How do we lead in an increasingly complex environment? Intuitively as leaders we know solutions that have satisfied our existential problems in the past are not working anymore. How many more restructures, consultative processes, mediated discussions, leadership challenges, terror attacks, battles and wars will there be before there is a paradigm shift in our thinking?
Einstein eloquently describes the challenge as… “the world we have created with the thinking we have done thus far creates problems that cannot be solved by the same level of thinking.”
The current global challenges we face are being paralleled in our organisations and our personal lives. So what is the ‘right formula’ to get the best results from people and meet every changing organisational demands in an increasingly complex global context?
The key to this challenge, say theorists and business leaders is to develop a more adaptive way of thinking enabling us to see culture as an emergent, dynamic flow, dependent on the complexity of the environment and the way people experience their world.
A framework that I have found profoundly useful in meeting this challenge is Spiral Dynamics Integral. It equips leaders to identify the prevailing values, thinking and experience in the individual or organisational system so that they can rapidly create and adapt operations to match changing value priorities. The advantages are that by utilising this level of motivational precision in leadership skills people will increase their performance, which translates into cultural health and business growth.
A Strategy for Meeting the Challenge
Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) developed by Dr Don Beck from the original, lifetime research of Professor Clare Graves is a framework based on the concept that human nature is not fixed. It assumes that we have adaptive intelligences, which respond to our life circumstances and challenges. It also presupposes that as our life conditions become more complex and as a new worldview (paradigm) emerges, the previous worldview does not disappear, but rather remains, subsumed in the total flow of our experience. In this way our personal values can be interpreted differentially, and can be reinterpreted if our circumstances change.
An important element of SDi is the integrative nature of our experience in that our worldview is emergent and unfolding in response to the complexity of the environment we experience. As leaders, we need to learn to recognise what worldviews are in operation in individuals, teams and whole cultures to assess how we appropriately language for those values in operation. For example, what a value such as trust is to an individual operating from s PURPLE worldviews is very different from both RED and BLUE worldviews.
Leaders now have a framework to understand human nature in all its complexity. Successful leaders of the future will be those who avoid looking for the right answer, but rather ask the right questions:
- How do we organise, manage and lead our organisation to get the best performance?
- What are the emerging issues and trends?
- What is the nature of the people we lead?
- What change is requires? And “Change from what to what?”
“It’s not that we need to form new organisations. It’s simply that we have to awaken new ways of thinking. I believe it makes no sense to spend a lot of time attacking the current realities. It is time to create new models that have in them the complexity that makes the older systems obsolete. And to the extent that we can do that, and do that quickly, I think we can provide what will be necessary for a major breakthrough for the future”. Dr Don Beck. (www.spiraldynamics.com)
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