Practical Applications of Spiral Dynamics

After having read the explanation of Spiral Dynamics, here is how to apply your knowledge of this theory in everyday life

(Read the first part of this two-part series.)

GUEST COLUMN: MICK QUINN AND DEBORA PRIETO — The easiest way to understand the essential nature of Spiral Dynamics (SD) is to picture a ladder that twists into a never-ending spiral, the top end of which is constantly evolving.

The first six levels of consciousness comprise the “First Tier,” the top from which a revolutionary shift in consciousness occurs that allows for the emergence of the Second Tier. The vMemes (v – for values) that comprise these first two tiers are given a color, making the discussion of SD much easier.

See your true colors

First Tier:

Beige: Starting about 100,000 years ago.
Survival – Sensation: Sharpening the innate instincts and senses just to stay alive. Hunter/gatherer ways of living.

Purple: Started about 50,000 years ago.
Spirits – Kinship: Searches for harmony and security in a mysterious world. Shows obedience to chiefs and elders.

Red: Starting about 10,000 years ago.
Self – Force: Aggressively and impulsively expresses itself regardless of the cost. Enjoy pleasures to the fullest with no guilt or remorse. No respect for authority.

Blue: Started about 5,000 years ago.
Order – Truth: Enforces codes of conduct through domination and threat of predetermined outcomes. Laws and regulations used to build moral standards.

Orange: Starting about 300 years ago.
Achievement – Strategy: Self-interested individuals play to win. Use earth’s resources to create the abundant life. Risk-takers, optimists and successful.

Green: Started about 150 years ago.
Human Relationships – Community: Explores the inner I and places everybody at the same level. Freeing humanity from greed. Egalitarian and caring.

Second Tier:

Yellow: Starting about 50 years ago.
Fluid – Flexible: Integrates prior systems as natural hierarchies. Existence is valued over materialistic pursuits. Sees chaos as the genius of serenity.

Turquoise: Started about 30 years ago
Holistic – Collective Individualism: Self is seen as distinct individuality yet part of greater, ever-evolving whole. AQAL aware. Completely responsible action.

Practical Applications of Spiral Dynamics

Each of the eight worldviews (memes) communicates differently, hears things differently, and learns differently. Spiral Dynamics enables people to understand these differences — including core motivators, information-processing styles, learning approaches, and preferred management styles. This knowledge enables communication where both parties truly understand each other’s messages — spoken and unspoken.

By furthering your understanding of how people, organizations, and cultures function from the inside out, SD can empower you to work, learn, and live more successfully. SD allows for better understanding of the complexities of human existence and gives us a way to understand the order and chaos in human affairs. It explains the deep forces embedded in us which ultimately shape our values, and lays out a pattern and a path for transformation.

SD resolving today’s world conflicts

SD reveals the hidden codes that shape human nature, create global diversities, and drive evolutionary change. These dynamic spirals attract and repel individuals from the webs and meshes that connect people within groups, communities, and organizations — they  forge the rise and fall of nations and cultures.

Today, Spiral Dynamics is one of the methods experts apply in South Africa in order to abolish apartheid, achieve consensus, and generate the process of social integration. It is even being used as a negotiation tool in such geopolitical contexts as the Palestine/Israeli conflict.


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