Next-Stage Leadership Development

Next-Stage Leadership Development is our way of naming the adult development process by which we become ever more capable of bringing the wholeness of who we are as human beings to the leadership roles we play. Its focus is on who we are when we show up in those roles (sometimes referred to business literature as vertical or constructivist development), rather than what we do to accomplish our duties and responsibilities (sometimes referred to as horizontal or skills-based development). 

Theorists have for decades mapped out, defined and labeled (and sometimes argued vehemently about) the stages of adult development. From Robert Kegan to Jane Loevenger to Bill Torbert and Susanne Cook-Greuter to Ken Wilber, there is general agreement that:

a) We continue to develop throughout our lifetimes;

b) There are definable stages of adult development; and

c) An overall framing takes us from an orientation toward “’me’ (ego- centric) to ‘us’ (ethnocentric) to ‘all of us’ (worldcentric)” (Wilber, 2007), or what Carole and David Schwinn called “selfness” to “otherness” to “wholeness” in their 2014 book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace.

So what does Next-Stage Leadership mean? It simply means that no matter who we are, what role(s) we play in the world, what we believe about the future, or where we are on our own developmental path, it is incumbent upon us to:

1.     Learn more about adult development

2.     Take responsibility for our own next stage

3.     Repeat

There are many paths to those three steps: every one of the theorists above and many others each have their own take on the trip. Our own pathway, called Practicing Wholeness, is simple, accessible to everyone, and based on the theory of William James, the father of modern psychology, who famously said:

If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.

Our belief is that the leaders needed now (and we ascribe to author Margaret Wheatley's definition that leaders are "anyone who wants to help at this time") share a number of qualities or ways of being in the world that all of us can emulate through practicing, or acting as if we already embody them. Read our Blog about Next-Stage Leadership Development here


"It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the wind-blown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, listens to the repeated tale, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. It all matters."     

Laura McBride, We Are Called to Rise