I can’t stop thinking about the presentation Vistage speaker, Reggie Marra, gave to my group recently. He talked about integral theory and the importance of looking at everything from different perspectives. Many of us have a core value of integrity, which means” the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” (Dictionary.com) Integral comes from the same root and means the entire or whole.
Reggie is an integral coach; he shares some of the work of Ken Wilber, a contemporary American philosopher, who developed an Integral Map that provides valuable distinctions for looking at issues from an integral perspective. In Wilber’s words, “What is the point of using this Integral Map? First, the Integral Map helps make sure that you are ‘touching all the bases.’ If you are trying to fly over the Rocky Mountains, the more accurate a map you have, the less likely you will crash. An Integral Approach ensures that you are utilizing the full range of resources for any situation, with the greater likelihood of success.” You can read more about this model in his book, A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, & Spirituality (Shambhala 2001).
Reggie’s introduction to integral philosophy made me think about how we, as Vistage chairs, process issues. If we look at our questions and suggestions from an integral perspective, we can be more effective in helping our members. Each quadrant represents a different way to look at an issue. (See Figure 1 on next page). I noticed how our questions tend to focus on the upper quadrants. Wilber’s integral map is divided into quadrants. Wilber explains the integral map as follows: “It shows the ‘I’ (the inside of the individual, [upper left]), the ‘it’ (the outside of the individual, [upper right]), the ‘we’ (the inside of the collective, [lower left]), and the ‘its’ (the outside of the collective, [lower right]). In other words, the four quadrants—which are the four basic ways of looking at anything—turn out to be fairly simple: they are the inside and the outside of the individual and the collective.”
I applied some of the questions we ask our members and put them into the four quadrants as a tool that we can use to make sure that we are addressing all the perspectives. This approach will help our members see their issue and resolution in a more comprehensive and effective way. Consequently, we as chairs can fulfill our mission of increasing the effectiveness of our members.