The Three Breakthroughs

The AIC concept makes three major contributions to organizational and social science.

  1. A new concept of purpose that allows us to see purpose as the source of organizational and social power.
  2. A more holistic concept of power that allows us to see that power is created by purpose and in turn can re-create purpose.
  3. A new concept of leadership as the process that links and leverages our purpose and power with those of others and our world.



Smith's paper of 1980 was the first to state that Purpose is the source of power. It was surprising that this very simple statement had not been written before. The closest his research found to the statement was made by Martin Luther King in 1967 which reflects an understanding of the relationship between purpose and power.

    Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose.
    Excerpt from "The Drum Major Instinct" Last presidential address, Southern Christian Leadership Conference,

It is the simplicity of the insight that Purpose is the source of power that gives it the capacity to transcend, or provide a meta-framework for the many diverse models of power in the organizational and social fields.

Developing the concept also had to face scientific reluctance to accept purpose as a part of nature, as Giuseppe Sermonti (1998) notes - the concept of "purpose" was barred from Science in order to purify it from imprecise metaphysical or anthropomorphic implications. Smith, though, conjectures that one day because the pattern of relationship between appreciation and purpose so mirrors the relationship between gravity and mass; and because gravity is the least understood of the four major forces, Science will one day discover that, at the origin, purpose and mass are the same thing. There is a link, a 'religio' between our purpose and universal purpose that co-produces the powers that organizes all existence

Sermonti Guiseppe Science With Meaning, Symbol, And Beauty Prague Workshop 1998



In the 1970's when Smith first introduced his concepts of power it too was an incomplete if not illegitimate concept in both practice and theory. His own PhD mentor tried to dissuade him from pursuing the concept because "Power is in everything so nothing can be made of it. A great attempt was made in the 50s but nothing came of it". The literature concurred when Jack H. Nagel in 1975 wrote that :

    "We are not within shouting distance of an adequately complex theory (of power). Indeed no one theory is likely to suffice"

The AIC concept of power was able to transcend the level of current models of power by searching outside the field of organization and social science to search for insight from science and its parents, philosophy and religion. As a result AIC becomes a meta framework of power that can be used to address any purposeful system from micro levels of problem solving to macro levels dealing with the greatest issues of our time.



With its origin in purpose, which includes both conscious and unconscious purpose, the AIC process becomes holistic. It is not just a process for organizing work but one for leading our life in a way that amplifies the power of others and our contributions to or world. Our AIC leadership process creates the conditions that enable everybody affected by our actions to be involved at an appropriate level and to achieve much that they think is not possible.

AIC leaders do not provide a linear march to efficiency to get things done, to get things under control. Leaders center themselves in a circular dance between the desire to fly and the necessity to march. They fly to search for new possibilities, dance to search for deeper engagement, and march to give form to their goals. All three are all equally valued ends of the leadership process.

.AIC leadership creates s a higher form of democratic organization it gives every purposeful part of the organization, in its controlled, influenced and appreciated environments an equal opportunity to participate in proportion to their effect on their purposes.