man·i·fes·to [man-uh-fes-toh] — noun; a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, organization or group.
Why a manifesto about leadership? And why now?
I will attempt to briefly answer these questions. But to do that, I first need to identify the audience for this manifesto. I expect that the initial group of readers will be friends, colleagues, associates, and students in the integral community who follow my work, the work of the Integral Institute, the work of Ken Wilber and other integral scholar-practitioners, and those who read our ten-year-old publication Integral Leadership Review.
In a certain sense, a manifesto directed toward people who are already active in the integral movement is a little like “preaching to the converted.” But that’s fine because my closest colleagues and I believe it is now time for a major shift in how we as integral appreciators think about “integral leadership.” So for integralists, this manifesto is very much designed to be a call to action.
However, while the initial readership of this manifesto will likely be people already associated with the integral movement, my deeper intention is to reach a broader audience. A large body of reliable evidence shows that there is a significant percent of the population (worldwide) that have either constructed or adopted a worldview that is what we might call “post-conventional.” There are men and women (young and old) in every part of society imaginable that have a deep desire to change things, to improve their situation, workplace, community, family, or religious institution. These “independent thinkers” have differentiated from the conventional worldview that many of their peers, friends, and loved ones are still subject to. These increasingly aware individuals have glimpsed the future and see clearly that there is something else possible. They want to positively influence the people and circumstances in their lives. They are willing, and eager, but in the vast majority of cases, they have the benefit of very little if any adequate guidance on how to lead.
Why? Because conventional leadership theory is fundamentally flawed.
Our society has so many terrific sources of guidance for physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, even spiritual wellbeing. We have effective methodologies that show us how to build a house, choose investments, relate with a romantic partner, raise children… you name it. At the time of this writing, in the early part of the 21st century, many fields of human endeavor have been adequately understood, objectified, documented, and explained in ways that are accessible and applicable to reasonably intelligent readers. And most of this information is available to anyone with an Internet connection.
However, leadership is the exception. Leadership–as a field of study, and as a formalized practice–as it is currently (conventionally) understood and taught is hopelessly flawed. Until recently, no one had applied integral theory to leadership.
The study and practice of leadership is concerned with one overarching question: How can people motivate and influence others to achieve significant positive results? If you do a literature survey of the field of leadership (as my colleagues and I have for the past decade), what you will find is a large pile of half-baked theories informed by narrow worldviews that reflect the assumption of the advocates that everyone possesses the same values systems as the author of that particular school of leadership. The result? A deeply confused, fragmented, vague, and contradictory body of knowledge around what should be one of the most important fields of human study.
It is my goal to offer a comprehensive integrally-informed, yet practical leadership framework that can be understood and embraced by a mainstream audience.
As we have seen in the last few years (in integral psychology, integral philosophy, integral sustainability, integral ecology, integral medicine, integral spirituality and many others), integral approaches—once fully fleshed out and field-tested—offer the possibility of simplicity on the other side of complexity. Yet, in my estimation, it takes a minimum of 10,000 man-hours to objectify, synthesize, integrate, and adequately field-test integral approaches to reach that point.
Now, I’m happy to report, after a decade-long, multimillion-dollar experiment successfully developing and teaching Integral Leadership practices and tools to CEOs and senior organizational leaders, while simultaneously collaborating actively with Ken Wilber and other luminaries (in integral theory, leadership theory, developmental psychology and so on), we have finally crossed that threshold.
A few years ago, Integral Leadership Review publisher Russ Volckmann, Fortune 100 Integral Transformational Change Agent Michael McElhenie (of Integral Leadership in Action), and myself organized an international Integral Leadership conference entitled Integral Leadership Collaborative. More than 400 people from 40 countries participated in the conference which featured 50 Integral Leadership experts giving presentations and participating in panel discussions on every imaginable facet and feature of Integral Leadership. Russ and I presented many of the core ideas in our forthcoming book (and in this manifesto). This unprecedented collaboration of hundreds of Integral Leadership scholars and practitioners validated our conclusions and demonstrated the power and promise of history’s most comprehensive, inclusive, and potent theories (and concrete practices) for one of the most fundamental aspects of collective human endeavor: the heretofore enigmatic phenomenon of leadership.
All of this has served to further confirm our belief that the time has come for Integral Leadership.
This manifesto is the beginning of a new phase in which my colleagues and I begin to share with a broader audience the valuable (and often surprising) insights we’ve gained about integrally-informed leader development and the power and promise of the specific practice of Integral Leadership.
Thank you for for your interest in integral approaches and the courage to lead. The people in your life need conscious leadership. The world needs conscious leadership.
It is my sincere hope that as you read this manifesto you feel intrigued, challenged, stimulated, energized and inspired.
[ Click to Read Manifesto ]