📖Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change

Beck, Don, and Cowan, Christopher C.
  • p.16 at each stage a man goes to search for his holy grail, but when he founds it, it leaves him disconcerted and perplexed. He solves one set of problems but finds another at its place.

    The quest he finds is never ending. —Clare W. Graves

  • p.31 vMEME — “values meme.” Acts as attractor for content-rich memes
  • p.33

    The appearance of new vMEMEs often provokes a personal crisis in family and work relationships.

  • p.51 SD thinks that vMEMEs are pre-existing in the human brain and wait to be activated (“awakened”).

    • (it’s kinda controversial and I cannot agree)
  • p.53 aspects of life conditions: Time, Place, Problems, Circumstances (social)

    • Time = both historical time in human development and in personal age
    • p.54 “Humans live in different Times at the same time”
  • p.56 express-self/sacrifice-self = differentiation/integration = individual/communal

    • p.57 individual

      • task: explore the outside
      • locus of control: inside
    • communal

      • task: fix the inside
      • locus of control: outside
  • change

    • conditions

      • p.76 condition 1. potential for change

        • Open-Arrested-Closed (OAC) status
        • Open = can move forward and backward
        • Arrested = can move backward (cannot move forward)
        • Closed = can move only within current stage
      • p.82 condition 2. solutions for the current stage’s problems

        • instead of threats, satiate the vMEMEs that are active
        • problems at the current level are adequately managed
        • a zone of comfort is achieved
        • excess energy is available
      • p.82 condition 3. dissonance is present in the current system

        • gap between life conditions and current system
        • “something is wrong” feeling (without a chaos that world is falling apart)
      • p.83 condition 4. barriers for change are identified and overcome

        • should be eliminated from life conditions and then from people’s mindset
      • p.84 condition 5. insight into probable causes and viable alternatives
      • p.84 condition 6. consolidation and support during the transition
    • p.87

      Solutions sow the seeds of next-order Problems.

    • phases:

      • p.86 Phase 1. Alpha fit

        • dynamic tension/fit of LC and stage
      • p.87 Phase 2. Beta condition → (SD) Beta condition

        • a time of uncertainty, questioning, and frustration
      • p.89 Phase 3. The Gamma trap

        • a state of anger, hopelessness, and revolution
      • p.91 Phase 4. Delta surge

        • often premature celebration
        • got rid of the barriers but new order is not yet established
      • p.92 Phase 5. The new Alpha
  • p.93 change variations (table)

    • (Teal organizations for most is a stretch-up)
    • p.97 Oblique variations—talking the talk without walking the walk

      • takes some aspects from the neighbors on spiral but returns to its vMEME (comfort zone)
      • oblique variations are fit when things go from ALPHA fit to BETA condition (uncertainty and questioning)
    • variations:

      1. Fine-TUNE (horizontal): vMEME is not changed, but the contents is expanded and tuned within the current stage. Doing the same job, but better. Working “harder and smarter.”

        • sometimes, this is the only option possible if organization is closed or arrested
        • one of Orange pathologies is thinking that movement up is the only important shift, so they often neglect Fine-TUNE
      2. Expand-OUT (horizontal): the vMEME structure is expanded and elaborated, but it stays on the same level.

        • people are getting insights into what they are doing and how that works
        • Expand-OUT is often a result of a big corporate restructuring in an attempt to move up. This might change the company vocabulary and enhance current vMEME, but vMEME is not replaced.
        • Sometimes, this is exactly what organization needs.
      3. Stretch-DOWN (oblique):

        • p.97 “Cults and drill instructors use it to initially ‘program’ new recruits.”
        • p.96 expect “nostalgic,” sometimes desperate, down-spiral searches for “good old days,” “back to basics,” and “fundamentals revisited.”

          • once they are found, the person returns back to his main vMEME
      4. Stretch-UP (oblique): → Stretch-UP

        • p.97

          TQM [Total Quality Management], most corporate development efforts, government privatization initiatives, and the perpetual buzz in education for the next new and improved teaching method are generally of this Variation. […] The efforts might be sincere, but they will not effect systemic change beyond the First Tier.

      5. Break-OUT (Vertical, Revolutionary)

        • happens from the Gamma trap. it is usually a turning point in organizations, a major life changes, “significant emotional events”
        • by this time, the pressure has built to the point that talking is futile. fundamental change is demanded. all-or-nothing — change it or destroy it
        • surviving break-out

          • in homogeneous and lower levels, change efforts must be more narrow, focused, concrete, immediate
          • in homogeneous and higher levels, change efforts should be more abstract, broader, and distant
          • in heterogeneous groups, the communicated goals must be both abstract and concrete, immediate and distant. the goals must be translated “on all frequencies” so they can be picked up by all vMEMEs listening
      6. UP-Shift (Vertical, Evolutionary)

        • bypassing Gamma trap in favor of Delta and New Alpha.
        • must see and recognize that “the” (current) way is only “a” way
        • must see barriers and have insights
        • effective vertical change pays attention to both Life Conditions and vMEME stack.
        • it does not mean that everyone will transition, but those who stay should not destroy the possibilities for everyone else
      7. Quantum (Vertical)

        • multiple vMEMEs in transition throughout a whole society
    • p.102

      In trying to understand change in someone or a company, always ask, ‘In what way does the person operate in respect to this issue?’ Ask not, ‘At what level is this person and how do the rules indicate I should be?’ Graves always instructed that the latter approach is looking for simplicity that is not there. People are not types; they think about things in their lives in different ways.

    • p.103 listen for feedback: “If he purrs, continue; if he growls, back off.”



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