for a year beginning in July 1999. My sabbatical was the third ‘defining moment’ in my career and my life.
Q: How so?
A: I did meet my research and writing goals by publishing two refereed journal articles. However, most significantly, I had stepped out of the activity trap in which I was caught for the previous twenty years of my life as the consummate high achiever. We all know that having some sort of reflective practice is critical for a leader and adult learner. I guess the most humbling thing for me on my sabbatical was that I realized I had been talking a lot about the inner work of becoming a better leader, but I hadn’t done my own inner work.
Q: You hadn’t been practicing it yourself?
A: No. I’d been dabbling, focusing most of my attention on the outer journey, but not dedicating myself to the inner journey of life and leadership.
I was not proud of teaching one thing, but not doing it myself. So that year, along with my research and article writing, I dedicated myself to the inner journey. For me, that involved committing to a regular yoga practice; hiring a coach for my meditation practice and then doing it daily; going on seminars such as Deepak Chopra’s “Seduction of the Spirit” retreat; and setting aside daily time for journaling and inspirational reading.
I came out of that sabbatical year changed. I began to see life more clearly. I began to know from within what it was I wanted for my life and work from that point forward. I wanted to live and work from the place of my heart, not just as I had done in the past, from my head—cognitive— alone. So in those 12 months, I had a “heart awakening” which was the third defining moment of my life.
In terms of leadership and leadership development, I came to know, from the very depths of my being, that the greatest leverage to being a better leader lies in personal development. As Warren Bennis often suggested, “…the process of becoming a leader is not much different from that of becoming an integrated human being.” Great quote!
My life’s purpose then, evolved further and was refined into helping connect leader’s souls with their roles. It was in awakening the passion that is at the very heart of leadership and not just the behaviors—body—or practices—mind—of the knowledge of leadership. I began to apply my new awareness that resulted in a more comprehensive and transformational University of Saskatchewan Leadership Development Program (LDP) that has led to so much of BLP’s success to this day.
My first awakening, then, was gradually finding out what I wanted to do as an aspect of my life’s purpose as a facilitator and writer. My second awakening was being given the freedom to pursue a vision of business and leadership programs that was slightly ahead of its time. My third awakening involved my heart and the passion of committing to the deep inner work of being a leader.
Q: So it seems you’ve had three major awakenings in your life?
A: Yes, and there is a fourth awakening, what I have come to call a “soul awakening”. That happened to me in December 2000 at an International Conference on Business and Consciousness in Acapulco. It was there that I first met Rick, my partner in life, love, work and play, and it was that meeting that was a catalyst for the change that was associated with my fourth awakening.
Rick and I were introduced by a mutual friend, and that evening over supper, Rick turned to me and his first words were, “Do you know your soul’s purpose?” I thought that was an interesting opening line for a dinner conversation! I had just been on my sabbatical and explored that question in depth and answered him. In turn he shared with me what he believed to be his soul’s purpose. That was the first conversation on the first evening of our meeting.
I feel that it is important that every leader reflect and come to uncover or discover their life’s purpose or mission. So I Immediately felt a soul connect with Rick and we went on for the next five days, meeting after each conference day’s sessions, sharing radical truth about ourselves, exploring different aspects and emergent possibilities of our life and work, and experiencing a gradual, and unanticipated, communion of our souls.
On the seventh day—we call our first experience our seven days of re-creation—after the conference sessions were done, we and a few others shared a day of rest on the beach at the Fairmont Acapulco Resort before flying back to the marketplace.
At the end of that seventh day of deep sharing and open and heartfelt generosity, I said to Rick: “My Santa Clara sabbatical was so positive in so many ways. I discovered that I really enjoy writing. I did more of a personal story approach in one of the articles I wrote, and I’d like to eventually write a book about getting the heart, body, mind and soul involved in a leader’s development.” I said, remembering my morning meditation insight, “The title could be something like: Let Spirit Be the Leadalthough I don’t know exactly what that means…” Rick responded with some excitement saying, “Yes, it could be the juxtaposition of the path of conventional leadership with the path of the mystic found in all the worlds’ wisdom traditions.”
