Integral leadership Review: Leading Comments

This article is taken from the January Issue of the Integral leadership Review. Guest editor was Ron Cacioppe

This is a special issue of Integral Leadership Review that focuses on Integral Leadership in Australia. It includes a leadership quotation, an interview, two reviews of materials published by authors in Australia, and several important articles contributing to the discussion of integral leadership. All of these materials relate directly to Australia and, I believe, make a significant contribution to leaders and leadership throughout the world.

Wendelin Küpers introduces integral leadership in Austalasia as enjoying the freedom of marginality and the potentiality for having an impact. He describes both the cultural openings and constraints on that development.

This issue contains the first discussion of a Global Integral Leadership study that we are undertaking at the Integral Institute Australasia. Jay Davies spent three months visiting England and the United States interviewing eight leaders who were identified as having characteristics of ‘Integral’ leaders. Russ Volckmann’s interview with Jay brings out some of the extraordinary characteristics of leaders that have this ‘Integral’ factor. Inspiring social, environmental and spiritual vision, doing well by doing good, being in the moment fully, dropping self talk and negative thinking and connecting with something higher are some of the characteristics that define Integral leadership and come through Jay’s summary. The first time I saw Jay after she returned from her international trip, her first words were; ‘There are real Integral leaders out there!”. Her interview gives some idea of what these Integral leaders are like in living color!

Roger Stace explores the ongoing puzzle of how humans could have evolved the traits that integral leaders exhibit and proposes a new theory for why these beautiful and inspiring aspects of human nature are adaptive. Roger’s article provides evidence that higher levels of integral leadership behaviour are not just a nice ‘social good’ but have a legitimate and powerful role to play in organizations becoming sustainable.

Tom Morris explores integral leadership in the workplace using the AQAL framework and considers 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives. Tom is like an integral Sherlock Holmes trying to improve the workplace and find integral answers to complicated questions. Steve McDonald also takes us on his personal journey in working with clients to apply the integral perspective to managing change. Many of us who have worked in organizational change feel that most change programs don’t get to the underlying blockages that limit leaders and organizations from becoming full contributors to the world. Steve not only shows his bravery by ‘coming out of the integral closet’ as a consultant but also that using an integral framework can lead to long term sustainability for organizations, and pay your light bills!

Mark Edwards uses three lenses to look at leadership: developmental (stages of development), ecological (leader-follower relations), governance (power), and argues that these are additional important dimensions to the understanding and practice of leadership. David McDermott and I bring an integral model of four quadrants and six levels to the important subject of environmental sustainability and include examples of organizations such as InterfaceFlor, Bendigo Bank and Google that are demonstrating a commitment to zero environmental harm.

Integral leadership and leadership development go hand in glove, so Laura Santana’s review of the book An Integrative Approach to Leader Development by David V. Day (Western Australia University), Michelle M. Harrison and Stanley M. Halpin provides a preliminary look at this important topic for anyone involved in leadership development and developing effective leaders. They make an important distinction between the two. Leader development is about developing individuals, while leadership development is about developing individuals and the collective culture and system of leading.

At a time when the world is experiencing a mixture of great hope in Barrack Obama and “Obama-mania,” Russ Volckmann’s review of some challenges faced by Obama’s leadership approach through the lens of Don Dunoon’s In the Leadership Mode is most appropriate and should be of interest to many leaders. He links the work of Sara Nora Ross from a new issue of World Futures in discussing hierarchical complexity and how it provides some clarity about what Obama may need to consider in working with his team.

In addition to an update on the health of Bill Bates, The leadership Cartoon by Mark Hughes provides humorous insights on how the American culture is seen by Australians and how Americans see Australia. The cartoon provides extraordinary insight and truth about our national psyches that leaders from both cultures can learn from.

Keith Bellamy continues to delight with his explorations of the relationships among Aussies, Brits and Yanks. Alan Tonkin gives us an update on the study of global values in different countries and includes data on India and Australia. Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics value memes relate closely to the integral stages of development and this summary gives us some idea where India and Australia are sitting on the Integral spectrum of development.

Notes from Field ranges from France to India and provides windows on how integral is being approached in various parts of the world in conferences and other activities. Finally, take a look at Leadership Emerging and CODA there are brief reviews of a variety of publications that inform our explorations of integral leadership.

The interest in Integral leadership theory and practice in Australia and New Zealand has gown considerably with a significant number of consultants, leadership programs, academic articles, leadership, team and organizational surveys using the integral framework. An Integral Leadership Conference is being held in Melbourne this year which will provide a significant boost to integral theory and practice in Australia.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the authors in bringing this material to you. I am firmly convinced that Integral Leadership is the next generation of leadership study and practice. I hope you agree that this issue takes a further step in that direction.

