| The focus on the role
of productivity in enhancing competitiveness, while generating wealth
and cultural well-being, has shifted over time from the micro (personal,
team and "circles") to the meso (organizational design and
performance) and now the macro (large scale and complex systems).
Likewise, the essential thinking around productivity matters has emerged
through systemic, strategic, humanistic and now integral patterns
and organizing paradigms. The "profound knowledge" as described
by Dr. Edward Deming is just now becoming clear to many who applied
only surface-level and tentative versions of his massive work. We
now recognize that micro-scale solutions depend heavily on both meso-scale
and macro-scale insights and that all three must be meshed in the
This presentation will introduce the concept of Spiral Dynamics,
a new, evolutionary framework that describes whole-systems thinking,
details how value systems emerge in societies, and maps out a program
for raising human capacities to deal with 21st Century complexities.
The session will introduce the notion of Memetics, the scientific
study of "DNA-like" codes and patterns that lie at the
core of companies, cultures and countries. It will describe the
role of Vital Signs Monitors in profiling human groupings, and a
series of design formulas in crafting natural systems that align
focus, function, form, fit, flow and future. Finally, it will demonstrate
how to synchronize the spiral of technological complexity, business
systems sophistication, and levels of human development.
THE AGE OF FRAGMENTATION
Never before has the planet earth carried such a rich tapestry
of human differences in the form of individuals and groups. The
end of the Cold War brought the thawing of the bi-polar ice sheet
that covered the entire planet as the deep ethnic cores began to
bubble and boil once again. Decades of deconstructionism and egalitarianism
in academic and popular cultural circles released the bent-up entities
and interests that had been subdued by European-Western hierarchies
of power and control. The microchip places an immense amount of
influence in the choice making of single individuals. DNA analyses
now make possible the specific identity of every person on the planet.
Mass customization efforts are able to target each person, and even
specify names on the inside of weekly magazines. It is as if the
entire psychological history of our species from Day One is being
replayed in real time and carried live on CNN. What an amazing time!
Likewise, we have been witnessing a significant amount of fragmentation
in the work place and around issues germane to productivity. Our
work force, in most environments, is much more diverse than before.
The shift toward a global view has, likewise, introduced more complexity,
not just in terms of different cultures, but also in the form of
a myriad of value systems that work side-by-side or, within a whole
constellation of teams and alliances. Yet, many of our approaches
to productivity still tend to be monolithic in design and applied
like a generic "cash wash" over people and work units
that are spreading apart as if they had been purloined into space
a Big Bang
SIX BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
Most people know the story of the "Six Blind Men and the Elephant."
One discovered the tail, another the trunk, while the others felt
the leg, side, tusk, and ear. Each was totally convinced he had
discovered the "truth" based on the direct experience.
Of course, each observer was "right" about the elephant,
but only about a part; none was able to sense the whole. This can
also be said about the various political, economic, religious, educational,
child-rearing, and technological theories of our own day. This also
includes the various listings of worldviews or Weltanschauungen,
or the numerous psychological packages, leadership initiatives,
or managerial mandates that continue to be popular, or have been
discarded in societal dust bins. The various and often heated debates
heard at the United Nations, or in national assembles, senates,
and parliaments, will, likewise, reflect these different views of
"the elephant." Rather than continue to pit the vast array
of differences against one another in an adversarial manner, or
suffer the consequences when the conflicts surface in the form of
belligerence or warfare, might it not be useful to find a way to
construct a synthesis that can explain why each emerged, where it
is useful, and how it can contribute to the total Global Mesh?
| Which of these views
of the elephant-world best describe you?
World is. . .*
natural milieu where humans rely on instincts to stay alive
magical place alive with spirit beings and mystical signs
jungle where the strongest and most cunning survive
ordered existence under the control of the ultimate truth
market place full of possibilities and opportunities
human habitat in which we share life's experiences
chaotic organism forged by differences and change
elegantly balanced system of interlocking-forces
This search for the cohesive elements that can hold so many fragmented
parts together in a new, 21st Century alignment, and create the
methodology and mechanisms for the continuation and enhancement
of all human life on the planet as well as in corporate and work
environments, will require an understanding of three essential components:
- The Evolution of Value Systems.
We will introduce here a new framework called Spiral Dynamics,
a bio-psycho- social-spiritual conceptual system that describes
how and when worldviews emerge, and how they form themselves into
spirals of complexity. Each newly awakened Value System crafts
its own unique work attitudes, organizational designs and specific
perspectives on issues around productivity improvement.
- Historical Approaches to Productivity.
