Transforming the Transformers, Transforming Ourselves

William Torbert Posted by William Torbert.

William Torbert serves as a Principal of Action Inquiry Associates and as a founding member of the Action Inquiry Fellowship.


We note that the wider world is yearning for alternatives to unilateral power in the efforts at collaborative action at this point in the Syrian war; in the anguish among Ameri....

We note that the wider world is yearning for alternatives to unilateral power

  • in the efforts at collaborative action at this point in the Syrian war;
  • in the anguish among Americans that our political parties are losing all capacity for productive dialogue, not only between Republicans and Democrats, but within each party as well.

Moreover, from the participation of different ones of us Action Inquiry Fellows in each of the following activities within the leadership development world, we hear this world too calling more insistently for mutually-transforming educational processes that “transform the transformers.” Witness the major and continuing self-transformation process undertaken at the Harvard Business School to enact gender equity in its MBA program and its faculty. Witness also, the current self-transformation process undertaken at the Center for Creative Leadership to rebrand itself as a leader in transforming organizational leadership cultures as well as a top-ranked purveyor of individual leadership development.

Indeed, the same thing “transform the transformers” process is happening at the leading edges of the adult development theory and practice world…

where, led by the MetaIntegral Foundation, ‘integral theory’ enthusiasts are focusing more on practice and on alternative’s to Ken Wilber’s theory,

where the Buddhist-based Authentic Leadership in Action Institute is re- inventing itself from the top down, and

where the constructive-developmental-based Growth Edge Network is generating an ongoing conversation with mutually-transforming power among its members.

Over the past six months, not only have I, Bill Torbert, been able to participate in a small way in all of the foregoing initiatives, but I have been joined in one or more of them by Action Inquiry Fellows Hilary Bradbury-Huang, Dana Carman, Danielle Conroy, Ed Kelly, David McCallum, Jesse McKay, Aliki Nicolaides, Mary Stacey, Gayle Young, Nancy Wallis, and Karen Yeyinmen. In addition, many of us were present for the uniquely inquiring wedding weekend of Fellows Michael Krot Quoia and Lisa Stefanac Quoia. In the midst of all these activities, nine of the Fellows just mentioned joined for a three-day retreat during which we all tasted new flavors on mutually-transforming power, love, and inquiry.

In short, the Action Inquiry Associates and Fellows are all about flexing our vision and deepening our practice of timely action into more and more moments and strategic decisions of our own and our clients’ and workshop participants’ lives. Please consider joining us for one of the forthcoming workshops if this kind of call is meaningful to you.