I knew in that instant there was work we would do together.
In time we found our relationship was a perfect compliment: he the ‘head’ and I the ‘heart’ with a bond that was centered in our spirit and intent. He was strong in the development of his mental and spiritual intelligence, and I was strong in my emotional and physical intelligence and in this way, we could help each other on the path. I considered him to be the ‘architect’ of the systems and structures that involved our search for the integrative model of life, learning and leadership, whereas I was more the ‘artist’, emphasizing the heart, compassion and the aesthetic nature of relationship with ourselves, others and the Divine.
After four years of phenomenological research, documenting our personal applications and experience—12,000 pages of journaling—a comprehensive literature review, and testing out our emerging concepts in presentations to over 5,000 people; workshops to over 500 people, and coaching to over 50 people, that work became embodied as our book, Integrative Leadership: B uilding a Foundation for Personal, interpersonal and Organizational Success , which we published in 2005, and more recently the Integrative Leadership Self Study Guide: Let Spirit Be the Lead in Your Life , which I co-authored with Cheryl Duggan. (2008)
Q: At that time had you been at all familiar with Ken Wilber’s work?
A: Before December 2000, I had not been aware of Ken Wilber’s work. However, during our research phase, we did come across his booksIntegral Psychology and Theory about Everything, among scores of other works. But I found them to be a little too cognitive with one exception: From Grit to Grace, which is the story of his caring for his wife who was dying of cancer for five years. It touched my heart to see that kind of devotion and compassion in action.
Q: Then for you, what was the source of this notion of the four domains you talk about as mind, body, spirit and heart?
A: Although raised in the United Church of Canada, as an adult I chose to become a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church and remained one for over 20 years. In 1990, I began facilitating programs around the role of women in religious history and the Divine Feminine. I also taught programs on a part time basis on work-life balance through university continuing education that addressed our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Later, in 2001, Rick and I coined the term “Integrative Leadership”, led workshops on it from 2002-2004, first published in 2004, and finally published our best work on Integrative Leadership in hardcover format in January 2005. Integrative Leadership is a holistic approach to leading oneself, leading others, and leading within organizations.
Q: When you looked at the world of leadership, and particularly leader development, was it so scattered that there was a need to find some umbrella or some way to embrace these different ideas?
A: Yes, we felt there was a need for an integrating framework or paradigm to make sense or meaning out of the vast amount of information on leadership available at that time. When we searched the Internet wirh the word “leadership” in 2001, we found less than one million hits. Today you will find over ten million hits. We felt there was a need to find the archetypal model or integrating framework to help simplify the complexity surrounding this body of knowledge. In our work a universal archetypal model of life and leadership emerged that formed the common ground of many philosophies, psychologies, and traditions that we investigated and now utilize in our leadership development work.
Q: So what were some of the other significant influences in your thinking around the development of the integrative leadership approach?
A: There were many influences. From my perspective, the physical and mental aspects of leadership development evolved over the past 100 years from trait, behavioral, situational, competency, to transformational approaches to the whole idea of leadership. The change in the 1990’s was the addition of the importance of Emotional Intelligence, its research and eventual popularization…
Q: Are you thinking of Goleman and Boyatzis, particularly?
A: Yes, particularly Goleman and Boyatzis in their individual and collective work such as Primal Leadership. I’ve used their material, with many others in this field, to facilitate the idea of awakening Emotional Intelligence or what we call, the heart of leadership.
Then around the turn of the 21st Century, there emerged another body of literature on aspects of the spirit of leadership and spirit in the workplace by authors such as Russ Moxley, Richard Barrett, and Ian Mitroff, to name a few. This was the emergence of the idea of Spiritual Intelligence that is the very core of what we call the soul of leadership.
With this acceleration of published literature, Rick and I both felt there was a need, and the opportunity was ripe, for developing an integrative framework, paradigm or model of life and leadership that we thought was ever present and perennial.
