David: Hello Everyone. Welcome to the Social Enterprise Alliance podcast.
Today’s interview is with Trace Bell and Tina Olsen of Open Aware consulting, who serve as integration guides for individuals and visionaries within conscious organizations. They themselves are visionaries who are intent on creating a life of purpose by following their curiosities in philosophy, non-duality systems thinking, and raising consciousness. They started Open Aware with the vision of inspiring and supporting others in their own questioning, exploring, and creating new ways of living and being in this world.
This interview is a little different from others that we’ve published up to this point. We are going to be talking with Trace and Tina about a human development concept called Spiral Dynamics. We talk through this framework and touch on a lot of philosophy and human history, including an important moment we find ourselves in today. What does this have to do with Social Enterprise? Well, I think the concept of social enterprise itself mirrors the current transition moment Spiral Dynamics is referring to. And understanding the framework will help us to not only be better leaders in our organizations, but also help us to better serve the people within our social impact missions.
So with that, let’s welcome Trace and Tina.
0:00:00 David: I wanted to welcome Trace Bell and Tina Olsen from Open Aware to the podcast. So guys, I'm really excited about bringing you here, and this one, I think, is gonna be a little bit unique for us because we're gonna talk about more of a theory around interpersonal relationships and things that can really help our organizations communicate within and with those that we're trying to serve through our products or sales, or just in our social impact. So the framework of this is gonna be a little bit different, and we're gonna have two halves; one to unpack something called Spiral Dynamics, and then really how we can implement that. So I know for me, as I've really just scratched the surface of learning about this human development model, it has helped me be a better leader in my business. So one, welcome to the podcast. Wanna hear what you're up to at Open Aware, but then really wanna talk about this concept of Spiral Dynamics and give you the chance to tell us more. [chuckle]
0:01:03.2 Trace: Yeah, thanks so much for having us on. This is such a joy and so exciting to do. So yeah, I'm Trace Bell. This is my partner, Tina Olsen, and we have a business called Open Aware. And we work with both individuals and organizations, supporting them in bringing language, awareness and organizing principles to resolve current tensions in their life, in their organization and also open up to innovation and other solutions that are present. So we use this model of Spiral Dynamics to identify the dynamics of what is working and then what isn't working, both systemically and interpersonally. So we love exploring lots of different areas with our clients, and helping them integrate the health of many different areas. And we really feel like this model of Spiral Dynamics is the model that best helps us do this, which we'll get into what Spiral Dynamics is in a little bit. Is that a pretty good description, Tina?
0:01:57.4 Tina: Yeah, awesome. And thank you both for having us, thank you everyone who's listening, for participating in this. And also, just a little disclaimer up front, Spiral Dynamics is a kind of model that it takes an intimate familiarity, a lived experience to truly embody it, like many other things. But to us, what's really, really important is this doesn't become another head exercise where we've separated our brains from our bodies and our beings and our behaviors, and so we're gonna do our best to pack this with an exciting half an hour of an overview, but also know that really the meat, the juice, all of it, it's like an amazing Italian pasta sauce [chuckle] that a grandma in Italy would make. It's gonna be better days after it's initially in the pot.
0:02:54.1 Tina: Yeah, so thanks for putting your energy and your time and your open hearts into all this, and also know that hopefully, some of the brilliance comes from marinating on this and maybe even deciding to dive deeper yourselves.
0:03:03.9 Lauren: Love that. Love that analogy.
0:03:11.7 David: And also, I know that this is gonna be a concept that is new for many people listening, so kind of on purpose, Lauren, this is gonna be new for you to hear too, so...
0:03:23.9 Lauren: Absolutely...
0:03:24.0 David: You're along the ride.
0:03:24.4 Lauren: I have no idea what Spiral Dynamics is. [laughter]
0:03:27.1 Trace: Yeah, so should we get into it? Should we get into what this model is?
0:03:29.2 David: Yeah, let's go.
0:03:29.9 Trace: What it looks like? Alright, awesome.
0:03:31.7 David: Let's go.
