Shift from domination to partnership

Shift from domination to partnership

Actualizing evolutionary co-leadership in all sectors of European society is a key multiplier for the transformation of our civilization. When individuals, teams, and organizations choose to put their gifts and resources in the service of evolution, they have access to a higher level of energy, creativity, and wisdom. By consciously

creating a field of relatedness among themselves

and with their partners across traditional boundaries, they are able to connect with, benefit from, and contribute to a larger field that is the collective and evolving wisdom of humanity.

006 pshMoving from traditional hierarchical leadership to evolutionary co-leadership represents a shift from a separation/domination paradigm to an interconnectedness/partnership paradigm. Characteristics of this shift are described in Alain Gauthier’s ebook Actualizing Evolutionary Co-leadership – To Evolve a Creative and Responsible Society. It is a shift from ego to essence, from dominance of the intellect to integration through the heart of all intelligences – spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and physical. It involves partnering at several levels:

  • within oneself (inner dance),
  • with others (collective dance),
  • with nature, the universe, and Source (evolutionary dance).

A growing number of organizations have already started the journey in that direction by becoming learning organizations that are socially, environmentally, and humanely responsible. Some of them have been identified as teal organizations or liberated companies in books and surveys, but a large number still remain unknown and may feel somewhat isolated.

Building an evolutionary co-leadership field means to identify, stimulate, and connect organizational leaders who are already at the leading edge of their field or sector, and are looking for ways to stay at the forefront by becoming

conscious evolutionary agents.

These leaders are encouraged to take a new step into the unknown and become aware of their influence on the development of all of their stakeholders and of the evolution of humanity. By demonstrating effectively that an evolutionary purpose and co-leadership practices attract the most inspiring people and produces the most beneficial results, they can contribute greatly to reaching a tipping point in awakening humanity over the next few years. They will embody a new leadership for the world by doing a new kind of Work – Evolutionary Work – to help birth a creative and responsible society.

About the presentation

Alain Gauthier will engage participants in exploring what it means and what it takes to transcend and include both individual leadership and communal leadership into evolutionary co-leadership – from an integral perspective. Specifically, we will examine what subjective, inter-subjective, and objective shifts are needed in making such a move and point to some integral practices that enable its embodiment. We will also reflect on how co-leadership will best meet the need to develop large numbers of evolutionary leaders in all sectors of European society. Alain will build on his book’s key concepts and practices and draw on his international experience.

Participants will:

  • Gain new perspectives about the added value of co-leadership that goes beyond ego, offers synergistic approaches to complexity, and allows scalability
  • Appreciate how evolutionary co-leadership both requires and deepens the embodiment of second-tier stages
  • Identify specific integral practices for personal, inter-personal and systemic development that they could integrate in their daily life
  • Connect with other change agents around this opportunity to accelerate organizational transformation and society’s evolution in Europe.

They will be invited to reflect together on the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be and act as an evolutionary?
  • What leadership qualities are most needed to face our current polycrisis? Can one individual embody them all effectively?
  • What examples of co-leadership come to mind in sports, performing arts, for profit or non-profit organizations?
  • What practices could become self-reinforcing when integrated in one’s life?


Title of the workshop: startup-594090_1280

1. Introduction

  • Opening: What has led me to focus on evolutionary collective leadership?
  • Activity (in pairs or triads): Why are you here? What questions do you bring with you?

2. Why is co-leadership needed in meeting our evolutionary challenges?

  • Question to the group: how many of you believe that we are facing just another crisis?
  • Brief framing of evolutionary patterns: Morin’s “polycrisis”; Laszlo’s bifurcation point; Adizes’ evolutionary curves; what we can learn from the new sciences; shift from a domination to a partnership paradigm, from an AQAL perspective
  • Activity in pairs: What is for you the role of leadership in this paradigm shift? What leadership qualities are most needed at this time? Can one individual embody them all effectively?

3. What new forms and qualities of leadership are emerging at this time?

  • Redefining leadership and introducing co-leadership, using the AQAL framework
  • Question to the large group: what examples of co-leadership come to mind in sports, the arts, emerging or learning organizations? Possible short video clips
  • What is an evolutionary? Question in pairs: to what extent are you an evolutionary?
  • Brief framing of co-leadership from an integral perspective: Head, Heart, and Hara model; correspondence with Otto Scharmer’s U process; post-conventional “both… and” capability; figure 8 model connecting inner partnering, external partnering, and evolutionary call in three self-reinforcing dances

4. What perspectives, agreements, and practices generate a shift to evolutionary co-leadership?

  • Question to the large group: what needs to shift in the interior domains to move from individual to co-leadership?
  • Mapping types of practices on the four quadrants
  • Examples of personal practices (UL and UR quadrants); metaphor of the learning co-leader as a tree
  • Examples of interpersonal practices (LL)
  • Examples of systemic and meta-systemic practices (LR)
  • Question for reflection: Which new practices might you start with or emphasize in your life?

5. How to “scale up” evolutionary co-leadership?

  • Innovation diffusion model as a theory of change
  • Question for reflection: What next steps might you engage in with others?


Alain Gauthier integrally develops evolutionary co-leadership capabilities across all sectors of society. A graduate from HEC (Paris), Stanford University MBA, and former McKinsey senior consultant, Gauthier has served for 45 years a wide range of clients on four continents. He is currently Executive Director of Core Leadership Development in the San Francisco Bay Area and Partner of In Principo, Paris. He recently authored the ebook Actualizing Evolutionary Co-leadership – To Evolve a Creative and Responsible Society, has contributed to five collective leadership books in English and French, and teaches at Paris University II.

Alain Gauthier led a session introducing evolutionary coaching to the San Francisco Bay Area Coaches of the International Coaching Federation on July 8. 

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