“Why would we stay locked in our belief that there is only one right way to do something, or one correct interpretation of a situation, when the universe demands diversity and thrives on a plurality of meaning? Why would we avoid participation and worry only about its risks, when we need more and more eyes to be wise? Why would we resist the powerful visions and futures that emerge when we come together to co-create the world? Why would we ever choose rigidity or predictability when we have been invited to be part of the generative dance of life?” Margaret Wheatley

We cannot travel the path toward sustainability alone. No matter how important our own contribution may be, we exist in a web of relationships.

Therefore, opening up to COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE is what makes a difference.

Some people may think COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE is a result of a harmonious conversation with all in agreement – the opposite is true. If we exclude opposition it will come in through the backdoor. If we do not listen to people with a different worldview, they could get angry and withdraw their cooperation.  The underlying intention of opposition is often correction, and this provides an entry point to seeing a larger picture.

How can we develop our competence in the dimension of COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE?

We do it through the active encouragement of difference, acknowledging it and suspending judgment about it. We can create an atmosphere, a ‘space’, in which the appreciation of a person as a person is present (see the dimension of HUMANITY).

In such a climate it is easier to develop the willingness to encounter difference and difficulties without building walls against each other, defending our identities, imposing our convictions on one another and dominating or annihilating each other.

Less time is invested in self-protection, or fighting for one’s exact vision. More time can be invested in finding and fostering  COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE.

We can waste a lifetime in ineffective communication patterns – privately and professionally. It helps when we put some structure to our way of talking and being with each other. There are three pragmatic signposts that need attention: dialogic quality, diversity, and iterative learning.

collectiveIntelligenceThis blog post looks at the dimension of COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE in the Collective Leadership Compass . For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, look inside the book and  reviews on, or get inspired by an onsite course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change.


Categories: Harnessing collective intelligence.


  1. gregorylent

    increased collective intelligence via increased diversity and increased inclusiveness is a horizontal possibility…

    a vertical possibility, expanding the collective consciousness, the matrix within which all actions are both conceptualized and enacted, is another thing .. it is the aggregate of all the consciousnesses of your selected grouping, and is a limit placed upon any society .. it is very difficult to perceive outside the existing collective consciousness, and why transformation takes so long .. we are all stuck on the same boat

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