0:03:31.7 Trace: So, Spiral Dynamics is a model of human development that maps the growth and evolution of individuals, groups, and it also maps the evolution of humanity over time. So it maps how us as humans have grown in our perspective and value system throughout the course of history, and also maps how individuals grow throughout their own lives. So whether we're looking through the lens of history, philosophy, psychology or biology, it's been shown that evolution happens in these sudden leaps. There are these sudden leaps where rapid progress happens and there's a radical shift in the way that we're viewing the world, the way that we're viewing ourselves, the way that we're viewing others, the way that we're viewing our role and our purpose in the world. Was really fascinating and illuminating to go back and look at the way that these leaps transpired and the ways that they shifted humanity and shifted the way that we're showing up in the world. And this is really what Spiral Dynamics maps at a fundamental level.
0:04:42.6 Trace: So it gives each leap that it maps, a new stage name. It maps it in these stages, so it gives it a stage name and a new color. So clearly distinguishes each stage from the ways of being and the beliefs that preceded it in the previous stage. So each new stage that it maps provides a completely new perspective, which naturally shifts the way humans organize themselves and then interact with one another.
0:05:04.4 Tina: Yeah, and one of the things that's really exciting and one of the reasons we feel like Spiral Dynamics is so relevant right now, is we feel like humanity is at its next leap. And leaps happen because increased complexity has kind of outnumbered the ability to just use your current model and stretch it a little bit this way, or a little bit that way. All of a sudden, you have enough unique, complex, new components that you can know... It's like your model breaks, basically. And so we're seeing that in every aspect of life, we feel like the pandemic just sped that whole process up, of a lot of people were seeing the ways that things were breaking down before that, but all of a sudden, the entire globe got to see it on an entirely different scale and started to see it in everything from healthcare to education, to business, to the planet, so on and so forth. And so all of a sudden, you have this complexity that you cannot handle with your current level of understanding.
0:06:39.6 Tina: And so it requires a leap. And so the one thing I wanna say before Trace starts getting into the stages is the really unique thing that Trace and I have personally brought to this model is a very concerted and detailed understanding of what the health and unhealth is of each stage, because we really honor the fact that a leap is only possible when it's built upon the health, the learnings, the emergent properties of the stage before it. So these leaps aren't in just random new directions, they truly are meant to transcend and include the health of what came before. And so the other element I wanna add is, even though we're gonna talk about this in a linear kind of way, and history actually initially brought these emergent properties in a timeline, the way that humans keep time in history, it does not mean that one stage is inherently better than another.
0:07:09.8 Tina: That's why we love the fact that it's called Spiral Dynamics. It's this ever-increasing ability to look at things from different angles. And so at any point in time in our life, we might be the most developed psychologically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually that we've ever been, and revisiting the health of a very early stage in order to reclaim that health and keep moving, right? And so it's not about judging and trying to say, right, wrong, good, bad. It's actually about, how can we create this amazing mosaic, this tapestry of our lives and our organizations that includes all these complex components and continues to move in the direction that's going to be increasingly inclusive of sustainability for all planet people, profits, the entire thing.
0:08:10.9 Trace: So well said, yes. We really see these stages as aspects of self within us. And these aspects of self, when we live them in health, each aspect is just as important as the other aspect of self. So like Tina said, this is such an important point to stress when we cover the Spiral, 'cause people can sometimes tend to view it in a linear kind of hierarchical sense, where they just view later stages as better. But it's not really about later stages being better, it's about acknowledging the health of each one of these stages and seeing what each stage was saying about what it means to be human, and how can we live that to the fullest extent so that we can fully embody and honor our full human-ness? So with that said, shall we get into, actually, the stages?
0:09:00.7 David: Yeah, yeah, I think... I'm really grateful that you guys said that upfront, just because at first, it does sound like there's this hierarchy, and not only just as society tends to grow and evolve, but also that... And you'll bring this up, I'm sure, but there's this individual version of each of the stages as well. So I immediately, when I realized, I think, through listening through some of your work, that there was the health and unhealth in both. That was a big light bulb moment for me, 'cause I could see myself in early stages, but in a healthy way, still utilizing that. So yeah, I think we've probably teased everybody up enough now. [chuckle] So yeah, I think diving in would be great.
0:09:44.7 Trace: Yeah, okay, so let's get into it. So I'm gonna cover the first six stages in Spiral Dynamics, which are collectively called tier one. So like we discussed, each tier one stage has a component of health and unhealth, and each tier one stage is vitally important, because they comprise the essential parts of being human. So the first stage that Spiral Dynamics maps is called 'Stage Beige,' which is the survival stage. So this stage is instinctive and solely focused on the survival of the individual. And this is where, historically, humanity started a couple 100,000 years ago. So this was the first humans on earth that were just concerned about their own survival needs. "How do I take care of my food needs, how do I take care of my shelter needs, how do I sleep properly?"
