Transdisciplinary Leaders, Leading and Leadership Towards Planetary, Developmental and Regenerative Communities, Cultures and Civilizations
Towards a Butterfly Civilization
The citizens of planet Earth have reached a choice point, whether they know it or not. Human activity and technology have fostered in a new epoch known as the Anthropocene. Humans, through their ingenuity and their ignorance, have become a literal force of nature. To name but a few of the planetwide changes homo-sapiens have wrought; we have altered the climate, changed sea levels and the flow of the oceans, drastically reduced the availability of arable soil, degraded breathable air, increased the intensity of volcanic activity, and earthquakes and hurricanes, not to mention the continuing mass extinction of the biodiversity of this blue dot.
Just in case anyone still has any doubts, humanity has been collectively handcuffed by our collective karma to a rollercoaster heading on a speeding course towards civilizational collapse. 2020 was just the first drop, followed by the loop de loop of January 6, 2021 in the USA, as five centuries of colonial shadow were brought glaringly into the light as the world held its collective breath and pondered the potentially imminent collapse of democracy. The problem is there are no breaks and no conductor, and the throttle is on full.
The above metaphor is not exaggeration or hyperbole. It is a sober assessment of the post-normal, complex, wicked, VUCA straight-jacket we need to collectively Houdini ourselves out of if we want to survive as a modern civilization. The upside is the necessary transformation, should we succeed, could see humanity become the healthy relative of the Gaian community, let alone the cosmos. Once one has embraced the reality of it, there are two polar responses that I experience as my own transformation unfolds. The one is to be in raw abject terror as absolute impossibility of the necessary shift hits me like a tsunami, and the other is the blindingly bright, soul inspiring beauty of the transformative potential of it all.
So now that the metaphorical stage has been set, I would like to present an academic framework to hang our coats and hats on. Finally, I will ask you to join me as we collectively write the script. Our intention for this issue is not to provide answers. It is to hold space for our scholarship and practice to serve as a fractal neuron of the connectome of an evolved humanity.
Integral Leadership Review is an academic journal which serves as a bridge between the scholarship and praxis of leadership. Integral means whole, referring to the transdisciplinary, meta-theoretical nature of ILR. Submissions will thus address the complex, interdependent relationship between the individual behavior and psyche of the individual, culture, exterior life conditions, biological and ecological systems, and the quantum connections that interconnect them all. Some examples of lenses applied in our publications are Nicolescuian Transdisciplinarity, Wilberian Integral Theory, Complexity Theory, Complex Thought, Critical Realism, Adult Development theories, and Indigenous Cosmologies.
Regarding leaders, leading, and integral leadership, we refer to the distinctions made by the late founder of ILR, Russ Volckmann (2014). A Leader is “a role in a system, that is, a set of expectations held by members of a society, community or organization about desired and appropriate behaviors and qualities of individuals who temporarily occupy the role” (259). Leading, then becomes the activities that accompany the role. Integral Leadership is the complex and generative interplay of these things, and “involves the role (leader), the behaviors, and worldviews— including beliefs, intentions, and the like—(leading) and the context (systems and culture), including changing times” (262). As Volckmann noted, these distinctions are important:
By continuing to use terms such as leader, leading, and leadership, as though they mean the same thing, we shall continue the confusion that has existed in not only the academic view of leading–leader–leadership, but in developing individuals to perform in leader roles and in developing human systems to support effective leading for sustainability, generativity, and thriving—a transdisciplinary imperative” (262).
With this redefinition of leadership, from the invocation of the heroic individual, however transformative, to having discernment between actors, roles, and relationships, comes the recognition that a leader need not even be a person. Organizations can perform a leadership role, as can ideas, or even words.
So we have leaders, leading and leadership towards planetary, developmental and regenerative communities, cultures, and civilizations. The “towards” refers to evolutionary impulse, the need to evolve or die, as well as harkening to the strange attractor of a conscious cosmos, beckoning us to become a more enlightened version of ourselves, before we venture much further from our garden home.