If any reader would like to contact me my email is: .

Fresh Perspectives: Exploring the World of Integral Leadership

This article is taken from the January Issue of the Integral leadership Review. A Conversation with Jay Davies and Russ Volckmann

Russ: Jay Davies, you’re with Integral Development in Perth, Western Australia and the company is led by Ron Cacioppe and works in government, business and NGOs.

Jay: Yes, that’s right. Not for profit organizations, as well as top end businesses here in Perth, and also government organizations.

Russ: What is your role?

Jay: My role is in three parts. The most important is as the coordinator and research assistant for the Global Integral Leadership Study. The second part is facilitating teamwork with groups or dysfunctional teams to assist them get to a higher level of team development. The third part is executive coaching this involves doing 1-on-1 coaching with clients and providing them feedback on an Integral 360º profile.

Russ: I understand that as a coach you have a unique background in sports.

Jay: Yes, that’s right. My life before integral development was as an elite swimming coach. That was a career that spanned over 15 years. It started when I was doing a Master’s in Biomechanics. That led me into coaching elite athletes, elite swimmer’s specifically. I started in Western Australia and then moved to the Northern Territory Institute of Sport, which is a very remote area of Australia. I set up the swimming program there which involved a lot of travel also working with aboriginal children. This was such a luxury, because they had quite a different approach to learning new skills. It was extraordinary to watch and be part of. From the Northern Territory I moved to the New South Wales Institute of Sport and was the manager for swimming there. I came back to Western Australia and was the Program Manager for swimming at the Institute. I also was involved in performance analysis so I got to really use my biomechanics there and work with some exceptional elite athletes and coaches in helping them along the path to breaking a world record. That was very exciting.

Russ: You use the term “elite athletes.” Does that refer to Olympic competitors?

Jay: Yes their aim was to make the Olympic team. In 2004 from Western Australia we managed to get eight athletes on the Olympic team. This allowed me to go to the Olympics in Athens and watch their progress. It was an extraordinary opportunity.

Russ: You use the term “biomedical engineering,” is that right?

Jay: No, “biomechanics.”

Russ: Biomechanics, okay. That may be a term as unfamiliar to others as it is to me. Could you tell us a little of what that means?

Jay: Biomechanics is looking at the very fine detail of technical corrections. For instance, I was working with Jim Piper, who went on to break a commonwealth record. I was not his head coach; I’d come in as a specialist I helped refine his stroke in small technical changes. That might mean his approach to the wall, how he would actually turn off the wall, or to get a smoother stroke. The right technical change had to be made that would get the right improvement to help make the stroke the most efficient it could be. Given that gold medals are won and lost by one one-hundredth of a second, it was pretty exciting to make positive change to the stroke. That’s where I came in—to assist the head coach on what changes to make that I could see through my evaluation and knowledge of the technique.

Russ: Does that suggest then that you are particularly sensitive to kinesthetic dynamics even when you are coaching in the world of business and organizations?

Jay: Absolutely! Details are very important to me, but also looking at the bigger picture. So it includes taking in the whole, all the information you can see at the time, and then trying to identify the most critical aspect that needs to change. It includes making sure you change the right thing first. This is very important both in the technical aspect of a swimmer’s technique and in business. Making change for the sake of change doesn’t create improvement in the long term necessarily. I haven’t thought about it like that before but I definitely apply the same principals in business.

Russ: I’m aware that Integral Development has an Integral Leadership and Management model, a four cell model drawn from Wilber’s approach:

What is involved in each of the four quadrants in the model?

Jay: The four quadrants are divided into people leadership, top left, which is looking at the heart and wellbeing of the people. Then the bottom left, is the visionary innovative leadership that is concerned with the spirit and culture of the organization. Then the top right, is the performance management- the hands or how efficiency the organization is and this is often measured in terms of tasks, timelines and responsibilities. And then the bottom right quadrant is the strategic goal management-the head or how effective the organization is in terms of its strategic planning. Then at the very center is the core, this is the authentic self, the individual getting in touch with who they truly are and their role in the world and what it is they are here to do.

The second segment of our Integral Leadership Model includes the levels of development of the sense of self of leaders, similar to Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics.

Russ: Would you give an example of an approach, a methodology, of how you go about working with clients the upper left quadrant? The heart.