Because Life Conditions change, new innovations are introduced
into the workplace, and people themselves emerge into different
priority "bottom-lines," we must rethink the whole matter
of productivity itself, and what it will take to generate the
high levels of behavior necessary to maintain the quality of our
lives. We will track the shifts in thinking about productivity
through a series of Value Systems, with an additional recognition
that our own efforts have emerged through micro, meso, and now
- Productivity in the Integral Age.
If, indeed, we are dealing with new levels of complexity and fragmentation,
how should we conceptualize the role of productivity in enriching
and enhancing the work place, or in educational systems, or in
cultural and social domains, so that we meet the challenges that
confront us in this newly emerging Integral Age?
THE EVOLUTION OF VALUE SYSTEMS: SPIRAL
Spiral Dynamics is based on the seminal work of the late Professor
Clare W. Graves, Union College, New York. He described what he called
"Levels of Psychological Existence" as an emerging pattern
and priority of worldviews, value systems, and complex adaptive
intelligences that arise in response to Life Conditions. Thus, human
nature is not finite. We are not frozen into types or traits. Cultures
are not static entities, forever trapped in Flatland. As Graves
Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature
human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process
marked by progressive subordination of older, lower- order behavior
systems to newer, higher-order systems as man's existential problems
The human Spiral, then, consists of a coiled string of worldviews,
each the product of its times and conditions. Yet, when a new worldview
emerges, the older systems do not disappear. Rather, they remain
subsumed in the total flow and not only add texture to the more
complex ways of living, but remain "on call" in case the
problems that awakened them to service reappear. So, there are systems
within us, miniature worldviews each of which is calibrated for
different problems of existence. Each new worldview is born out
of chaos, in a nonlinear fashion, so there is no straight arrow
of time back into history. Each worldview is a platform with its
own unique paradigm and instructional codes for organizing society.
Like a DNA script, the unique adaptive themes at each level will
express themselves in terms of life-styles, economic, political,
religious, and educational systems, and views of sex, marriage,
working, the environment, and sports.
In our recent work we have fused the Graves Technology with the
fledging science of memetics, noting that each of the worldviews
is in fact a "valuesMEME", a coding mechanism that inculcates
every aspect of society. Graves work identified eight distinct worldviews
or vMEMES, with the ninth on the
horizon. Yet, all of the previously awakened systems still exist.
These deep level tectonic-like psychological plates create surface
level tensions as we ratchet through time.
Quick Summary Statement of Worldview (vMEME)
| THE LIVING STRATA IN OUR PSYCHO-CULTURAL
|| Color Code
|| Popular Name
|| Cultural manifestations and personal
| Level 8
|| collective individualism; cosmic
spirituality; earth changes
| Level 7
|| natural systems; self-principle;
multiple realities; knowledge
| Level 6
|| egalitarian; feelings; authentic;
sharing; caring; community
| Level 5
|| materialistic; consumerism; success;
image; status; growth
| Level 4
|| meaning; discipline; traditions;
morality; rules; lives for later
| Level 3
|| gratification; glitz; conquest; action;
impulsive; lives for now
| Level 2
|| rites; rituals; taboos; super- stitions;
tribes; folk ways & lore
| Level 1
|| food; water; procreation; warmth;
protection; stays alive
Here's the key idea. Different societies, cultures and subcultures,
as well as entire nations are at different levels of psycho-cultural
emergence, as displayed within these evolutionary levels of complexity.
They have different centers of gravity. The previously awakened
levels do not disappear. Rather, they stay active within the worldview
stacks, thus impacting the nature and form of the more complex systems.
Like the Russian dolls, there are systems within systems within
systems. So, many of the same issues we confront on the West Bank
(Red to Blue)
can be found in South Central Los Angeles. One can experience the
animistic (Purple) worldview on Bourbon
Street as well as in Zaire. Matters brought before city council
in Minneapolis (Orange to Green
to Yellow) are not unlike the debates
in front of governing bodies in the Netherlands. Countries and cultures
are mosaics of multiple vMEME codes.
Third World societies are dealing,
for the most part, with issues within the Level 1 through Level
3 zone, thus higher rates of violence and poverty. Staying alive,
finding safety, and dealing with feudal age conditions matter most.
Second World societies are characterized
by authoritarian (Blue) one-party states, whether from the right
or the left. Makes no difference. So called First
World nations and groupings have achieved high levels of
affluence, with lower birth rates, and more expansive use of technology.