Planetary here asks us to consider our efforts, whether local, regional, national, or global in nature, as fractal nodes towards a greater, healthier, happier, whole, in alignment with, and guided by, the natural world as we reach for the stars.
Developmental means moving towards healthier, more whole manifestations of self and of organizations. It means waking up, growing up, cleaning up, and showing up on a personal level, and it also means instilling the fostering of people and place as a core value in all of our systems.
Regenerative, simply put, is adding value for thriving. Again, not just in one sector, or for one’s customers, but as a fundamental way of being. Human systems must treat all stakeholders, living or non-living, human, or not, as relatives to be cherished.
Communities can be local or global, in real life, or virtual; important here is the idea of a regenerative evolutionary learning community. The more regenerative communities emerge in all their forms, the closer we will move towards a culture of regeneration. And finally, should we succeed, a butterfly civilization shall reach for the stars.
Of course, that is the utopia on the other side of the aforementioned existential threats facing humanity. We have a limited time, but that is not the half of it. The global body, mind and spirit has been colonized by the dark hegemony of hierarchies of domination, in which the beautiful, the good, and the true are traded for power and profit. The powers that be are fighting for the wheel of the Titanic, while the sleeping masses are hypnotized by media and futures illiteracy, which heightens the adaptive challenge of waking up to the complex interdependence of it all.
So I call on you to shine your light in these dark times. We are accepting academic articles, Notes from the field, interviews, and book reviews thru May 31st. Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and see our submission guidelines for more information. I offer the following graphic synthesis of Nicolescuian transdisciplinarity, Integral Methodological Pluralism, Banathy’s three lenses, and Laloux’s three breakthroughs as a contemplation of the interconnected nature of it all.
Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you.
– Eric, Natasha and Jeremy
The Integral Leadership Review is the world’s premier publication of integrated approaches to leading and leadership. It is a bridging publication that links authors and readers across cultures around the world. It serves leaders, professionals and academics engaged in the practice, development and theory of leadership. It bridges multiple perspectives by drawing on integral, transdisciplinary, complexity and developmental frameworks. These bridges are intended to assist all who read the Integral Leadership Review to develop and implement comprehensive shifts in strategies by providing lessons from experience, insights, and tools all can use in addressing the challenges facing the world. http://integralleadershipreview.com/
If you, your faculty, and students would like more information please contact:
Eric Reynolds, PhD — Executive Editor
Integral Leadership Review: Vision and Mission
The Integral Leadership Review’s vision is to make a substantive difference in creating self-sustaining and generative people, systems and earth through an integrative, developmental and transdisciplinary approach to leadership by serving as an integrating force among leaders, developers, theorists, students, consultants and coaches in all domains and cultures.
The mission of the Integral Leadership Review is to provide a forum for virtually all those exploring leadership practice, development and theory by engaging in integrative approaches to support effective leadership in pursuit of life enhancing and sustainable organizations and social processes. In pursuit of this mission we seek to attract those engaging in leadership roles, executive/business coaches, consultants, leadership development specialists and theorists. It is our mission to provide them with timely information and ideas that will support such leadership.
The content, format and structure of the Integral Leadership Review are guided by the idea of this being a publication that best serves the long term development of transdisciplinary, multi-methodological, developmental and integral leadership practice, development and theory. Wherever possible, all show up in the same documents and issues of the Integral Leadership Review.
In pursuit of our mission we seek to assure that:
The Integral Leadership Review functions as an effective “bridging publication”. Our intention is to stimulate ideas and practice related to Integral Leadership while promoting the distribution of these and the learning gained from them as broadly as possible so that they can influence:
- The design, implementation and evaluation of leadership components of development projects in all sectors on all continents.
- The design, implementation and evaluation of Integral Leadership development programs in all sectors on all continents.
- The development of academic theory and research to elaborate, refine and test integral approaches to leadership in all sectors on all continents.
Access to the materials in the Integral Leadership Review shall remain free of charges and open to all who are interested and may be used by them to contribute to the development of the life enhancing generativity of the world and its populations. Funding of this publication will be provided by individuals and institutions that share a commitment to the widest dissemination of the ideas presented in the Integral Leadership Review as is feasible.