Jay: A good example is when a client does a 360º coaching session incorporating emotional intelligence. We are really working with the heart and emotions of the individual in terms of their relationships. This particular 360 allows the coach to see the strengths and weaknesses of the client in terms of the five aspects of emotional intelligence, which includes how they relate to other people in the organization, as well as reflecting on how they manage their own emotions in their working relationships.

Russ: The assessment is an intervention in itself. If you find that there’s someone who is wanting to attend to something in the people leadership area of the model, would you do that primarily through coaching or is there something else that you would do?

Jay: There are three primary ways I have addressed the people leadership quadrant and that is through 360 coaching, using the Integral Team Effectiveness Measure (ITEM) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The ITEM measures the team in terms of the four quadrants and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator improves the individual relationships through understanding individual personality types. So when the people leadership quadrant scores the lowest on average, you address the issues as to why this is occurring as a team and facilitate actions that can affect immediate change. Invariably though it is impossible to omit the authentic self and the role the ego plays in the relationships we have with others.

Russ: So it’s coaching that leads then to working with them on the relationships they have with others. That applies on the heart side. What about on the right hand side – the performance management side? How would you work with that?

Jay: We look specifically at performance management in terms of performance reviews. We coach leaders on how to better deal with good and poor performance. Also how to manage conflict, deal with difficult conversations specifically in performance management reviews. This quadrant is also about monitoring the progress of individuals, other processes like staff meetings, utilizing resources efficiently, managing supplier’s costs and efficiencies through quality management and standards. It’s about up-skilling leaders to be better at tasks and time management, with the long term aim of having a more efficient the organization.

Russ: What about at the level of spirit—“visionary innovative leadership?” What is the nature of the intervention there?

Jay: Creating personal and organizational visions gets bantered around a lot in leadership literature but it’s about being really authentic – again, it taps into the authentic self of how you make your vision real. And how do you make it tangible, and how do you create that spirit within the organization. So it’s challenging organizations to not just have their visions written in documents and stored in a file, it’s actually making them long-lasting, and making them an inspiration at the core of the organization.

Russ: How would that differ? Work on spirit and vision, innovative leadership? How would that differ from strategic goal management—the head part of the model?

Jay: Strategic goal management is far more tangible and specific. For instance, you look at the strategic objectives and business priorities. It involves implementing systems that can make business more effective and the areas you’re going to focus on, and what’s really going to affect your bottom line. The vision and the spirit has to match very closely with your strategic goal management. The bottom left is the unwritten ground rules of the organization. It’s the culture, it’s far more intangible. But it’s something that you can definitely sense when you go into any business. So it’s making people really aware of that, and challenging them on what their unwritten ground rules are? What are the things that are said in the corridors? What are the things that are said after meetings? Your bottom right quadrant will be the things that are written down in documents that you are accountable to, but the bottom left is the essence of your organization, the driving force that you don’t always see but you know exists.

Russ: It’s interesting that the two left hand quadrants use the term “leadership” and the two right hand quadrants use the term “management.” I would assume that’s quite intentional.

Jay: Yes, absolutely! The left hand side of the model focuses on the relationships and the two types of leadership required at the individual level and the organizational level. The right hand side of the model focuses on managing the results and this is more about the systems and tasks required at the individual and organizational level. Both sides of the model need to be address to achieve a balanced score card. This is in line with the research by John Kotter and Robert Quinn, Kotter on Leadership Management and Quinn on competing values. Ron Cacioppe integrated these as he saw how well they fit into the Integral framework.

Russ: As part of your role, you have already mentioned that you have undertaken some travels that have involved you in interviewing people in management leadership roles both in Australia, the UK and the United States. I’ve provided the list, you’ve interviewed eight people, and your intention is to interview more. But I’d like to hear about what was your intention in going to these three different parts of the world and talking to people about leadership.

Ray Anderson, Chairperson, InterfaceFLOR Carpets, Atlanta, Georgia
Tim Munden, Vice president for Human Resources, Unilever Americas, Chicago
Dennis Littky, Co-Director, Founder, The Big Picture Company, Providence, Rhode Island
Jim Ostijich, Deputy Director General, Industry Development, Department of Industry & Resources, Perth, Western Australia
Pamela Hartigan, Co-Founder and MD, Volans Ventures and Schwab Foundation, London
Tim Boddy, Executive Director, Global Investment Research, Global Investment Bank, London
Bill Fox, Headmaster, Philosophy Day School, New York City
Robb Smith, CEO Integral Institute, Boulder, Colorado

Jay: The intention is to take integral theory and the best of leadership and management advice that’s out there or in the literature and bring the two together, along with Eastern and Western philosophy, and come up with a term called integral leadership. Defining that is our biggest challenge at the moment. We think it can be defined in the four quadrants. The key purpose of this study is to say that integral leadership is the way of leading for the 21st century. It’s a stepping stone from Good to Great, that fantastic book by Jim Collins that talks about exceptional level 5 leaders. We’re suggesting there’s more to leadership than being a level 5 leader, and that is being an integral leader.

