One of my heroes also happens to be my friend and colleague Dr. Barrett Brown, Ph.D.
Barrett is one of the pioneers and foremost leaders in the field of Integral Sustainability.
In this very important paper he addresses leadership in the context of “Conscious Capitalism” — and so, on the surface appears to be speaking to corporate leaders. I believe Dr. Brown intentionally chose that for a variety of reasons, not the least important of which is the following. If we are to successfully achieve the dream of a human species that lives in harmony with the Earth and among ourselves, the way business is conducted on the planet must be transformed.
The same message applies to leaders in civil society, governance, academia, and the ecological sustainability and human potential movements.
In his words (emphasis added):
“We’ve never experienced a more demanding, fast-paced and complex leadership environment.
To thrive as an organization in the 21st-century marketplace — and execute on the vision of Conscious Capitalism — requires unprecedented leadership capacity and delivery. Most leaders are in over their heads in the face of today’s challenges, unable to adapt and evolve quickly enough. Many are failing as a result.
This white paper first discusses the new science of vertical learning and its central role in scaling and embedding Conscious Capitalism. Harvard’s Robert Kegan contends that vertical learning catalyzes a quantum increase in mental complexity. This radically improves a leader’s ability to navigate today’s highly complex, ambiguous, and rapidly changing context, and cascade those new skills into the entire organization.
Vertical learning has proven to unlock powerful yet latent mental, emotional, and relational capacities that make leaders more effective across a variety of mission-critical domains. These include improved strategic and systemic thinking, change leadership, stakeholder relationship development, and conflict management.
Vertical learning is a needed piece of the puzzle to achieve the promise of Conscious Capitalism. It uniquely cultivates the “consciousness” in Conscious Capitalism. Developed at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and other world-class institutions, it has become central to leadership and high-performance development…
The second half of the paper describes the practices and perspectives of organizational leaders who have accomplished considerable growth through vertical learning. They are among the top 5% of leaders that have developed crucial mental and emotional capacities required to lead complex change.
Studies show that leaders like these who undergo significant vertical learning are far more likely to generate the organizational transformation required for high-impact, large-scale Conscious Capitalism. These individuals represent the future of leadership for Conscious Capitalism.
The paper concludes with 14 evidence-based and experimental practices you can do to accelerate your own and others’ deep development, and provides considerable support resources to do so.”
I would love it if you let me know what this paper stirs up for you and what you think.