0:10:35.1 Trace: So the health of this stage, some ways that the health of this state look are, good nutritional habits, good sleep habits, movement and exercise, and tending to our emotional health and development, all of the healthy self-care aspects and aspects of taking care of our survival needs in a healthy way, is what the health of Beige looks like. So the unhealth of Beige looks like getting... Some examples are getting too absorbed into your work that you forget to eat lunch, or checking your phone at night, or right before you go to sleep, which disturbs your sleep. That's something I can be guilty of from time to time. Ignoring your emotions and ignoring your emotional needs.
0:11:12.0 Trace: So we see as we... I love Stage Beige because it still highlights the importance of embodying the health of the earlier stages. 'Cause oftentimes in Spiral Dynamic circles, Stage Beige is an afterthought. It's like, "Oh, the first humans were at Stage Beige, we can just... Let's just move on to the later ones, let's have that discussion about the later ones." But it's like, how many people are actually living their healthy Beige and taking care of their body in a really kind of holistic, integrated manner, and how much is the unhealth of Beige actually baked into a lot of our work culture? It can actually be a badge of honor to be so dedicated to your work that you're not eating lunch or you're ignoring your basic needs. And we actually see, in a very sneaky way, the unhealth of this stage kind of permeated into a lot of thinking around how we work and how we show up to life...
0:12:07.0 Tina: Hustle culture.
0:12:07.5 Trace: Hustle culture. So...
0:12:09.0 David: Yeah. Well, you guys just got me, because that's exactly what I was until about a minute ago, when you said "skipping lunches." I'm like, "Yeah, Stage Beige, I get it. Survival. We're past the caveman stage. Oh, eating lunch is right." I don't do that often. So, here we go. [chuckle]
0:12:28.3 Tina: We haven't yet got anyone to sign up for this particular offering, but I have a secret desire to work with a CEO who is truly willing to be like, "Okay, yeah, let's start this whole thing, healthy from the ground up, with Beige being fully, fully honored." When we take individuals through this, we call it living the spiral, this class of embodying each of these stages, one of the activities we would do is I would ask Trace questions about his basic needs. On a good day, if everything went according to plan, how many hours of sleep, how much exercise, how much time to grocery shop, prepare, eat your meal, clean up after your meal? How much time to refill your water bottle during the day? How much time to pause, if there was an emotional trigger, or something that your inner child needed, and to go take care of that? And you add those things up. Hygiene, basic hygiene, by the way. We have to shower. [laughter] It's at least 60%, if not more of your time. And most people have thought, through efficiency, and we'll get to Stage Orange later, efficiency culture, "If we can just minimize the amount of time we spend on Stage Beige, then somehow, that's how we're gonna get more out of our organizations," and that's just such a fundamentally terrible premise.
0:14:00.4 Tina: And I think COVID did some justice to this. More people are growing food at home. I'm making sourdough bread from scratch, and that's our main bread that we eat. Certain things just started to become a part of who we were, because of COVID hobbies or because of realizing that our supply chain wasn't as certain as we thought it was. And so it's interesting how one of the things that the pandemic did bring was this honoring and this understanding of our basic needs, and the gratitude for all that as well, that instead of taking the modern world's conveniences and hacking away even more at our Beige, can't we look at the fact that, at one time, what it meant to be human was 100% of your time with Stage Beige? And now, what it means to be human is that we get the opportunity to do other things.
0:14:52.2 Trace: So well said. I feel like we could talk about each one of these...
0:14:53.6 Tina: We could.
0:14:53.8 Trace: Stages for hours. So, let's get back to... Let's get on to the second stage. So Stage Purple is the next stage. This is called the magical stage. So this was historically when humans started to form tribes and they began to conceptualize of the vast interconnected nature of the world around them, so they started to see how all of the elements of their environment and the world related to each other and influenced each other. So some of the elements of health of the stage are, actively fostering wonder and awe, engaging with your creativity, allowing room for the magic of life to move you in whatever way that looks. We were working with an organization where we got to Stage Purple and they were talking about taking improv classes, 'cause when they're in improv, they're in that flow state, they're in that just magical wonder of life, and that was what their personal doorway into Stage Purple was. Some other elements of healthy purple are, using our imagination and intuition to vision and dream and create. And we see this... It's so important for organizations, these have been unprecedented times the past couple years, and we no longer have the ability to rely on data like we used to, because these are such unprecedented times.
