As Guest Editor of the Integral Leadership Review – Canada (ILR – C) issues, in the February instalment, I imagined, the Rideau Canal lock system symbolizing the environment where the authors in ILR-C interact with the leaders and leadership insights that they have contributed to this special Canada issue. (1)…
While the Totem © (above on our January and February ILR-C covers) offers us the Guides to appreciate our world through four lenses, the locks offer us a working pattern that serves us in understanding the context of individual and collective human journeys as we develop our worldviews through the natural hierarchy from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric. As a fractal-like pattern the locks also remind us of the cultural/social environmental journey from pre-modern, through modern to post-modern and into today’s emerging integral stages of human evolution.
The lock system operates with the natural gravitational flow of water. Like the developmental step-stages the human system naturally traverses as it matures, you cannot skip stages or locks. In other words you can’t take a boat from the lowest level of the Ottawa River to the ninth level of the Rideau Canal without floating up the water staircase of levels. Likewise you cannot lower a boat from the canal level to the river level without stepping down through each lock.
In either direction, an intervener is needed to create the conditions for the staircase of vertical movement. He is called the Lock Master. … To do his job, the lock master is tuned into the natural flows of water, creating conditions for change in the environment. He acts as a catalyst for this change – like the authors in this issue who are not mechanical change agents but much more mindful of how they transform, presence, clarify, engage, educate, influence and voice the flex and flow of the leaders with whom they engage. In so doing our author-lock masters create temporary habitats for the emergence of leaders who can elevate their own and others’ leadership capacities to the requisite level of operation. Such feats of habitat creation, system design and leadership guidance … enable leaders to gain the complex skills to face impossible tasks in a VUCA
…while the author/lock masters in ILR-Canada elevate us in February, to emerge capacities that can serve a world in urgent need of the leadership presaged by Adrienne Clarkson. Her vision of the contribution of leadership in Canada to the world is that we enable the boats in our lock system to be not only guided by our four Totems but that all the levels contribute to a healthy society. Our job as leaders, is to “search for our common humanity, for the decency, the understanding and the generosity” that flows in the water of the bio-psycho-cultural-social lock system where our authors have shown us how to flood the birthing canals of human evolution with a “World Legacy Light”.
Many contributors (and certainly my co-Author Joan Arnott) to our February issue powerfully reflect this evolutionary light. Read more here … and access both January and February ILR-Canada issues here.
Endnotes Seeing the Rideau Canal as I describe here, was inspired by Don Beck, who was so delighted with its practical symbolism in 2004 when we were delivering Spiral Dynamics integral ™ training, that he set off with a camera and met the lock master.
 VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – as coined by the military.