While centered in the strategic, free-market driven, and individual
liberty focused perspective - all traits of the Level 5 (Orange)
worldview - new vMEMETICS (Green, Yellow, and Turquoise) are emerging
in the "post-modern" age. Yet, we have no language for
anything beyond First World, believing that is the final state,
the "end of history." Further, there is a serious question
as to whether the billions of people who are now exiting Second
and Third World life styles can anticipate the same level of affluence
as they see on First World (Orange) television screens. Now that
expectations have been raised by visiting "Paree," how
do we expect to "keep them down on the farm?"
| Different worldviews or vMEMES fight
or engage in conflict but for different reasons.
motivation and "bottom line" justification for aggressive
keep a place in the survival niche, as in the movie The Quest
protect the myths, ancestral traditions, rights of kinship,
and sacred places.
dominate, gain the spoils, and earn the right to rape, pillage,
protect borders, homelands, hearth, preserve way of life, defend
advance economic spheres of influence, or access to raw materials
punish those who commit "crimes against humanity"
and protect the victims.
Many people who knew both Edward Deming and Clare W. Graves have
remarked that the two men had a great deal in common, both in terms
of their respective worldviews and their approaches to social change
and transformation. Deming spoke of "Profound Knowledge"
while Graves' described what he called "The emergent, cyclical,
double helix model of adult bio-psycho-social development."
The two men were of similar age, stature, temperament, and style.
Graves had the greatest respect for Deming's work and it is unfortunate
that they never met. They were both "giants" in their
own respective domains.
HISTORICAL APPROACHES TO PRODUCTIVITY
If one were to engage some of the sophisticated data-mining technology
with a colony of Web Crawlers to detect every use of the term "productivity"
over the last fifty years, there would be a clear pattern to the
clusters they would reveal. Productivity itself has gone through
its very own evolutionary process as it passes through the micro,
meso, and macro stages. One can also see how the various initiatives
have moved along the vMemetic trajectory as we have sought, in each
of the Value Systems, to construct what we thought at the time would
be the major advance in job performance, efficiency and effectiveness,
and the overall quality of our respective work styles.
BLUE-ZONE PRODUCTIVITY: DOING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY
Some of the initial attempts at productivity improvement focused
specifically on logical thinking, statistical measurement, connecting-the-dots,
and enhancing systems as they existed at the time. These efforts
stayed within job functions, organizational groupings, and served
to plan the work and work the plans within the established set of
givens, authority, and responsibility. BLUE ZONE PRODUCTIVITY initiatives
spawned such innovations as the early version of Quality Circles,
Total Product Quality (TPG) projects, and other efforts. This emphasis
also resulted in the creative contributions of Larry Miles at General
Electric and what became known as Value Engineering. VE practitioners
were asked to scan and monitor large capital contracts that had
already been finalized to search for ways to cut costs, avoid duplication,
and elaborate on designs which had already been set in concrete.
It is ironic that the very first psychologist who Larry Miles sought
out for advice was Professor Clare W. Graves, who was on the Union
College faculty just a few miles from GE's headquarters
ORANGE ZONE PRODUCTIVITY: STRATEGY
As BLUE ZONE PRODUCTIVITY efforts matured, it occurred to many
in the field that something was indeed missing. All of the intelligent
and highly motivated efforts to make substantial improvements in
the quality and flow of work were blocked by the nature of the organization
itself. The Quality Circles groups lacked the mandate to cross over
functional, departmental, and even geographic lines. Those people
who participated were often rewarded by a pat on the back but little
more. The improvements they designed and implemented benefited the
pay-checks of top level executives but not their own. They were
asked, even commanded, to "work harder and smarter," but
soon discovered they would not benefit from the fruits of their
ORANGE ZONE PRODUCTIVITY shifted in the direction of strategy with
the massive re-engineering exercises, the entry of microchip technology
that made possible instant communication across all of the barriers,
and the onset of interest in aligning the entire enterprise to the
"bottom-lines." Governmental entities shifted from seniority-based
compensation to a preoccupation with merit awards and putting professions
into competitive postures. The idea, of course, was that these innovations
would enhance the capacity to squeeze costs, fine-tune efforts,
and see to it that every expenditure of funds, every effort on the
part of everybody, would all translated in one way or another to
"the bottom-line." VE moved to what was called Value Management
as scapulae were put to costs at the front end of contracts rather
than be locked into the big decisions that impacted, often in a
negative way, the little decisions. Unless the large flywheels were
aligned to "strategy," the smaller flywheels would continue
to spin whether they produced positive results or not.