Russ: You interviewed these eight people. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the kinds of things you were asking them and what you were finding. One of the first areas had to do with vision and challenges, both personal and organizational. What was the purpose behind asking about that?

Jay: We tried to have our interview questions evenly balanced throughout the four quadrants. We looked at visionary, their company vision, but we were also particularly interested in how their personal vision complemented their work vision. We seemed to find there was always a close correlation between the two. Their personal vision and what they aspired to do or their life path, was very similar to what they were doing in their organizations. That was a key finding: they held a vision in themselves in how they go about their work and what they did. They actually breathe the vision into everything they do in their daily work, in their home and in their community. Vision represented a life path more than just a job that they did.

Russ: Can you give an example of that?

Jay: A good example would be Ray Anderson at InterfaceFlor, one of the biggest carpet companies in the world. His vision by 2020 is to have a completely sustainable organization and reach “mission zero”—where the company has no negative footprint on the earth. Given the fact that tons of carpet ends up in landfill every year—to be specific it’s about 2.3 million tons ends up as waste. So the essence is to recycle the carpet but produce no waste in the process. To do that, they are converting their plants to run using renewable resources, they’re in the process of taking one of their plants off the grid completely. This has never been done before in manufacturing industry. Ray describes his vision as leading the next industrial revolution in terms of the way we see the world, in the way that we create and make things and the way we consume. With this vision, he went about his business on a day-to-day basis getting people to come on the path with him. Everyone, when he started out 14 years ago, thought he was slightly crazy. Some people left InterfaceFLOR. But now they are a leading company in terms of being sustainable and profitable through this vision—a 25-year vision.

Russ: I understand that there’s a woman who was walking across the floor of the plant at one point, and had quite an unusual experience there. Is that right?

Jay: Yes, that’s correct. This is a story that Ray told me. Companies conducted workshops at InterfaceFLOR. One of the women in a particular workshop was quite skeptical of the whole concept of sustainability and Mission Zero. During the morning tea break she went across to the bathroom and had walk across the factory floor. As she was coming back she engaged a fork lift driver and out of curiosity she had stopped and asked, “What do you do here?” And he said, “Oh, ma’am, I’m saving the world.” And she said, “Oh, right, could you explain that a little further for me?” And he said, “I would love to talk to you, but while I’m talking to you I’m actually wasting energy and increasing our impact on the environment. So I need to get this roll of carpet over to that machine so that I can keep the process going, because our process is very important and so is minimizing our waste. I have to go, I’m sorry.” And off he went. She was completely dumbfounded. It was a life changing moment for her. She went back into the workshop a new person, because she realized that there on the factory floor, these people were living the vision. They lived it and breathed it because they could see how their role impacted the vision. Ray called it “Love on the factory floor”.

Russ: That’s an amazing story about the degree to which that vision seems to have penetrated into the organization. Another area that you alluded to earlier had to do with difficult situations and difficult people. Does this go in the upper left quadrant?

Jay: What we were looking for there was how these leaders dealt with difficult situations and difficult people. It also touches into authentic self. It is about how they really understand their own behavior in the conversations that they have? An amazing answer came from Tim Munden. He is the Vice President of HR for Unilever Americas. When we asked him these questions, his comment was quite profound. He asks, “From what point of view does this look right?” He uses that as his mindset when he’s in difficult situations, or difficult conversations with people. The long and short of that is when he’s in a tough situation, he always tries to think, “From what point of view would this look right for this person for them to make this decision?”

He made a comment about the terrorists of the world, “Look, we’ve got to understand where they’re coming from. We should spend time with those people that annoy and frustrate us the most, because it is only then that we’ll learn the most about who we are and what annoys us. Therefore, we will be more tolerant of what goes on in the world. It doesn’t mean that we condone what people do, like a terrorist, but it does suggest that we understand where it is they are coming from. From what point of view does this look right to them for them to make this decision or to be behaving in this way?” That was really quite an amazing moment to hear his explanation. It really changes your mindset on how you see difficult people in the workplace.