Q: In writing the book, did you have in mind the idea of creating your organization, “Integrative Leadership International”?
A: Yes, we did. Right after Rick and I met at the conference in December 2000, I shared my dream of doing this work. He was battle-weary from the past decade where he was involved with building companies, and I encouraged him to take a sabbatical himself. He said, “I have a vision, too. I’d like to create a very different kind of company than what I’ve been part of in the past. There has to be a better way of doing business, a more graceful and fulfilling way of being and living in this world.” So in 2001, we started two companies. One eventually became “Integrative Leadership International” and the other, five years later, became “Integrative Energy.” It was in so quickly forming these two entities that I knew we were destined to work together.
It is interesting to note that for most of our time together, Rick and I had a long distance relationship: he in Calgary and me, 600 kilometers away, in Saskatoon.
What was significant about this separation was I was in the marketplace five days a week at the University, when Rick was five days a week on his voluntary sabbatical, diligently working on his inner journey. On weekends, we would encounter and engage one another, often very intensely on all levels and all domains, awakening, nurturing and experiencing every facet of what we came to know as the process of integration. Then we would part once again to reflect and try and integrate our experiences in our time of separation. We learned that sometimes you have to separate, in order to integrate, and integrate in order to separate the wheat from the chaff of our lives. We activated the company “Integrative Leadership International Ltd” in 2001, shortly after meeting in Acapulco, and used it as a vehicle for our research, speaking, and workshop development.
In December 2006, I became primarily based in Calgary. Rick is primarily based in the Woodlands near Houston. This process of integration and separation continues.
Q: Initially, you were doing workshops? What kinds of approaches were you using to communicate the cognitive side of presenting models or frameworks?
A: Although “Integrative Leadership International” was activated in 2001, we were focused on our personal and interpersonal journey on the path of integration. Eventually, we invited our five children and our family into the experience, and it was eighteen months later that we entered the marketplace. At first, we began teaching through Universities. In our facilitating we learned a lot, every time doing the best we could with what we had to work with and learning. We found the biggest challenge was translating and communicating our experiences of the process of integration to others in a way that was both understandable and applicable.
I was just saying to Rick, every time we speak at conferences, conduct a workshop, or counsel a coaching client, the clarity of how we communicate, the stories we tell now, are so different from what we did in the beginning. So initially, we had varying degrees of success. I feel very grateful that we are getting better and better at conveying the concepts and co-creating the space where people can understand and, through reflection, make sense out of our integrative concepts.
Integrative Leadership took longer to write than we initially thought it would. At first it was a textbook and we found it was too dry and devoid of the beautiful spirit of the walk on the path of integration we had experienced. Then we tried writing it as a parable or story that was more heartfelt, much like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and that was not satisfying to me, academically.
Someone once said that there are three objectives you can try to achieve in writing—universality, simplicity and— you can only be successful in two out of the three. It was challenging, but we attempted in Integrative Leadership to accomplish these three. We told a story about an amalgam of our coaching clients, Mary and John, to communicate the process of integration simply. We built the integrative archetypal model to show its potential for understanding ourselves and others and its universality. And we expanded and annotated the endnotes to try and illustrate its accuracy.
Our book we hope will be the first in a series describing all the elements involved with the process of integration. We now conduct “Integrative Leadership” workshops several times per year. We are asked to speak at conferences including the upcoming International Leadership Association Conference in November, 2008. We are asked to coach and consult and we choose our clients as carefully as they choose us.
Q: As the integrative paradigm evolved, have you found yourself incorporating more of the other domains than just the cognitive aspects?
A: Oh, gosh, yes. From the very beginning, in one form or another, we brought in the four domains of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Our challenge in bringing this work into the marketplace was finding a way to translate our personal and interpersonal experiences, knowledge, and understandings of the process of integrating all four domains, our three levels of awareness, and our two fundamental choices, that are set within the framework of eight universal principles, simply and meaningfully so that each participant could apply it in their own life. We encouraged our participants to find their own integrative life and leadership theory of practice, and many did.
Q: What would be some examples in each of the four domains?
