Activity Update: I-Sus Toolkit, Leadership Research, Publications, Presentations, Mentoring to develop a leader's action logic

By: Barrett C. Brown

“We face unprecedented changes in creating a sustainable world which will be as profound as those underlying the Industrial Revolution. New leadership is needed, to rethink, redesign and reinvent organisations so that they are proactive, innovative, future fit as well as becoming integral contributing healthy cells in a healthy biosphere. Without such leadership, organisations and their managers will be subject to forces beyond their understanding and control which they will experience as fate. Fortunately in many organisations across the world, new leadership is emerging to shape the pattern of this evolving future.” – Professor Emeritus Dexter Dunphy (2010) of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Business

We’ve been working to document integral sustainability more fully, as well as get elements of it into the mainstream. Over the past year I’ve begun pulling together a suite of tools, white papers, and research summaries that support the application of integral sustainability. We’ve got 17 done so far and at least another dozen in the works. As soon as I can we’ll launch a downloadable toolkit. If you have contributions you want to recommend to the toolkit, please drop me a line at Many of the pieces have come out of my recent research on how leaders with very mature meaning-making capacity actually design and engage in complex change initiatives.

There are a number of publications and interviews that have come out or will soon that are disseminating the research results and ideas about an integral approach to sustainability. These include an article in the Journal of Organizational Change Management, a profile in the leading Brazilian corporate sustainability magazine Ideia Sustentável, forthcoming articles in Integral Leadership Review (June) and Kosmos Journal, as well as a book chapter for Gail Hochachka’s upcoming book on Integral International Development.

I’m particularly pleased about the Journal of Organizational Change Management article. Our longstanding intention at the Integral Sustainability Center has been to support the integration of – and cross-pollination across – disciplines in service of sustainability. My leadership research was intended to stimulate dialogue and action at the intersection of leadership, sustainability, and constructive-developmental psychology. With this publication in a prominent academic journal, I feel that we are one step closer to mainstream leadership and sustainability researchers and practitioners taking into account the significant implications of how worldviews and meaning-making actually develop and the impact they have on everything a leader does.

If you have a subscription to Integral Life, there’s a great audio dialogue Ken Wilber and I did around my research that you can access. It is an honor and pleasure to be talking with Ken in this way; 10-12 years ago we were just barely beginning to inquire into what an integral approach to sustainability might look like. While there is still much work to be done to flesh it out, I feel that the global community of practitioners in this area is making solid progress. I’m especially impressed by the work of Gail Hochachka, Paul van Schaik and others at Integral Without Borders. By the way, if you don’t have a subscription to Integral Life yet, the June issue of Integral Leadership Review will publish an extensive interview with me, as well as the full transcripts from my dialogue with Ken.

There is another solid interview about the research on the Waking Up the Workplace series, which is free to download. The guys behind that in Amsterdam are top notch, and I recommend you pay attention to what they put out; I’ve heard they have an online course launching this summer.

The research has led to quite a few keynote engagements, including at the Society for Organizational Learning European Forum in Stockholm, the Integral Leadership in Action Conference in Santa Cruz, and the Integrales Forum Conference in Berlin.

An unexpected result of my research is that I’m increasingly being approached by leaders and change agents for mentoring to support the development of their own action logic, or meaning-making system. With all of the significant capacities that arise with later stages of meaning-making, and the clear need for those capacities to respond to our toughest global challenges, I guess folks are getting a strong internal “YES” to do what it takes to cultivate their own significant psychological shifts. Let me know if you’re interested as well. One of the upcoming initiatives of MetaIntegral is to really distill the research and theory on how to accelerate the development of meaning-making and strengthen metacognitive capacities. We hope to host a forum about it within 18 months with the leading researchers in the field, and then disseminate the findings as broadly as possible.

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