[lang_en] We have been dabling with Integral theory for a few years now – and have slowly gained some understanding of the ideas and maybe more importantly also understood how much more there is to learn. But I think it would be fair to say that at this point the way we run our business and our trainings is definitely integrally informed – probably not 100% compliant but definitely informed.
The combination of theory and practice became very clear to me when I attended the 4 day Integral Theory in Action conference in California this summer – the first of its kind where more than a 100 presenters had submitted papers relating to Integral Theory.
Integrally informed approaches to transformational leadership development
One presentation: “Integrally informed approaches to transformational leadership development” by Alain Gauthier & Marylin Fowler was particularly interesting from my point of view.
The presenters Alain Gauthier and Marylin Fowler have over a period of 9 months researched more than 20 cutting edge management development programmes. They summarize their key findings as follows:
“The selected programs focus on developing integrally-informed approaches that put equal emphasis on the ‘interior’ dimensions of both individual and collective development (intention, worldview, purpose, vision, values and cultural norms) and on its ‘exterior’ or visible dimensions (behaviors, organizational structures and processes), and how shifts or interventions in these domains must be coherent for change to be both deep and sustainable. They also pay attention to developmental levels in these dimensions, and to the dynamic relationship between individual and collective transformation”
Characteristics of the programme
The research also identified a number of common characteristics of the leading edge programme. They were:
“1. Over a period of four months to two years, they alternate short intensive retreats and months of fieldwork, with periodic individual coaching and/or mentoring by people who know the program well.
2. Their cohorts range from 15 to 25 people, to allow both large group dialogue and individual coaching by faculty members.
3. An attentive selection of candidates ensures both good fit and good timing, with the help of ‘alumni’ who become nominators and/or mentors.
4. They emphasize action learning, offer multiple conceptual frameworks, approaches and practices as possible entry points, and combine inner work, peer learning, individual and team coaching, action-learning projects and community building.
5. There is a strong commitment to values and corresponding behavior patterns throughout the programme (Kofman, 2006).
6. Innovative learning processes include various forms of group and individual practices (Part II refers to a number of these practices as well as many others):
Self-reflection practices such as action inquiry, journaling, meditation, silent nature retreats
Analysis of films and other artwork
Artistic expression, body movements, improvisation
Circle rituals and other forms of deep dialogue
Hands-on ‘prototyping’ and experimentation
7. Programme design and activities evolve over time, based on the evaluation of each retreat and of the overall programme by faculty and participants, as well as on participants’ initiatives within the programme.”
Similar to the way we conduct leadership development in GROW
These finding are of course very encouraging for us – because the seven key characteristics to a very large degree reflect the way we conduct the GROW Service Managment Action Learning programme that we run and that is accredited by the University of Chester. If you are interested in reading the full report of their findings you can download their paper here. You can read some more about how we integrate integral theory in GROW here.[/lang_en]