A: Physically, we introduce methods of progressive relaxation such as breath work, gentle yoga postures, and slow motion martial arts such as Tai Chi.
Mentally, we share models that support answering the question “Who am I?” in terms of our three levels of awareness as personality, individuality and universality. And we illustrate the four domains in the question, “Who am I?” as a body, mind, heart and a soul.
Emotionally, we explore the language of sensations, feelings and emotions and how awareness plays a significant role in understanding ourselves and others. We utilize different self and external assessments that illustrate where participants are in harnessing their emotional potential and realizing or enhancing their intelligence. This is the home of resonant leadership that facilitates clear communication, personally and interpersonally.
Spiritually, we facilitate creative and intuitive activities that demonstrate the existence of our often underutilized potential within. The activities could include still or walking meditations, guided and unguided visualizations, artwork, dream work and storytelling as methods of connecting with the metaphoric and symbolic language of the soul.
You know, Russ, we have found you have to experience our “Integrative Leadership” workshops to understand them. We are holding the space and providing an opportunity for a more holistic experience.
Q: It’s really powerful when you can work from that holistic space. What comes up for me is that I like to make a distinction between leader and leadership. I think of leader as corresponding to an individual holon, as in Wilber’s work; it’s about the individual. Yes, of course it’s in relationship, but the relationship is handled more in the collective holon. If you’re dealing with a collective holon, you can be dealing with that on micro-, macro- or meso-levels. When I think about leadership on that collective level, it’s more than just about the individual.
I’m wondering if there is any dimension to that in your work.
A: Yes, of course. However, Rick and I believe that within our integrative approach is that all meaningful and sustainable change first begins with the individual.
Leaders are individuals who are comprised of a conscious, subconscious, and what Carl Jung termed, collective unconscious. An aspect of Integrative Leadership is learning the process of moving through these three principle states or levels of awareness.
The process of integration—from our experience and observation—has three processes of change: transactional, which is associated with the body-mind; transformational, which is associated with the heart-mind; and transcendent, which is associated with the soul-mind. As we experience an internal or external event at one level of awareness, the other two are affected. How these three levels come into relationship with one another is through transference of information that can be characterized as our waking, sleeping, and dreaming states. This information and experience that each of us has daily feeds the collective, and in turn, depending on our level of attunement and focus of attention, this collective can also feed us.
If you think of the mechanistic paradigm as connecting with the global Internet, the holistic paradigm is connecting with our personal spiritual intranet. Each bit of information and experience on our personal intranet, must eventually pass through the heart-mind—organic paradigm. Integrative Leadership is about awakening our heart, thereby opening the door and allowing our body and soul to come into personal and intimate relationship with each other.
But it all begins with the individual; then the group; then the masses.
So from our perspective, a leader has to strive to become conscious, or more aware of what may be unconsciously motivating them in their actions and behaviors. As they become more aware of their individuality, rather than simply their personality, they then have an opportunity to become more aware of their role in the collective or universality of not just their being, but the collective being that each of us contributes to and takes from in our day-to-day lives.
Once they are aware and can identify with their universality or essence, then they have the opportunity to descend and reshape their individuality and personality to be more in alignment with their purpose and mission residing within their very own soul. In this way the many aspects of our natures become One, just as the One becomes many avenues and pathways of expression. One aspect of the process of integration we call involution and the other we call evolution.
So in the first four years, Rick and I did this integrative work, personally and interpersonally, but did not move into attempting it organizationally until May of 2005 with the activation of Integrative Energy Ltd. Rick felt that he had one more energy company within him, one principle strategy of which was the application of the integrative management and leadership paradigm at all levels of the company’s internal and external relationships.
Q: That of course is what he has been doing. Have you been working with him on it?
A: Oh yes! I am on the Board of Directors of Integrative Energy, as well as the Director of the Integrative Energy Leadership and Learning Center.
Q: I know you mentioned you do your Integrative Leadership programs through universities, so essentially you’ve got strangers and cousins coming to those. Do you do them in-house as well?
