Leading Comments

Leading Comments / February 2003


I am grateful to the more than 560 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 epublication is to be a practical guide to the application of an integral perspective to the challenges of leadership in business and life and to the effective relationship between executive/business coaches and their clients. My vision includes that this will be a place where others, as well as myself, can continue to develop and share ideas about Integral Leadership and integral coaching.

> Russ Volckmann


I found this summary somewhere on the internet. The original is probably available from The Center for Strategic Leadership. I have included it here because I believe it is evidence that the integral perspective is beginning to penetrate the mainstream of leadership development. See if you think so, too.

Who Is a Strategic Leader?
Kate Beatty
Center for Creative Leadership

Without a doubt, CEOs, presidents and officers of an organization have strategic leadership responsibilities. But increasingly, people at multiple levels have a major role to play when it comes to sustaining an organization’s long-term competitive advantage.

The responsibility for the tasks of strategic leadership – determining strategic direction, exploiting and maintaining core competencies, sustaining an effective organizational culture, etc. – certainly lies with the people at the top. If an organization fails, it is these individuals who are ultimately accountable. But it would be a disservice to think that these are the only individuals who can – and should – be strategic leaders.

“We find more and more leaders below the CEO and senior management team level taking on responsibilities in the strategic leadership of their organization,” says Kate Beatty, CCL faculty member. “These individuals are often closest to the customer and have the best understanding of the external industry dynamics. They also know how things’really’ work within the organization.”

Individuals whose decisions have impact beyond their own functional areas have many opportunities to act as strategic leaders. For example, a purchasing manager can anticipate the impact on engineering and manufacturing of switching a supplier. Or a human resource director can develop systems to encourage cooperation across business units. Even those who are on the front line, interacting with the customer, are in a unique position to scan the environment and make sense of that information.

In addition, strategic leadership is not just for individuals: it is inherently a collaborative, team activity where people work together to make meaning out of complex information, act with strategic purpose, and champion strategic change. No one person has enough information or a broad enough perspective to shoulder the full responsibility for strategic leadership in an organization.

“The term ‘strategic leadership team’ refers to a team whose work has strategic implications for a particular business unit, product line, service area, functional area, division or company,” explains Beatty. “These teams have strategic leadership responsibilities beyond those individual because they represent the confluence of information.”

Organizational-level variables such as structure, culture, systems and processes also the ability of individuals and teams to enact strategic leadership. Do information systems get information to teams and individuals who need it so that they can think strategically? Do compensation and reward systems encourage appropriate levels of risk-taking individuals and teams? Is the culture one of fighting and/or “turf” wars? Or do people cross barriers to share information, help each other and work toward shared goals?

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.
Dedicated to Chris Newham with deep appreciation.
Got any? E-mail Russ Volckmann russ@integraleadershipreview.com.
This material is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Financial, Legal and Professional information is not Financial, Legal and Professional advice. You should see a Financial, Legal or Professional in the area in which you live if you need advice.
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Thank you.
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