Russ: I would imagine in organizational context this relates closely to the idea of empathy and emotional intelligence. Is that right?

Jay: Yes, it does. Emotional intelligence is definitely a part of that. It’s the ability or the awareness to take your thoughts out of yourself and to really understand other people.

Russ: A kind of social awareness. A third area of your explorations had to do with leadership and leadership development. What was is it that you had in mind in that arena?

Jay: It was looking at how these leaders took the time out to develop other people around them. It was a test to see where the ego was sitting. If they are very attached to their role and their ego, then they are not going to be planning for people to come up through the organization.

It was very lovely to see these leaders were really about serving. That came up a lot. They were there to serve others. While they might have been in a leadership role, they just went out of their way to make sure that they gave others an opportunity to grow and to achieve their highest level in the organization. This was done through a lot of one-on-one informal coaching. It was just a part of their day—“How do I get the best out of this person?”

When I asked Pamela Hartigan, she said, “Well, it’s about getting the best out of every person I come in contact with every part of my day.” That was definitely a theme. The humility that came out that constantly throughout the interview was quite remarkable.

Russ: Then there’s also the piece about “present moment and self awareness.” This is closely related to the whole consciousness arena of integral. And I’m wondering what you were exploring there?

Jay: Well, it taps into the deeper aspects of connectedness of the Integral Model. An example that we had here was when we interviewed Tim Boddy from Global Investment banking company. He had just experienced “Meltdown Monday.” when we interviewed him at 5:30 p.m. He came in and his first comment at the beginning of the interview was “Do you realize what happened today?”

We said, “No, we have no idea. We’ve been in transit, and arrived at 5:00 A.M. We’ve been sleeping and now we’re here.”

He said, “Well, what happened today will change the way people view money and credit across the world. Our major competitor, Lehman Brothers, has just declared bankruptcy. Approximately 500,000 jobs are expected to be lost across the UK. The Bank of England is saying, they’ll have to invest 20 billion ponds to keep things afloat. It’s been claimed to be one of the worst days in history—the worst financial days in history since the Great Depression.” And he said, “Oh, by the way, do you mind if I keep my mobile phone on? My wife is expecting our third child today.”

That’s how he started the interview. And so then to sit with this person who sat on the trading floor and had seen millions and millions of pounds disappear, to be so calm and so in the moment with us, so present—we almost didn’t need to ask the question about being in the present moment, because his example, was exactly that. That was, again, something that we found across the interviews: these people were present and they worked very hard and continuously in being in the present moment.

Russ: I would imagine your background in Biomechanics would give you some insights into what you were seeing.

Jay: Yes! I think being present is critical. It’s probably more my training with elite athletes. One thing that was quite a mind-shift work for me as an elite swimming coach was that we often would train athletes to be positive with positive self-talk, going through their race plans and mentally training for the event. We would go even to the point of having them do hypnosis where they’d visualize their event and see the time that they would achieve at the end. A lot of time was spent keeping their mind busy about what they were doing.

When we asked Tim Munden about his present mind and self-talk, his comment was that was all self-talk is negative. I sort of sat in this interview and thought, “Wow, that shifts the way I think!” When I think about that, that positive self-talk sets us up for failure, I realize that I need to be still and see what arises in the moment. That was a very interesting time for me, to get my head around that, given my training with elite athletes.

Russ: That’s actually quite surprising to me as well. I’ve done a fair amount of work with clients about visualizing and the like, it always seemed to me like it was a really useful exercise, not because it was going to train them to accomplish a certain thing, but that it’s going to give them a mindset when they are in the moment to be looking for the opportunities to realize what’s important to them.

Well, then another area had to do with actions regarding the natural environment and in a sense you’ve referred to that already with the carpet company. Is there something beyond that that you want to comment on here?

Jay: Yes. I think what part of integral leadership is that there is a global view. There’s a concern for the impact a business has on the environment and how these leaders awareness of that transcends through their organization. InterfaceFlor is an amazing example of being so conscious and so aware.

One of the key things that we found is that it was an equalizer across the organization, in that it dissipated the hierarchy. When you’ve got a global company and are dealing with a lot of different cultures, it keeps everyone completely grounded, because it is every person’s responsibility in their daily actions, in their home life, with the friends they interacted with, to keep influencing and keep giving the same messages and maintain people’s awareness of what they were doing. One woman showed us around at Interface. She told us that she had said to her 4-year-old son that morning, “Darling, I’m going to be home late tonight.” He turned to his mom and said, “That’s all right Mommy. You’re saving the world. I’ll see you when you get home.”

