The Integral Leadership Model can be expressed in several different ways representing increasing levels of complexity encompassing all of the elements of AQAL: quadrants, lines, levels, states and types. My colleagues and I have written and taught extensively on the details of this practice, but for purposes here, I am going to present the most basic expression of the model: Awareness, Approach, Action.*
Experience has shown that if you survey a group of people with these three questions about the SAME situation, you will get wildly different answers.
These answers will reflect what these individuals are aware of and not aware of, what they emphasize and focus on (biases) and what perspectives they valorize or deliberately ignore (privilege or under-privilege).
The most obvious factor that influences how a leader (or person) answers these questions is his or her worldview. Integral leaders use a simple model of four worldviews: Modern, Postmodern, Traditional and Imperial. These worldviews correspond with four corresponding mindsets: Strategic, Pluralistic, Traditional, and Power-centric. Worldviews and mindsets reflect people’s values and beliefs, therefore significantly influence what they deem important and what approaches and actions they think are warranted. (See link at bottom to read more about Worldviews.)
Of course, other factors (seen in the integral model) also influence a person’s answers to the above three fundamental leadership questions. A person’s cognitive, emotional, social, and moral stage of development significantly impacts answers to these questions. Also, typology plays a critical role. The integral principle of “native perspectives” shows us that some “personality types” emphasize the exterior or tangible factors while others emphasize the interior or intangible factors. Similarly, some are more oriented toward the individual and others toward the group perspectives.
The individual and collective dimensions of the interior/subjective and exterior/objective aspects of a given situation are also known as the Integral Quadrants. Without considering all four dimensions (or perspectives), it is difficult or impossible to answer the question “What’s really happening here?” with any confidence that the answer is either complete or accurate.
Background on Integral Leadership
The practice of integral leadership was pioneered by the Integral Institute Business and Leadership Center team with formal field-testing at the Stagen Leadership Institute in it’s intensive Integral Leadership Program (now in its 10th year) with hundreds of CEOs and executives and thousands of their employees. Integral Leadership has also been formally field-tested with success by Notre Dame’s Executive Integral Leadership Program. Integral leadership has also been informally field-tested worldwide by the various faculty members of Integral Institute’s Business and Leadership Center along with hundreds of integrally-informed organizational development consultants that have attended international integral leadership trainings hosted by the Integral Institute.
* Advanced students of integral leadership recognize that the AQAL matrix arises in each of these frames. So a more technical rendering would be AQAL Awareness + AQAL Approach + AQAL Action.