A: We’ve been invited to do in-house workshops, however we’ve found that without a supportive network, participants tend to awaken, and when they return the system compels them to fall asleep once again. One of the seven elements that characterize the process of becoming an Integrative Leader is finding the right supportive associations and relationships. Without them, it is difficult to stay awake. We have an awakened community in Integrative Energy that we are investing in-house energy to maintain.
Integrative Energy is modeling the way that will allow us to move the integrative message into the world. It will do this by demonstrating that there is another way of doing business. Without demonstrable success, there is no message.
Q: Well clearly, being able to not only present concepts and ideas, but to be able to tell the stories of how they’ve worked and succeeded is critical in a business environment.
A: It really is. I just spoke at a conference to 170 of my human resource colleagues about Integrative Leadership and challenged them by suggesting that they are the very heart of their organization and, if they believed that, they should begin to act like it!
I shared with them stories about experiences of dealing with conflict organically, building an integrative community, attracting the right people, the importance of competence, but also the importance of demonstrating compassion and consciousness as well—and trying to build in our collective consciousness, a core ideology and an experiential understanding of universal principles.
As you say, it’s one thing to espouse them; it’s quite another thing to embody them.
Q: I’m also thinking that you are focusing on areas that would be compatible with the integral life practice work that comes out of Esalen Institute and Integral Institute. One of the things that I know in the Integral Institute program, integral life practice, is they include the idea of working with shadow material. I’m wondering if you have thought of that at all.
A: We have more than thought about it. We’ve experienced it! So yes, I think it’s very important. The shadow side of our nature naturally emerges in the transformational change process that is centered in the heart of life and leadership. Rather than leadership, we tend to call this aspect of the work, “ leadershit”, because it is one aspect that few leaders want to get near enough to touch! Several of our associates have worked in this area of healing emotional intelligence and are excellent candidates for Learning Center faculty that will help Leaders deal with their shadow sides effectively.
Q: Do you see yourself moving into spiritual practices like meditation or physical practices like martial arts or yoga?
A: I am a part time yoga and meditation teacher and have taught Yoga for Executive Wellbeing. As you suggested earlier, our Integrative Transformative and Transcendent (ITT) practices are aligned with those developed at Esalen and within the Integral Institute. They are practices that, when applied, are essential to live, learn and lead well. In essence, the ITT practices are about relaxing the body, stilling the mind, calming the emotions so that our true selves, our spiritual natures, our very souls, can be present, heard and contribute to our choices on the path of life.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in trying to get these ideas across to the management and leadership marketplace?
A: The contribution that we have made in Integrative Leadership is to co-create a paradigm where the transactional-mechanistic and the transformative-organic leadership models could be expanded to allow room for the transcendent-mystic holistic leader. But we have encountered resistance. Wasn’t it Schopenhauer who suggested that: “…every new idea is first ridiculed, then rejected, and eventually proclaimed self-evident.”
Q: Resistance may be found especially in academia and those who are invested in their own models.
A: Yes, exactly. I found that initially challenging. However, with every year that passes, I worry about it less. Someone asked me recently: “What do you see changing in leadership?” And I responded, “the shift in our level of awareness.” Leadership is awareness…
Q: What about leadership in relationship to current issues that are facing business and the world? I’m thinking of issues of globalization and sustainability and so on. Are you finding that when you think about Integrative Leadership, it can move beyond the small to mid-range business world into the global world of corporations?
A: I do. The whole leadership crisis in the world is one of separation as opposed to integration. The crisis in leadership in our society, I believe, was caused by a disconnect between a leader’s competence, character, and conscience. In the organization, it is seen as a disconnect between the vision, values and reality of what they do.
I have found that “…things fall apart when they are not in integrity,” whether it’s the leader, organization, community, nation or the world. That’s why Rick and I believe it all starts with the individual. If the individual is right, the leader, team and organization will be right. Our frontier or learning edge is applying the integrative paradigm to the community that is Integrative Energy.
Q: Do you have a vision of moving into those larger, more complex systems at some future point?