0:16:09.2 Trace: So being able to tap into our intuition and our imagination and our storytelling capabilities. Storytelling is such an important part of Stage Purple. Who are we? What are we doing in the world? What moves us? When we can really tap into that storytelling, that can really drive a lot of our positive behavior. And the unhealth of purple shows itself as having an underlying belief of victimization and having this belief that life is happening to you, like the world, the universe at large is against us in some way and we're victims of it in some way. That's a way that the unhealth of purple can show up.
0:16:46.1 Tina: So yeah, jumping to the next stage, Stage Red is a power stage. So this is when humans started to... I say it's a birthplace of the ego or free will. It's when humans started to see this tribal arrangement as limiting and started to realize that they could leave and go do something else, and maybe they were inspired to create their own version of a community or their own gathering of resources. And what's really interesting about this is, most of the ways that we see Stage Red became that really unhealthy power, that power over, the egocentric, the narcissism that's been far too prevalent in our culture and in our politics and in our news and everything, everyone's talking about this unhealthy kind of fascism that came out of power. But really, the health of power is heart-centered empowerment. It's power with, it's power that comes from that healthy, magical, purple, divine source of being interconnected to everything and understanding that each of us have unique gifts, each of us have a unique way that we see our values, and those values want to be expressed. And so the best of Stage Red looks like connecting to, speaking to, and living from our hearts, practicing power with others, again, instead of power over. And in our organizations, that then turns into our next stage, which is Stage Blue, the “order” stage.
0:18:33.0 Tina: So when humans made this leap from power, as a matter of fact, the stages oscillate from an "I," like a "me" focused stage to a "we." And so, Beige was "I," purple was "we," red was "I" again. And so then, with blue, we get "we" again. So this is when that power was turned into, "Hey, maybe we could have shared values, maybe we could have a shared purpose. Instead of these individuals running amok and just gathering resources and enacting violence and doing it for the sake of just being powerful, what if we actually gathered as a group and we had a common purpose?" We were able to take our own sense of what we wanted and have some delayed gratification, and instead contribute our unique gifts into a greater whole. And so this is when bureaucracy and organized religions came into play. So, we talk about the birthplace of spirituality in humans is Stage Purple, and having your own doorway to magic and wonder and awe, and then the birthplace of organized religions, for example, would be Stage Blue. And so it's interesting how those two things we see as different, because you can have a group of humans in a healthy way who gather together and have shared values and shared community, but as we all know, that also can go in some very unhealthy dogmatic directions.
0:20:03.9 Tina: And so the unhealth of Stage Blue looks like having rigid community guidelines where everyone has to think and do and act the same exact way in order to be a part of the group, or it's a very "us versus them" mentality. Super fun during march madness to be us versus them, and cheering on your bracket or your alma mater, but not so healthy when it comes to a community organization that's out there to do good in the world. So, do you want to take a pause? Do you guys have any questions so far?
0:20:38.0 Lauren: Yeah, sure. I have lots of questions, but I'm also engrossed in what you're saying too, so I don't wanna interrupt the flow. But one thought process is, it sounds like there's a lot of... It's like a different way of thinking about... I have a visual in my head, of a pendulum. Any time you swing one way, the pendulum kinda will go back the other way, and maybe sometime, land in the middle. But especially talking about those "I versus we" statements, I've seen that on a personal level, I've seen that just how I think we as humans tend to get ourselves into a mindset or whatever, and then in deciding like, "Oh, there are some problems with this," overcorrect to something completely different. So yeah, I'm just... These are just some of the connections that I'm making, but it seems like it's not just the pendulum swinging back and forth, it's the pendulum swinging in a spiral, maybe. Yeah.
0:21:33.8 Tina: Yeah, I love that. And I have an actual pendulum that does go in circles sometimes.
0:21:37.0 Lauren: Awesome.
0:21:37.4 Tina: So, there is the... Both end of all that. Yeah, those are amazing observations and that's actually what's really exciting about when we get to tier two. So, keep that good thought around the binary versus the circle and... Do you wanna jump into Stage Orange?