GREEN ZONE PRODUCTIVITY: SENSITIVITY
Michael Hammer and his colleagues who were well known for the entire
re-engineering movement, had to make the major confession after
"down-sizing," brutalizing, and ripping apart many traditional
systems, that they had totally ignored the importance of people
in their activities. Big surprise. Those with the Orange vMeme virus
in their minds see nothing beyond profit, perks, and privilege.
It became apparent to many that people, indeed, were critical to
any long-term and effective effort that could sustain itself over
time. A great amount of historical knowledge was lost in companies
because of both the imposition of meritocracies and the assumption
that systems - business, technological, and strategic - would, by
themselves, produce the results that everybody designed. They did
not. They could not.
At this stage a large segment of productivity thinking became focused
on people - their competencies, feelings, experiences, Humanistic
work site needs, and even personal preferences with regard to such
"fringe benefits" as athletic facilities, nurseries for
children, partner privileges, and similar sensitivities. Without
question the enterprise became a happier and healthier place as
diversity programs stressed the value in human differences, and
community-based projects afforded an opportunity for everybody to
participate in social responsibility schemes.
We also witnessed, in the GREEN ZONE, the emergence of self-managed
work teams, fully capable of functioning virtually on their own.
Trust-building exercises were introduced. Off-site meetings by the
groups were encouraged. Expansive career development tracks were
funded. Barriers in the organizational structure were lowered as
rank system were discouraged, both in external displays and in personal
relationships. Everybody was on a first name basis.
PRODUCTIVITY IN THE INTEGRAL AGE
The celebrated and romantic Age of Aquarius ended forever with
the crash of the World Trade Center towers in New York City on September
11, 2001. The Age of Fragmentation was at its high water mark, its
zenith following the end of the Cold War. Many of these identical
issues are, likewise, appearing in corporate suites, on shop floors,
in trading centers, and in business schools - from Harvard, Stanford,
and the London Business School to smaller educational/training programs
literally around the world. Witness, now, the rise of The Integral
Age. The intent here will be to discuss the ramifications of this
new epoch to the general area of productivity, with a focus on redesign
rather than fine-tuning, on transformation rather than reformation
or renewal, and on open, flow-state dynamical systems rather than
closed-in, boxed-in, and rigid, final-state models and methodologies.
Here are several of the basic assumptions and processes that implement
the Integral perspective.
THE DESIGN OF NATURAL SYSTEMS
Actually, the Integral Age is based on the 7th and 8th Level Value
Systems, the YELLOW and TURQUOISE ZONES in terms of the Spiral Dynamics'
conceptual system. The approaches to productivity in these zones
tend to favor the macro or whole-systems scale perspectives. If
these are "set right" at the very beginning, many of the
micro and meso issues and concerns will naturally follow suit. This
will of necessity unblock the constraints that have prevented the
productivity measures in the BLUE, ORANGE, and GREEN domains from
actually producing the results they desired. I worked for a number
of years with Middelburg Steel & Alloys company in the Eastern
Transvaal in South Africa. This heavy-industry organization was
light years ahead of others in that productivity efforts, and even
safety-measures, were built into the design of the total system
rather than imposed as separate items over the entire structure,
operating codes, and output requirements. Everything connected to
everything else. All the decision-makers were involved in all of
the developmental programs. The requirements for productivity improvement,
safety regulation, and even diversity development were featured
on the evaluation forms for everybody. The company was saturated
with innovative versions of Value Engineering/Value Management,
and it extended from the executive suite to the shop floor, and
across all functions. This company and its executives and staff
played a major and defining role in the entire South African transformation
out of apartheid, as these principles were applied in the Middelburg
community and even into the National Peace Accord.
Natural Systems Designs have a number of distinguishing characteristics:
· They identify the underlying vMEME codes operating in
the overall culture, the critical priority sets in key decision-structures
and which are essential in different work flows, as well as the
overarching set-points, flywheels, or deep cultural assumptions
that macromanage the whole. This is all mapped out as underground
currents on which the enterprise must be constructed.
· They skillfully align the core elements - focus, function,
form, fit, flow, fulfillment and future - in the design of the features
that, when properly set in motion, generate high levels of productivity
while, in addition, meeting the four essential "bottom-lines"
that every enterprise should now pursue - purpose, profit, people
· They design the appropriate levels in, as reflected in
the three Spirals: Degrees of Complexity in the Technology Spiral;
Levels of Sophistication in the Business/Systems Spiral; and Levels
of Emergence in the Individual and Cultural Spiral. Unless there
is synchronization in the three Spirals, tension and stress will
result. If the technology is too complicated for the business systems
to handle, or the business (motivation, communication, compensation,
information, etc) is either too complex or too simplistic for the
work force, there is serious trouble ahead. There must be balance
across all three Spirals, so that the "well-oiled machine"
or the "finely-tuned" Flow-State can function with minimal
energy lost and maximum productivity.
