An Integral Approach to Transformative Leadership Dancing Through the Storm
This essential new book is a practical "how-to" guide to enhancing the quality of relationships between leaders and individuals in organisations – the proven key to maximising performance, building resilience, and retaining talent.
Integral vision, seen through each of the four quadrants described in this book, gives access to a range of perspectives, irreducible to one another but each significant in adding a kaleidoscope of understanding to a topic or body of knowledge. The author draws on recent research which focuses on Integral theory and emphasises the benefits to an organisation, including cultivating, at several levels, leaders and teams through coaching, improving the quality of meetings, introducing an understanding of emotional intelligence, and more recently, addressing adult stages of development. The book also demonstrates how the Integral quadrants can bring clarity to interpersonal and cross-sector communication, especially in diagnosing, planning, and implementing team and organisational strategy.
The concepts and practical skills explored in this book will be a valuable resource for senior leaders, human resources specialists, and in-house and external coaches focusing on leadership development, as well as students and trainers of coaching.
"Your book is a masterpiece. I feel I have been the guest of honour at a glorious feast: of knowledge and understanding; of interweaving and parsing; of outrageous complexity and internal, dependable, grand and glorious simplicity; and of love and deep regard for the original masterpiece that is the human being. You have done humanity justice. I thank you for your book’s richness, its challenge, its kindness, its depth, its care and coherence in our careless and chaotic world. Please know most of all that your book is a treasure, one I am honoured to have read and to have forever."
Nancy Kline, author of Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind (1999), developer of the Thinking Environment®, and founder of Time to Think Inc.
"Dancing Through the Storm is an authoritative new approach to leadership. It addresses how leaders can succeed in business through building relationships and creating a culture of psychological safety in a very competitive world. The author’s approach is underpinned by Ken Wilber’s Integral model and Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment, greatly enhanced by the considerable expertise and experience she brings to leadership, diversity and inclusion from her practice. This work truly presents, as the title promises, 'an Integral approach to transformative leadership'. Dorrian advances the compelling case that leaders need to be coaches rather than constantly in command and control. Innovative and practical, her stories, case studies and examples, while from South Africa, highlight the need for global leaders to address the challenges of complexity, diversity and culture at every turn. With Wilber’s model as the framework, she guides leaders through their most difficult task: not just running a business, but leading people. Her insights into Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment underlines not only the vital role of building relationships, if leaders are to be successful, but the ability to foster a listening culture. The book delves deeply into resolving conflict, as well as examining leader identity construction, the brain’s addiction to prediction, and the critical importance of building trust in an organisation. A thoroughly stimulating and original contribution to leadership studies."
Sunny Stout-Rostron, Stellenbosch Business School, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa; Founding President of Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA).
"Ken Wilber, developer of the Integral theoretical framework for growth and development, is the author of over 20 books. Yet anybody looking for an integrated developmental methodology in Wilber’s work will not find one – his view is "work it out for yourself". As a result, many practitioners have had to develop tools to make it practically possible for individuals to use Wilber’s Integral theory to improve their lives. Dorrian has worked hard at this; in this book she shows via case studies how to use the Integral AQAL model within a coaching context, what types of question can be used to cover all four quadrants, how that enables the client to make sense of their own experience, and how to work with Wilber’s different lines of development. Staying true to Wilber’s message that any theory is not 'the truth' but 'a truth', including his own, Dorrian then shows in a very practical way how Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment and the Enneagram can easily be integrated into Wilber’s model. As a result, coaches interested in Wilber’s work will find this book a very welcome addition to their library. It is written in a very clear, logical, and practical way. I admire her ability to take a complex theory and make it very simple and practical."
Lloyd Chapman, author of Integrated Experiential Coaching: Becoming an executive coach (2010) and The Evidence-Based Practitioner Coach: Understanding the Integrated Experiential Learning Process (2023)
"It has been my privilege to know Dorrian as a friend and colleague for two decades. Most importantly, she is one of the most ethical, honest and direct people I have ever known; I am very envious of her students. Despite her academic background (two Doctorates), she is a very pragmatic practitioner who uses her knowledge to teach and to coach in an everyday sort of way. This book is a distillation of her knowledge and utilisation of the Integral model, and makes a valuable contribution to the fields of coaching and leadership. In it, readers will find relevant case studies that bring the models to life in ways the reader will be able to use immediately in their own contexts."