0:21:53.5 Trace: Yes, so then Stage Orange came after Stage Blue, and Stage Orange was the introduction of critical thinking, rationality and analytics. So, this was... Stage Orange brought the scientific revolution, the age of enlightenment, it brought... It mentions capitalism. This was when humans started to realize they didn't have to believe just whatever the power structure said at the time. Absolute truth was not just dictated by whatever the authority structure was saying, that there was actually a way to go out into the world and investigate and observe and analyze the world and come to truths and beliefs through methods of reasoning. So the scientific method and a way of looking at the world through rationality and evidence was birthed with Stage Orange. So, the health of Stage Orange is so important for our modern luxuries and our technology. It's our ability to go study how things work and come up with new inventions and technologies, and really analyze and explore the world in a really profound way. So the health of the stage is the ability to use data and rationality and logic to inform decision making. And then the stage in unhealth, it looks like the over-use of logic at the exclusion of other ways of knowing.
0:23:11.4 Trace: So when Orange tips into unhealth, Orange only views the world through this lens of logic and rationality, and anything that doesn't fit within this kind of lens of logic and rationality, it just totally dismisses. So it can kind of become myopic in its vision, because it's only focusing on one part of reality, a very important part of reality, but excluding other ways of knowing, other ways of being, other ways of interacting with life, because it views this lens as the only legitimate one. So this is where we see Orange come into unhealth as it discounts intuition and it discounts some of the health of these other stages, because it's so fixated on Orange. And our country right now has a major center of gravity, which is like the primary stage that's influencing it, that it's operating from, is Stage Orange. So I think... I mean, I can talk about Stage Orange for hours, because a lot of our issues that we're dealing with right now as a society come from this unhealth of Orange. And I really think the progress and the solutions that we're gonna see in the next decades are gonna come from seeing the limitations of Stage Orange and actually moving into the next stages and finding solutions from those places. So with that said, let's talk about what this next stage is. So this next stage is called Stage Green, which is the equality stage.
0:24:36.6 Trace: So this is when a new level of understanding about what it means to care for others and the planet was birthed. So I like to think of Stage Green as a collective sinking into the heart that brings an increased awareness about the injustices and inequalities of the world. So Stage Green was really brought to the national spotlight with the Civil Rights Movement, with the LGBT movement, with Women's Liberation Movement all around the '60s, when humans realized that life was so much... There's so much more to life than acquiring material things and having personal success. Life is actually about living from the heart, it's about having deep, connected relationships, it's about sinking into the heart in a way that we have love for every being on the planet and the planet itself, so a lot of ecological movements were birthed from Stage Green as well. So the health of Stage Green looks like a deep, heart-centered belief that everyone's story matters, and that it's possible to create a more beautiful world that works for and includes everyone. And then the unhealth of Stage Green can look like swinging the pendulum a little bit too far and actually engaging in exclusion of certain groups rather than inclusion of everyone. So we see the unhealth in Green come up in some sneaky ways at times. So that was the first...
0:26:00.9 Tina: Let me add really quickly before...
0:26:03.7 Trace: Yeah, please.
0:26:04.3 Tina: And just to get a little bit more into the unhealth of green, so healthy boundaries, yes, but Green struggles with that at times. And so this is when we're talking about extreme cancel culture. There are certain people, we'll just use Kanye as an example, deserves to be cancelled and have his platform like, let's not be listening to this Nazi BS, right? And also, we just heard of a newscaster the other day who quoted Snoop Dogg, one of his songs, that he talks about “fo-shizzle,” yeah, we’ll go on… But it's like there's no ability to differentiate someone who is being racist versus somebody who's using language from a song that's not actually harmful. But if you don't show that you're on the side of people who are willing to go... In essence, kind of be like a lynch mob for equality, then you're the next one who's axed out. And so it becomes a very tenuous, unsustainable way of being 'cause you never know where the finger is gonna be pointed next. And so the unhealth of Green actually, in a very beautiful way, starts to become unsustainable pretty quickly in people's lives, because they start...
0:27:29.5 Tina: The pendulum swings too far. For example, we know people who have a lot of pain from their feelings and knowing internally of, "I'm not he and I'm not she, I'm they." And also the feelings then of pain of other people not getting they right all the time are like another thing that's taking that person down constantly. And again, there's a ton of trauma behind this. I can't personally speak to what that experience would be like in this society that is so binary, and also, I can comment on the fact that a lot of those people self-report, "Oh, I needed to get to a place within me where I healed the pain enough to be able to understand that if someone accidentally called me a pronoun, that it's not actually a new assault on me. That's just somebody's... " and there is a big difference, a family member being like, "I don't believe you," is very different than a barista at Starbucks accidentally saying "he" or "she." Right? And so there's a discernment here with Stage Green, and again, we're going back to the complexity of all of this. This is hugely complex, you absolutely cannot...
