Leading Comments

Leading Comments / August 2006

Your assistance would be deeply appreciated.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to those who have chosen to provide voluntary contributions to support the publication of the Integral Leadership Review. My goal is to continue to make the work of those contributing to the development of Integral Leadership theory and applications accessible to all. When you choose to join this generous group, please go to our donation page. My request is for $10.00 to help defray our costs in continuing to make this publication accessible to all. You can also find out how your organization can become a sponsor of the Integral Leadership Review by contactingruss@integraleadershipreview.com.

I would also like express appreciation the sponsors of the Integral Leadership Review:


Stagen is North America’s leading provider of integrally-informed organizational and leadership development products and services. Please visit stagen.com to find out more about their methodology, download white papers and learning modules, and explore opportunities for collaboration.


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Pacific IntegralPacific Integral is committed to the conscious evolution of individuals and organizations to support the emergence of a sustainable, equitable and beautiful future for humanity. We offer integrally-informed development, consulting, mentoring, coaching, and education, including Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems. This in-depth, practical, 18-month program is an intensive, rigorous, and inspiring experience designed to create powerful, integrally-informed leaders for transformative change in human systems.


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The Kaipa Group is a Silicon Valley based consulting firm providing Coaching, Advice and Executive Education to CEOs, Board Members and Senior Executives. We focus on igniting innovation and transformation in executives and their organizations by helping them tap into their natural genius. Our Mission is to ignite the natural genius within executives and their teams.



We are in the sixth year of publication of the Integral Leadership Review. It is increasingly taking the form that I hoped, although I am sure there is still much that can be done to make this a useful document that attracts a wider audience in the fields of consulting, training and coaching, as well as among business and other organizational leaders who have a passion for leadership. In fact, we are committed to evolving this epublication and its resources as a center for discourse and learning about leadership through an integral lens.

This evolution has, in face begun. We are in the process of forming the Integral Leadership Council (ILC). This process is in its early stages. We are proud to announce that the following leading thinkers about leadership have become members of the Integral Leadership Council:

  • Don Beck (US) The Spiral Dynamnics Group
  • Ron Cacioppe (Australia) University of Western Australia
  • Susann Cook-Greuter (Switzerland/US) Integral Institute
  • Charles Hampden-Turner (UK) Cambridge University
  • Mark Edwards (Australia) University of Western Australia
  • Nathan Harter (US) Purdue University
  • Prasad Kaipa (US/India) Saybrook Institute, Indian School of Business
  • Ian Mitroff (US) Emeritus, University of Southern California; Fielding Institute
  • Thierry Pauchant (Canada) HEC Montreal, Fielding Institute
  • Joseph Rost (US) University of San Diego, Emeritus
  • Bill Torbert (US) Boston College
  • Margaret Wheatley (US) President Emerita, The Berkana Institute

We anticipate that this group will grow over the coming months. We will provide more information about the ILC

In addition, we are in the process of developing a new, independent website for the Integral Leadership Review. I am able to say “we” because the Integral Leadership Review is now under direction of a Management Review Board. In addition to myself as editor and publisher, the following very important contributors to the evolution of this journal have agreed to serve:

I am grateful to the 1453 subscribers to Integral Leadership Review. Your support means that we can move closer to a way of viewing and being in the world that is integrative, generative and supportive of our evolving integrity – learning to align our theory and our action, our values and assumptions with achieving what is important to us. Also, I am grateful to the many kindnesses, suggestions and offers of support we have received.

The mission of this e-publication is to be a practical guide to the application of an integral perspective to the challenges of leadership in business and life and to the effective relationship between executive/business coaches, consultants and their clients. My vision includes that this will be a place where we can continue to develop and share ideas about Integral Leadership and integral coaching, particularly in their application. That vision is being realized.

> Russ Volckmann

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Cowan and TodorovicClare W. Graves (2005). The Never Ending Quest, Christopher C. Cowan and Natasha Todorovic, eds. Santa Barbara, C A:ECLET Press.

The editors have taken scraps of material and the products of extensive search efforts to assemble the pieces of this approximation of Clare Graves’ “last work.” Graves was injured in an accident and because of additional complications failed to finish the book. Working with a table of contents, Graves’ hand written notes and other material in the Graves archives, they have pieced together a presentation of Graves’ work that is superb and, much of it, fascinating reading.

Since I have not had the benefit of training with the editors I cannot say how the book augments their work. However, I find it a perfect companion piece to the book, Spiral Dynamics, and to the teachings of Don Beck.

