The sweet smell of hops is in the air, there’s sunshine on my desktop, and the cool breeze of a fan on a hot summer day. It’s Friday afternoon at the Awake, Alive & Aware headquarters, but before I pack it in I want to tell you about my lunch with my friend Geoff Fitch.
Geoff is a founder and CEO of Pacific Integral, an organization that works with both individuals and organizations in service of development and the emergence of a better world. He consults with businesses on complex problems involving their cultural and structural transitions, coaches leaders, and facilitates a leadership development program called Generating Transformative Change (GTC for short).
It’s GTC that our conversation turned to today. I asked him what it is that he finds most interesting about the program.
Geoff said, “We’ve been holding this container for development and from the outset we intended it to be diverse developmentally, and we invited an diverse set of people into GTC. We have an inclusive definition of leadership. GTC reflects the real world.”
Beyond diversity of culture and nationality: embracing developmental diversity
We want to create a truly Integral container that is not just Integral talking to itself. It’s been a really good decision. It’s helped us to learn how to work with different people.”
“We don’t depend on everyone having to have a certain cultural context or familiarity with a specific language that revolves around integral. Even so, over the last 10 years, people who have come into the program have been more and more developed already.”
“The average action-logic of the cohort has steadily increased. A couple of years ago we started our first cohort that had a center of gravity at Turquoise [that is, a developmental measurement at a stage that is often called “Integral”] at the outset. In October, we’re going to start a new cohort where the vast majority of people are at that stage. It’s about 80 percent full right now, and that’s the way it looks like it will shape up.”
“What’s interesting to me about that is I can’t say why that is per se. We may be attracting different sorts of folks these days than we used to, but I have a greater sense that it isn’t just GTC’s applicants. It may be that the population as a whole is going through a shift.”
Is an Integral shift stalled, or coming online?
“Is this later stage [Turquoise/Integral] really coming on line? Is it coming online at a more rapid pace? We have a sense that it’s not stalled. You hear that maybe development has stalled, but I think what creates that sense is that we’re going from a world that has a top-down sort of culture to one that is more distributed, more diverse, and it might be going in a different direction. At the grossroots, we are seeing that there is more energy and vitality, more consciousness.”
I ask, “How do you measure the action-logic of the cohorts? And why?”
Geoff: “The first reason we measure it is when people come into the program they take the MAP [The Leadership Developmental Profile]. The MAP is a way of capturing people’s linguistic response in context, and we are using it to gauge structure stage and also complement it with our own observations of people over nine months and other approaches to judge state stage, and other capacities. We’ve also integrated a view of how the quadrants engage with it. It’s not just MAP. Our program really uses MAP Plus.”
“The primary reason we measure it is to serve the educational goals of the program. We want the participants to come into an understanding of development and to engage their own development consciously and to give them some knowledge about where they are at developmentally.”
“Secondarily, we have a long-term research program where we assess people after the program. We do follow-up assessments every two years after the program to track its impact. Our goal is to see whether there’s a sustained impact over time by having people understand their own life in the context of deep evolving consciousness.”
An Integral embrace of development for a better world
Geoff continued, “We invite people to embrace development. We want to take the ceiling off. I don’t think we as a species know how far development really goes, and of course development is balanced by several other currents, embrace, acceptance, descent.”
“One of the things we’ve been looking at is where to build bridges in community, what do we really want to create in the next era of Integral, from a standpoint of ethics, Integrity, and consciousness. I’m continually surprised and delighted about how much energy there is in the world now to link and connect. I interpret it as creating more energy and force around bringing about a better world.”
I ask, “What vision are you holding for a better world?”
“There are a lot of aspects to it. One is that I think collectively the human species is discovering a certain commonality, an essential unity as a family and out of that we grow new structures of existence that enable a certain level of care, justice, and beauty in the world that we ascribe to any human being.”
“So you could say that’s a worldcentric vision. Maybe at some point our ethnocentric self will identify more with the entire species as our tribe. At a very basic level, Pacific Integral sees a woldcentric vision for humanity as a possibility.”
Photo Credit: Geoff-Fitch.com