0:28:47.8 Tina: And the health of Stage Green says we honor people's stories, their own experience. But I think this is also where we collectively honor how much trauma has been enacted upon people from the unhealth of these prior stages. And that all has to be cleaned up with Stage Green, because we're finally acknowledging and honoring the emotional pain that leads people to healthy cancel culture and then really unhealthy cancel culture. And so, the discernment actually requires us going super deep into the pain, the trauma, the personal traumas, the collective traumas that the systems and ways of being prior have caused, in order for us to be able to collectively move forward into tier two.
0:29:35.1 David: Just a quick note on that. I think when we get into the second half of this conversation, this is definitely a little bit more of what I wanna unpack, because I do believe that so many members or people that are on this path of social entrepreneurship are living in this equality stage, the Stage Green, and I think maybe are starting to run into those kinds of unhealth areas, even in leadership structures, thinking through, "Well, let's let everybody be a leader. But there's also this value in hierarchy, and how do we navigate that?" And so there's just a lot of questions, I think, that need to be unpacked, that I look forward to talking about in a little bit.
0:30:14.2 Lauren: Yeah, yeah. And I was just gonna say too, I appreciate the word "discernment," because there is so much complexity and there is so much nuance in the world, and I feel like that's a lot of the conversations that I've been finding myself having personally, of just, we live in a world where people tend to group themselves into certain categories and abide by whatever rules are within those categories, and can't always see maybe the perspectives that exist outside of that, or just the fact that perspectives can exist at the same time, and that there is this just nuance to life and to our development.
0:30:51.2 Trace: So well said. Thank you both for that. So the six stages that I just covered, from Stage Beige to Stage Green, are what's referred to as tier one. Now, the next stage is what's called tier two. So the developmental psychologist that came up with Spiral Dynamics felt that this next leap from Stage Green beyond was so monumentous and important, that they actually gave it a completely new tier. So tier two is known as integral. So this is the perspective where the seeming mutual exclusivity of the tier one stages is replaced by the idea that we can transcend and include by integrating the health of each tier one stage. So what happens in tier one often is there's a transcend and repress, which is, people grow to new levels, but they repress the wisdom of what came before them. So a classic example is, we covered the health of Stage Blue, which is this... Health of Stage Blue is having that healthy structure and order, and maybe even a healthy hierarchy that helps things flow and function. When people sometimes move into Stage Green, they actually repress some of that essential wisdom of Stage Blue. So when Stage Green can get into trouble, it's when there's no order and structure within an organization, and they're not able to actually be as functional and make decisions, because they either make everyone leaders and there's no flow, there's no structure, and they've repressed some of the essential wisdom of Blue.
0:32:26.9 Trace: So you see, we run into trouble, we run into unhealth when we transcend and repress. And tier two is all about transcending and including. So tier two sees that each stage in the spiral is essential to integrate. The health of each stage is vitally important to being a fully integrated, fully healthy, holistic human. So some key hallmarks of tier two are that ability to be integrated, an ability to be living the health of each one of these stages. And systems thinking, understanding systems and understanding the way that we live in systems and the way that we can actually change systems. The ability to hold paradox is a really key element of tier two, and then realizing our inherent oneness is another really key aspect of tier two, and living from that place of oneness, and living from that place of compassion and acceptance for others.
0:33:20.7 Tina: Yeah, and I'd love to jump in really quickly too with a comment to what you said, David, around the struggle of, how do we undo dominator hierarchies that are unhealthy, without just leaving nothing? And so, without getting too philosophical here, but sprinkling in a little of that for those who like it, Green is also called post-modernism, and in post-modern political philosophy, like Nietzsche for example, is one of the founders of postmodernism, or one of the first thinkers who was putting work out there in that way. And a lot of people have mistaken him for a nihilist, 'cause he was actually... It's called like an anti-foundationalism, it's like undoing modernity, which is Stage Orange, undoing those things. But Stage Green doesn't actually do a really good job of putting new foundations in, which is why tier two is needed. And so in tier two, the fundamental misunderstanding is we hear that you have self-management, for example, in tier two, and you think, "Oh, that just means get rid of the managers." No, [chuckle] it's kind of like when people mistake the movement to defund the police as having just no police. No, what people are moving for in the police movement, for example, would be social workers' involvement and community leader involvement and other organizations, psychologists' involvement, people who actually understand the true needs and are trained for those true needs of the community, and not everything is policing. Right?