A: Right now, much of our energy is going into co-creating Integrative Energy as an organic, living organization. Once this experiment and experience of integrative organizational development is operational and successful, our belief is that other organizations will ask: “How did you do that?” Then, through the Integrative Energy’s Leadership & Learning Center (LLC), we’ll start the external, larger, more complex education process.
Q: Where will the Center be located?
A: That’s a good question. Our head office is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but our principal operations are in The Woodlands, Texas, U.S.A. near Houston. We are a virtual organization, and that is how we envision the LLC will have its beginning. Later, we can visualize physical locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Q: I find the work that you and Rick are doing to be absolutely fascinating. The fact that you are working in all of these domains at the same time is really intriguing. It seems to me you are building a level of experience and exposure that is really unusual. I’m not used to people having stories like yours. It’s extraordinary.
A: Yes, and it is affecting different domains, but in particular the spiritual domain. For example, each year I gift myself a Yoga Retreat. This year I went to the Sivananda Ashram in Paradise Island, Bahamas at the end of March. One of the Swamis had read our book Integrative Leadership and asked Rick and I if we would come for five days in March, 2009 and conduct a “Yoga of Leadership” program based on our integrative paradigm. We accepted.
Q: How fascinating!
A: So that event will be the conventional path of leadership juxtaposed on the path of the mystic as represented, in this case, by the Yogic path. We have had that same reaction from Christians, Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists and Hindus. It is curious that at almost the same time as Sivananda of the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) founded by Paramahansa Yogananda who was the author of Autobiography of a Yogi contacted us to ask our permission to do an Integrative Leadership book review in their SRFmagazine. I agreed, saying it would be great since Rick, who is a student of the world’s wisdom traditions, has been an SRF member for over thirty years. The Brother responded that that must be one of the reasons that our book was so beautiful!
There are some good things happening.
Q: Yes, awareness and consciousness is arising in the world. That’s great. Have you had any significant reviews of the book thus far?
A: No, not significant. Our reviews have come from small distribution magazines like the Banff Center of Leadership Compass. Interestingly, last year a division of Pearson Education out of the United Kingdom, based in India, published Integrative Leadership for the India-Bangladesh-Nepal-Malaysia markets, which incidentally, is the largest English speaking market in the world.
Q: It makes me wonder what it would take to get recognition of material like yours in some of the more mainstream kind of places likeSoundView, Harvard Business Review (HBR) or other business publications.
A: That’s a good question. It seems to me more and more that the time is now.
Q: I’m seeing that there is so much energy around the world related to bringing in integral, integrated, or integrative perspectives to so many dimensions, whether it’s Integral Leadership or life practice or medicine or sustainability, there are ongoing projects all over the world. People from many countries have initiated things in one or more of these areas. It seems to me that this network is growing. I can’t imagine, especially any of the more cutting-edge publications, why they wouldn’t grab at this to try and at least expose their readers to it. That’s a question I have, and I’m curious if you’ve had any other experience.
A: Rick and I have often talked about wanting to publish an HBR article as a way to move this message into the mainstream.
Q: Anything else you would like to add, Lillas before we close?
A: Yes, I would like to conclude that all leadership theories and practices that align with universal principles and enduring truths and have been able to stand the test of time can be find a ‘home’ within the integrative leadership framework. We have found that the integrative paradigm is often a mirror that reflects back to people, depending on their awareness, their own path of authentic leadership more deeply and more clearly.
My purpose and intent in furthering this integrative approach to life, learning and leadership, is both personal and professional. I see this path of integration as a means of expressing my own life purpose, which is to awaken people to all of who they are, heart, body, mind and soul; to help them uncover and live their life’s purpose; and to bring forth their gifts and talents in loving service to the Divine, themselves and others.
Q: How appropriate for where we are at this point in our evolution. Lillas, thank you so much for investing this time. I think it is obvious that I am very excited about the work you and Rick are doing. It is a wonderful blend of perspective and practice. I wish you both a very productive and successful path.
For further information: http://www.integrativeleadership.ca/