It is just that true belief that what they are doing is significant, that they are trying to set an example to the rest of the world, that there is an alternative way for business, and there is a way to do business in the future that is environmentally friendly, that does reduce the impact, that does look for alternatives and that reduces the greed and the demand for materialism that we have.

Russ: Was this a criteria by which you selected the people you interviewed? That they be in companies that were already actively engaged with attending to the natural environment?

Jay: No. It wasn’t part of the criteria, but it was something that we believed to be important for an integral leader in that you need to have an awareness and you need to be making positive change in that area.

Russ:ou found this consistently across all the interviews?

Jay: I wouldn’t say to the same degree. The awareness was definitely there. There were those that we interviewed at Interface who were clearly at the higher end of this in terms of the score. So we would ask on a scale of 1 to 10 what is your company’s impact on the natural environment? On a scale of 1 to 10 what do you actually do about it in your workplace? And then, on a personal level, what do you do on a day-to-day basis that shows your concern for the environment in the way you conduct yourself? There were definitely variations in that.

Russ: Another area has to do with spirit, I suppose—the experience of something greater. How did you approach that?

Jay: Well, the specific question I asked was, “What is your understanding of or your experience of something “greater?” Would you like to give examples of where you felt there was something more than just the ‘self?” This question was a bit of a surprise in that we don’t normally go into this area in terms of our leadership. But there was a general theme across all the leaders in that there was a belief that there is something greater out there and that they are part of it. They are an integral part of it. What they are doing is important to the bigger picture of why we’re here.

Russ: And what kinds of things did you discover?

Jay: That there was a certainty that there was something greater. Their humility was definitely part of this feeling of something greater, and a feeling of this spiritual world, or inter-connectedness. They came about it in different ways for different individuals. Whether it was Tim Boddy, who experienced these moments of inter-connectedness on the training floor or walking in nature; or for Pamela Hartigan, who spent time in her garden where she would completely lose herself and lose sense of time, where she was so present that it was dissolved into something bigger; or Ray Anderson by just being completely in the moment and being touched by a certain feeling; or Tim Munden who explained how he’d get to places, at times with complete guidance. Tim ended up in Chicago, for instance, and working with Unilever and Lucca leadership. A serendipity occurred about how he got to where he is today. Dennis Littky talked about walking in New York at night and having the realization that he is a part of something greater. The humility in that was quite profound.

Russ: The final area then that you’ve indicated that you’ve had questions around, was leadership in the future. What is that about?

Jay: It involves looking at how these people perceive the future of leadership and what it is that they are most concerned about. Some of the key things that they felt is needed was that these people needed to manage difficult people in difficult situations and they needed to be completely authentic. In their daily business, it was about “doing well by doing good.”

They needed to manage their self-talk and be in the moment. They needed to have an inspiring vision that people would be attracted to. There were these sort of things that came out. Each of the leaders that we spoke to had characteristics or different aspects of these. And also that if we’re going to have a good future, then we need to really get in touch with what’s in our heart and to follow what’s our true calling. It appeared that these leaders were all following their natural calling, they are here for a purpose and they are part of something greater. To be a truly integral leader you need to make sure that’s what you’re following. That you’re true to yourself to your authentic self.

Russ: I really like the statement, “Everyone is an integral leader during moments when inspired, and when inspiring others to do well and do good.” That really captures the snapshot of leading. That it’s a dynamic process in a system, where different people move in and out of leader roles. And that no one is a leader 24-7.

Jay: There’s hope for all of us! (Laughter) We can all be leaders. It’s definitely not a black and white thing. Integral leadership is fluid. And yes, you move in and out of it. Some days you do great and other days you don’t, but you always have that opportunity to try again. You do your best that day to serve others and to make sure that what you’re doing is really right.

Russ: So where do you go from here? You’ve talked with eight people from three different countries. What’s next?

Jay: This is just the tip of the iceberg for us. This was just a pilot study. We need to go back and reassess our methodology and selection criteria and find more integral leaders. A general theme is that they’re very humble in the way they go about their business. They’re not the charismatic type with their names up in lights. So finding them is hard work. We hope now to interview Australians, so we’re looking at conducting 10 interviews here in the next 6 months. The second half of next year we will go back overseas. We need to visit Asia and Europe and find leaders in these cultures. We have a long-term view of writing a book and producing a DVD of our findings of the interviews.

We would like to invite people to contact us if they know of leaders in their organizations that they feel have Integral characteristics. They are really in the present moment, have an inspiring vision, are authentic and have a global world view in their business. Please let us know, because it’s not restricted to anyone. We’re looking for not-for-profit government and also corporate leaders.

