“On the way to the old persona” Sixteen larger-than-life characters/ personalities/faces from four different species, drawn with hard graphite pencil. Six of them will take turns to greet you when you set foot in our new office.
Gabriele Muschel, Exhibition 1999 in Wiesbaden
inspiring & networking
Our new location also represents a new business focus. We value the philosophy of “transparency and discretion”. Stay curious. And feel welcome.
Charan describes how leaders grow with their tasks. His upward, intertwining leadership pipeline comprises six so-called passages: “from managing self to managing others”, “from managing others to managing managers”, “from managing managers to managing a function”, “from managing a function to managing a division”, “from managing a division to managing a company”. He exemplifies which tasks to master in order to reach the next level. In terms of the “Double Helix” structure mentioned in the headline, Charan’s pipeline ̶ a classic in leadership theory ̶ is one of its two chains.
Human Consciousness (Graves)
The second chain of the Double Helix would be that of human consciousness. Applying value systems from different fields of research on human and social development, Dr. Clare Graves created a concept of eight consciousness levels that I find truly fascinating. Each level describes a state of transition that, applied to individuals as well as companies and even societies, can provide us with important insights.
Level 1, allocated the colour beige, is the “primal” stage of human consciousness. It is defined as the stage of material survival, food and sheltered sleep.
Level 2 is purple, a “spiritual” phase, in which cause-effect relationships are put into a magical, animistically animated and interconnecting context. In childhood development, we speak of the “magic phase”, while on a social level, mythical deities come into play.
The third, red level, which is characterised by “egocentricity”, includes the “magic” of level 2 and supplements it with aspects of strength and power, profits and losses, winners and losers. Adolescents and young rebels, gangs such as the Hells Angels – they all are examples of people going through this transitional stage.
Level 4 is blue and the phase in which “rationale” rules. It comprises all the previous stages, but everything is rationally organised, standardised and put into order.
Level 5 is achievement-oriented and materialistic. This orange phase also comprises all previous stages and focuses on the “advantage”. It is all about the maximisation of individual benefit, play theories, futures exchanges and seconds trade.
The sixth level is green and “creation”-oriented. The world is seen as a whole, as a web of interdependencies affecting and influencing each other. Ecology and creation move into the centre of consciousness.
After this stage, the individual, organisation or culture moves into level 7, the phase of “interdependency”. In this yellow phase, we add deep reflexion and meditation as accepted social practices to all previous consciousness phases. When we pass through this stage, we start realising that our ideas of what our future will be like are still relatively vague.
Level 8 has been allocated the color turquoise. Its details are not yet clearly defined, neither on an individual nor social level. It will nevertheless dock onto the previous stages, just like the others, and will be supplemented by individual and collective needs.
Together, they form a whole
Both models describe the different degrees of skills and maturity an individual, a company and even a society goes through. Charan’s leadership pipeline concentrates on the skills while Graves’ model focuses on different levels of consciousness. If we now apply this Double Helix to modern leadership challenges, it becomes clear that a level 7 leader with a level 4 consciousness will tend to deliver strategies that are unlikely to solve the issues of this increasingly complex world. Stuck with an egocentric view that divides the world into winners and losers, the organisational structures of the future can neither be understood nor adequately commented on. Slogans like “America first” have an unsettling effect in a world that, even long before the onset of globalisation, started moving continuously away from the orange level of “advantage” towards the more aware green and yellow levels of interconnected world systems: What will the world look like, how will it operate, how will exchange take place?
The question you might ask yourself now is how does this affect your company? Well, if your corporate culture, your leading minds and your CEO act on a consciousness level that makes fruitful communication with a younger, green/yellow-oriented staff (generations Y and Z) impossible, you run the risk of losing your best talents. Generation Y’s astonishing new understanding of work-life navigation make this very clear. They question and no longer blindly follow the lead, thus causing irritation in “orange” companies. You could end up losing a first-class candidate, a CEO or employee just because communication and understanding are obstructed simply by the different levels of consciousness in play. Think of Chancellor Merkel and President Putin, of Christine Lagarde and President Trump. Even though their level of leadership and responsibility for the people, for prosperity and peace is quite the same, they act from completely different levels of consciousness.
Maybe our primary goal should therefore be to develop leadership and consciousness in parallel. Creating incentives that, in addition to simply rewarding results, also foster the development of both pipelines would be an important step to take on the road to effective leadership.
As usual, this article has many mothers and fathers: Charan, Graves, Lutterbeck, Wilber, Muschel and the world in which we live; observed, adopted and composed by Hans-Joachim Spreng.