Peter McNab, author of Towards an Integral Vision: Using NLP and Ken Wilber's AQAL model to enhance communication (2005).
"The challenges facing leaders have arguably never been greater than they are today. And transformative leadership – the kind of leadership that transforms individuals, teams and societies – is essential to navigating these challenges. But how do we – as leaders, psychologists, human resources practitioners and coaches – develop the approaches and skills to support and become transformative leaders? Dorrian Aiken’s book is a timely and inspiring answer to this question, in which she shares her deep insights into leadership and organisational behaviour. Many business books stop there, which leaves the reader feeling half-inspired and half-intimidated, and wondering how on earth to apply the lessons in real life. The beauty of this work is that Aiken also offers clear, evidence-based theories that give us a practical framework for interpreting her insights and applying them to our own situations. She draws on influential approaches like the Thinking Environment, psychological safety and Integral coaching, applies them to actual cases, and pulls it all together in this step-by-step guide to developing transformative leadership capacity. While all leaders and coaches will benefit from it, I think the book will strike a special chord with the leaders of diverse teams. Want practical tips on how to build employee engagement or run more inclusive meetings? Read this book! Want to become a better coach or a better leader? Read this book!"
Shelagh Goodwin, Industrial and Organisation Psychologist; GM: Human Resources, Media24
"This book equips coaches to embed their practice in the organisations and other complex systems in which their clients operate. This is one of the most accessible distillations of Integral coaching and the Thinking Environment which I have read. The book provides an excellent synthesis of cutting-edge theories, and is essential reading for coaches seeking to work systemically. Fascinating case studies are woven throughout the book, with reflective commentary that gives immediate insight into guidelines for practice. This book has the potential to substantially evolve the practice of coaching."
Roger Maitland, Director: LifeLab; adjunct faculty member, Stellenbosch Business School, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town
"This book is as much a gift to the coach as to those being coached. Dorrian started working with us when we were beginning a company restructure, with a vision of creating a more empowered organisation and giving leaders more autonomy. Her style of starting with the leadership group and coaching them using the Integral quadrants proved invaluable. I have seen the power of this method on the leadership team and the company as a whole. I see huge growth in individual leaders who I now lean on for advice and perspective. While seemingly complicated, I never appreciated the full method until reading the book, as it was handled with understanding of what we needed at each stage, and at a pace where we could implement change rather than just understanding theory. It is quite amusing to reflect on the process this far, and see how a strong coach gently nudges you through the complexity of change. As I learn more, I see clarity in the direction and methods used which helps me manage the change still required. Enjoy the journey."
Diane Wilson, Joint CEO, VMLY&R South Africa
"In my experience running several businesses I have seen a pattern of conflict emerge between those leaders committed to the old 'command and control' model and the younger generation who actively resist attempts to override their freedom and agency. This represents a challenge to managers that demands an entirely new skillset. Dorrian Aiken has provided a thorough and thoughtful blueprint for how modern leaders can not only face this challenge, but turn it to their advantage. Standing on the shoulders of thinkers like Wilber and Kline, she has pulled together an entire operating system for how to build thriving, happy, and fulfilling workplaces. Step-by-step, she walks the reader through an Integrally-informed approach, explaining in clear and straightforward terms why the methods make sense and how to apply them. In the work Dorrian has done with our own organisation I have seen tangible changes in how people work together and how their leadership maturity has evolved. This book makes it possible for leaders everywhere to absorb this approach and start manifesting real change to their culture and employee satisfaction. If you have yearned to see people loving their work, learning, growing and collaborating, this book is the first step toward opening up new potential in your business. We will be using these tools again and again in the future of our business. If you read one book on leadership this year make it this one. You – and your team – will not emerge from it without visible improvement."
Jarred Cinman, Joint CEO, VMLY&R South Africa
"With this book, the author graciously shares her profound knowledge and experience as coach, specialising in Integral theory and the creation of a Thinking Environment. By sharing her wealth of experience in coaching through the lenses of an experiential learner and master-reflector, she takes the reader on a journey of possibility, reminding us how key relationships are to navigate complex situations with resilience. To my mind, how to cultivate inclusivity is the single most important quest of our time. The work-based focus is meaningful for both professional coaches and leaders of organisations and teams. It might not rain today, but I feel like a tango after reading this book. Thanks, Dr Dorrian Aiken!"
Salome van Coller-Peter, Associate Professor: Leadership Coaching, Stellenbosch Business School, University of Stellenbosch