Russ: I think it’s great. I hope that the readers of Integral Leadership Review are responsive. Can we include the contact information for you?

Jay: Yes that would be great. [See below-RV]

Russ: There’s a quote that I’ve seen in your materials that goes like this: “World class leaders are 10 times more likely to experience ‘a perfectly peaceful state’ in which the mind is awake, but still, an awareness beyond the boundaries of thought.” What is that about?

Jay: That’s the essence of being an integral leader—that you’re truly in the moment and truly present. You’re responding to the need.

Russ: With an awareness beyond the boundaries of thought you are in tune with a lot more than just what’s going on in your mind?

Jay: There’s an interconnectedness. It’s saying there is something greater than the self and you are totally connected with That. If you are in the moment, you will respond accordingly.

Russ: I want you to know how much I deeply appreciate your sharing such, I think, very valuable information with the readers of Integral Leadership Review.

Jay: Thank you very much for the opportunity. It has been a pleasure.


Jay Davies, Integral Development’s consultant specialising in facilitation and team development, holds both bachelors and masters degrees in science and a postgraduate diploma in human resource management and industrial relations, is an accredited Integral 360° Leadership Coach, and has fifteen years experience in coaching and managing teams in the areas of leadership and facilitation, strategic planning, negotiation and dispute resolution. Additionally, Jay is an accredited administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Having successfully coached and managed Australian Olympic swimmers, Jay brings to her work a strong emphasis on high performance and strategies for success. During her time with Integral Development Jay has facilitated workshops with the Department of Corrective Services, the Bethanie Group, Clayton Utz, the Department of Health and the Western Australian Institute of Sport.

Currently, Jay is facilitating and conducting, in cooperation with Dr. Ron Cacioppe, a research study. The aim of the research is to demonstrate a more satisfying, meaningful, fulfilling and authentic way to lead, and the project is being conducted on behalf of the not-for-profit organisation Integral Institute Australasia, in cooperation with the University of Western Australia Business School.

If you would like further information on this project, email Jay Davies

Onwards and Upwards for 2009

After a productive 2008 I would like to thank the people for whom Integral Development has had the good fortune to facilitate courses, workshops and coaching for and with.

After an end of year retreat at Rottnest the team at Integral Development have returned, rejuvenated, inspiried and even more committed to providing exemplary consultancy services to leaders, managers, employees and the community in a holistic way for the benefit of all; enriching all aspects – people, the environment, shareholders and the wider community.

Our vision for the coming years is to be Australasia’s leading boutique consultancy: providing excellent leadership and organisation development services that inspire the next leadership and business revolution. A revolution based on the development of commercially successful organisations with cultures that enhance staff wellbeing. provide excellent innovative services and products to their customers, are ethical, and enrich society and the natural environment in all that they do.

Through our ongoing “Global Integral Leadership Study”, we have had the good fortune to interview such inspiring leaders as Ray Anderson founder and chairman of Interface Inc, Time Magazine’s ‘Hero of the Environment’ in 2007 and feel confident that despite the current economic woes the groundswell of successful, green, ethical and inspiring businesses is growing.

We look forward to facilitating your success in the year ahead and wish you health and wellbeing for the year to come.

Dr Ron Cacioppe
Managing Director
Integral Development
p. +61 (8) 9242 8122

Obama and spirituality

On a Saturday afternoon in March 2004, Cathleen Falsani, religion reporter (now religion columnist) for the Chicago Sun-Times, interviewed the then State Senator Barack Obama just a few days after he had been nominated to run for election as United States Senator for Illinois; long before the rest of the world came to know him as the elected 44th President of the United States of America.

The specific subject for discussion was Obama’s spirituality and the following is a condensed version of the transcript from that interview:

“I am Christian…[but] I was born in Hawaii where … there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and ten. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labelled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.

“…I believe that there are many paths to the same place … that there is a higher power… that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend ‘race’ or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.

“… part of my project in life was probably to spend the first forty years of my life figuring out what I did believe – I’m 42 now – and it’s not that I had it all completely worked out, but I’m spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.

“…my mother… had as much influence on my values as anybody, [but] was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve… we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who… wasn’t a practising Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you’d hear the prayer call.

“So I don’t think as a child… I had a structured religious education. But my mother was a deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world’s religions, and talk to me about them. And I think her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.