0:34:57.0 Tina: And so that's the same thing in an organization, is you don't just remove the managers and then think everything is gonna go smoothly. You actually have to train up teams to do managerial function, you have to train up teams to have coaching function. Or, a lot of tier two organizations will have coaches who aren't a hierarchical leader, they don't have any authority over telling people what to do, but they are a resource to come ask a team, help them get unstuck, help them find new creative ways, show them ways other teams in the organization are doing things, connect dots. And so, one of the fundamental moves from Stage Green to tier two is understanding we're not just deconstructing everything in perpetuity, we actually have to put some new things in place, but those new things are emergent properties of tier two that we haven't entirely seen in other stages of the spiral.
0:35:52.4 David: And I love unpacking that too. I think one of the things that, as a leader, I'm trying to understand how to be the best one, and learning how to be a servant leader, and playing around with different models and different hierarchies. And in some of my own teaching, in terms of teaching managers or whatever, I will talk about dictatorship as a leadership style. And of course, immediately, you're like, "I don't want that." And then I'm going through these stages, and Red looks like where dictatorship kinda lived. But one of the things that I kinda teach our managers in some of our programming is that there are small moments where dictatorship is absolutely needed and extremely healthy. So the example I might give would be, if you're at a restaurant and someone's choking on something, that's when you need someone to take over the room and implement the Heimlich Maneuver. It's not a time for... To, Greens get all together and figure out, [chuckle] "Who can do it the best way? Who's the strongest? Who's done it last? Let's all take a vote." That's the moment where we need this very Red, healthy Red style of leadership to come into the room. When an organization is dying, we might need to be looking for more dictator leadership. Even if it might be a hit or miss, it still is a necessary component to that stage, of what an organization might require.
0:37:17.6 Tina: Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And I think some of the questions... So, one of the theories around tier two leadership is that, an organization in order to truly be tier two, has to have a leading executive, whatever role that's called, CEO or the like, who holds a tier two perspective, and also, whoever controls the money has to hold a tier two perspective. That's a big ask right now. There is a very small percentage of humanity who's genuinely holding a tier two integral perspective on life and able to hold that enough to create an organization from that place. And so, one of the things that we like to talk about is horizontal and vertical growth within your organization. So for example, if you self-identify, "Oh, our organization is really Green." A, number one, awesome. Because that is way healthier, chances are, than an overly Orange organization that's still in extraction mentality.
0:38:21.8 Tina: You've seen that things like triple bottom line or however you personally refer to it as, conscious capitalism type stuff, social enterprise, the terminology that you all are using, is that integrative terminology of, the planet matters, the community matters, the suppliers matter, the employees matter, the customers matter, the organization's health itself matters. And that is a huge leap from, it's always a growth trajectory, it's always an extraction, and if not, then something's terribly wrong. And on it goes. But within that, you say, "Okay, we're really Green right now, how can we become the healthiest version of Green by using the health of the prior stages to bolster us up instead of falsely trying to put ourselves at tier two, when we're genuinely not ready to train up everybody to have self-managing teams, to fully own... Another element of tier two is evolutionary purpose, and what that looks like is that every member of the organization is personally responsible to be making these decisions to be bringing the organization's purpose to life.
0:39:35.4 Tina: And that might be possible in moments for a lot of organizations right now, but organizations on a whole, how many really hold that trust that every single member aligns up enough to evolutionary purpose that they're not gonna make rash decisions on stress triggers, and that they actually are gonna calm themselves down enough and really be in a focus-centered place to make every decision, big and small? So it's an aspirational view for a lot, but what you can do right now is really grow your health horizontally by looking up and down the spiral and seeing where the health of the other stages... For example, when we do have to pull a power move, how can that power be the most healthy, the most heart-centered, the most aligned to our values, and be only happening when it's a Heimlich situation, instead of it just becoming the default way of ordering everybody around and then you just have another dominator hierarchy?
David: Well I hope you enjoyed listening and learning about Spiral Dynamics as much as I did during this first part of the interview. Join us again in two weeks as we listen to the second half, unpacking how the framework can help us be better leaders in our organizations. Take care everyone.