The book begins by addressing what human life is about, particularly based on academic research and professional publications in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. It is also a very elaborate presentation of the extensive research that Graves conducted over many years. Graves brings together diverse perspectives in a way that honors the contributions of all. While he ultimately may not find agreement between his own “emergent cyclical” model, he points out in later chapters the congruence and variance between his approach and those of others, ranging from Perry, Loevinger, Hunt, and many more.

The central part of the book, a must for serious students of developmental psychology and its relevance for leadership, focuses on descriptions of the various levels of development. There are also, throughout the book, presentations of Graves’ perspectives that are highly relevant to the study of human development and of the role of leadership in human systems. Here are just a couple:

Graves makes the case for the treatment of development and self-knowledge as an organic, messy process and concludes, “man can never know his total self and man can never fulfill his total potentialities.” [476] There are to clear upward boundaries in developmental potential. However, he cautions us to be careful about how we use the stage or level conception.

The level of existence conception of adult human behavior sees human life as a coherent developmental process of successive equilibrations, successive styles of living. But let us not be misled. A level is not, in reality, an attainable state. A level is a theoretical state of equilibrium. It is a state toward which a human who has certain dynamic systems open moves when in relatively stabilized conditions of existence. Levels are constructs. They are not realities…They are not to be viewed as forms of human behavior which actually exist.


This is an important observation that is relevant to all of leadership theory. Our constructs and models are tools, not to confused with reality. Traits analysis, style analysis, whether leadership is transactional or transformational, the functions and dysfunctions of charisma, etc. are also tools. Thus, it seems to me that Graves’ work serves to point out something that I have found true in working with both the theory of leadership, the development of leaders and leadership practices in human systems: The task in all cases is to find ways to help individuals make meaning and to discover what is effective in their situations. Sometimes this will mean relying on tried and true practices adapted from other settings, because those settings and the life conditions that created them are close enough to being the same that only minor adjustments will be required. Sometimes, we need to be very cautious about relying on tradition, or what we have learned from other contexts because those conditions have changed significantly. All of the time we need to have a framework that helps us make largely conscious choices about the actions we will take. To do less is raise the stakes, increase the gamble. And in this era of rapid change and context between so many levels of development in the world today, such risks are extremely costly.

There is so much rich material in this book, including things like the Ten Points from Dr. Graves’s Workshop Handouts” found in the Appendix. Here is a sample:

  1. That the human being, through but one biological organism, has developed to date, seven fixated, exciting, eight open nodal, and seven entering states plus mixed states…
  1. That the biopsychosocial development of the mature hiuman arises from the interaction of a double-helix complex of two sets of determining forces, the enviornmentosocial determinants…and the neuropsychological equipment of the organism…
  1. That increasing degrees of behavioral freedom, increasing degrees of choice merge with each successive level…
  1. That at this point in our history, the societally effective leading edge of humanity, in the technologically advanced nations, is currently finishing the initial statement of the sixth(FS) [green] state of existence…Thus, some humans have started to think about and some of them are well into thinking according the the ways of a second spiral of existence, the being [as compared with the doing] level systems. These humans have truly started to think of the interdependence of existence rather than in individualized independent existence…


What I have found about the work of Graves, Beck and Cowan is that they are all passionate about what they are doing. They want this work to make a difference in the world. Cowan and Todorovic have given a gift of passion that will no doubt contribute to making that difference.

A Request
If you are finding the Integral Leadership Review to be bringing useful, fresh perspectives to the subject of leadership, please think of the leaders in business and life that might be able to benefit from subscribing to this epublication. Please send them a copy or a link to the web site, www.integralleadershipreview.com so that they may explore it. In this time of intense internet communication, we all need to manage our time and read those things which are most relevant for our work, our thinking and our values. It is my hope that many people will find the evolvingIntegral Leadership Review does just that. Your help is deeply appreciated.
Got any? E-mail Russ Volckmann russ@integraleadershipreview.com.
Thanks for taking the time to consider this e-publication in a world of data overload. For leaders, collaborators, consultants, academics and coaches alike; I welcome you to some ideas and a dialogue that may benefit us all. I hope you will contact me soon with your idea, reference or article. Suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Russ Volckmann, PhD, Coaching Leaders in Business and Life
Email: russ@integraleadershipreview.com
Tel: 831.333-9200, FAX: 831.656-0110
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