“And… that… was what I carried with me through college. I probably didn’t get … active in church activities until I moved to Chicago…in 1985… I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement and the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. There was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organisation to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. [They] didn’t have much money, but felt that if they formed an organisation and hired somebody to organise them to work on issues that affected their community, that it would strengthen the church and… the community.

“So they hired me for $13,000 a year. The princely sum. …I didn’t know anybody and started working with the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or after-school programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated … in [under-served] far South Side working class and lower income communities.

“And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened because I’d be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers, and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.

“I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and it’s importance in the community. And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and… courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply. So I… committed myself to Christ… it not only confirmed… [and] gave shape to my faith, but also allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.”

”…although I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up, a suspicion of dogma. …I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

“I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding…

“…I have an ongoing conversation with God… throughout the day I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it.

“One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesise viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren’t right or don’t serve your constituents.

“And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I’m having internally. I’m measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I’m on track and where I think I’m off track.

“…I always think of politics as having two sides… vanity… and substantive. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it’s easy to get swept up in the vanity…the desire to be liked and recognised and important…throughout the day [I] measure and take stock … am I doing this because I think it’s advantageous to me politically, or because I think it’s the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it’s necessary to accomplish my motives?

“… the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I’m talking to a group and I’m saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I’m just being glib or clever.

“I think it’s the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.

“That’s something you learn watching ministers… what they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they’re preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualise it but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it’s powerful.

“There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way. Where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.

“Jesus is an historical figure for me, and also a bridge between God and man in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.

“And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history… I think some of the things I talked about earlier are channelled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“I used to take the time [for meditation and prayer] in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign [for the US Senate] I don’t. And I probably need to and would like to, but that’s where that internal monologue, or dialogue, supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days.

“It’s much more sort of as I’m going through the day… and take a moment here and a moment there to take stock, why am I here, how does this connect with a larger sense of purpose?

“…Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I’m a law professor [of constitutional law] at the University of Chicago. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country… in my own public policy, I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.

“Now, that’s different from a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

“… my politics are informed by a belief that we’re all connected. That if there’s a child on the South Side of Chicago that can’t read, that makes a difference in my life even if it’s not my own child. If there’s a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that’s struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it’s not my grandparent. And if there’s an Arab American family that’s being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process – that threatens my civil liberties.

“I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive.

“I don’t’ think it’s wrong [for people to want to know about a civic leader’s spirituality]. I think that political leaders are subject to all sorts of vetting by the public, and this can be a component of that.

“… I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalise or justify their actions by claiming God’s mandate.

“I think there is this tendency that I don’t think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them… I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelise and proselytise. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal saviour that they're going to hell.

“I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup.

“Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.
“Obviously as an African American politician rooted in the African American community, I spend a lot of time in the black church. I have no qualms [about] participating fully in those services and celebrating my God in that wonderful community.

“But… rarely in those settings do people come up to me and say, what are your beliefs… Although they may presume [that I subscribe to] a set of doctrines that I don’t necessarily subscribe to.

“But I don’t think that’s unique to me. I think that each of us when we walk into our church or mosque or synagogue are interpreting that experience in different ways, are reading scriptures in different ways and are arriving at our own understanding at different ways and in different phases.

“If all it took was someone proclaiming I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins, and that was all there was to it, people wouldn’t have to keep coming to church, would they.

“… I believe … that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.

“When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

“…[sin is] being out of alignment with my values… [if I have sin in my life] I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith… that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.

“[For spiritual inspiration] nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it’s pretty hard not to be moved and be transported.

“… in my … mental library, the Civil Rights movement has a powerful hold on me. It’s a point in time where I think heaven and earth meet. Because it’s a moment in which a collective faith transforms everything. So when I read Gandhi or … King or … certain passages of Abraham Lincoln and I think about those times where people’s values are tested, I think those inspire me.

”[I feel most centred] when I’m being true to myself. And that can happen in me making a speech or … playing with my kids, or … in a small interaction with a security guard in a building when I’m recognising them and exchanging a good word.

“…I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma. He seemed to always maintain an air of doubt about him… [and] … Dr King and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metastasise into something that is hurtful.

“…[my commitment to Christ] wasn’t an epiphany. It was much more of a gradual process… probably because there is a certain self-consciousness that I possess… it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me.”

The profile of Obama that grew from the interview at Cafe Baci was the first in a series, eventually published by Cathleen Falsani in March 2006 as The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People. New York:Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Books by Barack Obama are Dreams From My Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006). Melbourne:Text Publishing.

These books can be ordered from the Intregral Development preferred bookseller, The Bodhi at