Integral Game Facilitation Guide

The Integral Game helps leaders understand how to cultivate self-managing teams.

This guide explains how to facilitate the game effectively. Here’s a link to purchase a hardcopy of the game in our facilitation shop.


Self-managing teams are the backbone of an agile organization. These teams possess the following capabilities:

  • Empowerment and Autonomy
  • Decentralized Decision-Making
  • Collaboration and Cross-Functionality
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Ownership and Accountability
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Transparency and Communication

Agile leaders must develop these capabilities. However, traditional organizational leaders often lack the knowledge or awareness needed to foster these traits.

Focus Areas

Ken Wilber’s AQAL model helps us understand how individuals and teams can achieve self-actualization and greater autonomy.

Leaders who focus on all four quadrants are more likely to create autonomous individuals and teams:

  1. Interior-Individual (I) Quadrant – Encouraging Personal Growth: Support individual self-reflection and development through coaching and training in emotional intelligence and leadership skills.
  2. Exterior-Individual (It) Quadrant – Developing Competencies: Provide continuous learning opportunities and feedback mechanisms to enhance individual skills and behaviors essential for autonomous teamwork.
  3. Interior-Collective (We) Quadrant – Fostering Shared Values and Culture: Build a strong, shared vision and mission. Encourage a culture of trust, collaboration, and shared responsibility through team-building activities and regular communication.
  4. Exterior-Collective (Its) Quadrant – Designing Supportive Systems: Establish structures and processes that facilitate autonomy. Implement agile frameworks, transparent decision-making processes, and collaborative tools that enable teams to manage their own work.

The Integral Game

The Integral Game raises awareness of the following issues:

  • Organizations often focus heavily on competence development (the It-Quadrant) and structures/processes (the Its-Quadrant).
  • Organizations often neglect personal leadership skills development (the I-Quadrant) and building a culture of trust and collaboration (the We-Quadrant).
  • Without focusing on all four quadrants, leaders will likely struggle to develop autonomous individuals and teams.

How to Play the Game

Create a canvas on the floor with two axes:

  • The Individual vs. The Collective:
    • Leaders should focus on coaching and guiding individuals to help them grow.
    • Leaders should focus on teams and groups to help them grow as a collective.
  • The Interior vs. The Exterior:
    • Leaders should focus on providing structures, processes, and support mechanisms.
    • Leaders should focus on development through thoughts, emotions, values, vision, and culture.

You could use the analogy of an iceberg to explain the AQAL model in a very simple way:

  • The It and Its quadrant is the visual area that you can observe and work with directly
  • The I and We quadrant is the invisual area that you cannot observe and work with indirectly through the visual areas

In order to make this analogy of an iceberg work, we have to rotate the AQAL model 90 degrees.

Part 1: Understanding the Quadrants

To help participants understand the four quadrants, use the Focus Area cards. Here’s how to facilitate Part 1:

  1. Shuffle the Focus Area cards.
  2. Divide the participants into small groups of up to four people.
  3. Give each group an equal number of Focus Area cards.
  4. Instruct each group to place each card in one of the four quadrants. Ensure they place the cards within a single quadrant, avoiding the edges.
  5. After all groups have placed their cards, have them review the placements of other groups. This can lead to discussions about whether cards are correctly placed. Help participants understand the correct placement using the visual representation below (Click here or on the image below to download the example pdf):

Part 2: Understanding Leadership Interventions

This part helps participants understand typical leadership activities and interventions:

  1. Shuffle the Intervention cards.
  2. Keep the same teams as in Part 1.
  3. Give each group an equal number of Intervention cards.
  4. Instruct the groups to place each card in the quadrants. Each card contains a typical leadership intervention. Unlike Part 1, cards can be placed on the boundaries of two (or more) quadrants.
  5. Encourage open discussions about the placement of the cards. Explain that interventions can span multiple quadrants, with some focusing on personal development (I/We) and others on structures/processes (It/Its).
  6. After the teams have finished, ask them to share any observations (Click here or on the image below to download an example of a filled in canvas).

Note: An alternative is to have leaders write their typical activities on sticky notes or cards and place them in the appropriate quadrant.

Part 3: Reflections

This part helps leaders understand the impact of neglecting certain quadrants:

  1. Ask the group about the effects of leaders focusing too much on the It and Its quadrants, which is common in traditional organizations. Typical responses include: “I don’t feel heard,” “I don’t feel engaged,” or “I’m not motivated to do more than expected,” indicating employee disengagement due to a lack of focus on the I and We quadrants.
  2. Ask the group about the effects of leaders focusing too much on the I and We quadrants. Typical responses include: “We’re happy but not productive,” “We lack clear expectations and a work backlog,” or “We’re losing money,” indicating poor results due to a lack of focus on the It and Its quadrants.
  3. Ask participants to stand in the quadrant where they spend most of their time as leaders.
  4. Identify a quadrant that needs more attention and discuss the consequences of neglecting it. For example, participants might note issues with employee engagement, often requiring external experts to address mindset, culture, coaching, and personal growth.