· They focus more on the codes, maps, equations, and scenarios
than on prescriptions, patterns, and policies. For example, the
following equation is repeated over and over again:
How should WHO lead/manage/motivate/inspire WHOM to do WHAT, with
WHICH people living WHERE?
4Q/8L - HITTING ON ALL CYLINDERS - HOLISM
Ken Wilber has created a powerful, imaginative, and practical template
to overlay on any situation to
1. identify the specific needs and capacities of individuals and
2. calibrate the precise developmental or growth-related packages
that fit each unique situation.
The "All Levels" piece of his framework can be explained
in terms of the eight vMEME or worldview layers and levels of complexity.
The "All Quadrants" component consists of:
· IT - Individual Brain &
· I - Individual Self &
· ITS - Collective Social
System and Environment
· WE - Collective Culture
Efforts which select a single Q, or operate on a mismatched L,
could make things worse. Large scale efforts, such as cultural upliftment,
must be All Q and All L. The same holds for developmental schemes
in organizations. Too often we rely on a single Quadrant, such as
the Upper Left, in enhancing people's personal insights, skills
and states of mind - but then send them back to their same former
Lower Left webs of culture that are hostile to these new perspectives
and behaviors. Or, we place people in jobs and functions but fail
to align the compensation or management systems (Lower Right) that
support the behaviors we expect. No doubt you can offer many examples
of this problem.
The design and implementation of successful All Quadrants/All Levels
initiatives requires a new generation of decision-making formulas
and processes. While each of the vMEMES has evolved its own form
of problem resolution, the Yellow-Integral and Turquoise-Holistic
worldviews contain the intelligences to macromanage the whole human
PRODUCTIVITY IN THE FLOW-STATE (LIFE CYCLES)
Ichak Adizes, in his corporate lifecycle framework, has devised
what he calls CAPI - the Coalescing of Authority, Power, and Influence
- so that all sit at the same table in sorting out complex issues.
After studying thousands of companies from all over the world over
decades, he has been able to identify the different managerial codes
that are operative at different life-cycle stages as the entity
deals with its problems of existence. The codes - P-production,
A-administration, E-entrepreneurial and expansionist thinking, and
I-integrative - vary at the different stages. The organization will
always have problems; the only question is what kinds of problems
will it have, what are their dimensions, and what will be required
to handle those specific circumstances.
Huge gaps in productivity occur whenever the entity is out-of-phase
with its specific location on the corporate life cycle. Short-term,
quick-fix, or cosmetic "solutions" only make things worse.
The entire entity must be involved in creating trust, designing
the appropriate structure, finding the right people, and implementing
the congruent systems. The Adizes Methodology is, without question,
the most powerful framework that I have come across for managing
complex business and cultural streams.
VITAL SIGNS MONITORS: SENSING THE PATTERNS AND FLOWS
As humans, we exist in a wash of bacteria, viruses, genes, and
memes. All four appear to be impacted by nonlinear events, and possess
the capacity to literally re-engineer their respective codes in
order to adapt to changing conditions in the milieu. The Vital Signs
Monitor is designed to track the life forces that influence our
human experiences. Consider an operations-type room, with floor
to ceiling video screens, where the critical indicators are displayed
and overlaid on top of each other. Such a Monitor could register
the pulse of aggregates of people, both at macro and micro levels,
to search for the deepest trends, major vMEME conflicts in the making,
serious sink-holes in development projects, and the general health
and well-being of global people. This technology could provide globally
focused decision-makers with the necessary information to translate
into knowledge, then formulate actions.
Such a technology is being developed by John Petersen and his Arlington
Institute, located in Arlington, Virginia. The intent of the Vital
Signs Monitor, displayed within the Institute's Fusion Center, is
to track vMEMETIC flows and Stages of Change within the American
society. (See www.arlingtoninstitute.org).
Likewise, a number of innovative companies are seeing the wisdom
of creating their own internal VSM to collect all of the critical
indicators, and display them at a single place and time so that
everyone can see everything. Conoco, for example, a global energy
company, has created what is called Dashboard, a company-wide project
and initiative designed to craft such a data clearinghouse that
takes and monitors the "pulse" of the company and its
external world(s). They may well be writing the textbook for this
Finally, we are now constructing a method for assessing the core
Value Systems in entire cultures and societies so that we can detect
major tension zones, stress points, and early evidence of major
changes on the horizon.
Cometh the Time; Cometh the Thinking.