Color differentiation of staff

    Have you noticed that some departments in your organization speak different languages? Bookkeeping, sales, IT-department - as if from different worlds? And while the IT world is usually the most distant and incomprehensible ...

    How to find mutual understanding? How to understand the reasons for this or that behavior, to predict the reaction and find the best approaches for persuading and motivating a particular person?
    Also, this topic may be useful to HR specialists and managers who select staff. How to find people who fit into the existing organization as much as possible? Or, on the contrary, how to “update” the staff or “living conditions” in order to move the company to a new level?

    The answers to these questions can be clarified using the theory of spiral dynamics, which is now put on a par with the theory of systems and the theory of chaos. The author of the theory is Claire W. Graves, an American professor of psychology, who developed the theory thanks to his followers Don Beck and Chris Cowan, whose book Spiral Dynamics: Managing Values, Leadership and Change in the 21st Century is also available in Russian.

    What is Mem and cMem?

    If the phrase at the beginning of the headline caused you recognition, perhaps a smile, a number of associations - you remembered certain images, characteristic sounds and most importantly - the atmosphere - then this Mem is familiar to you. And this one may not be familiar, but another one is well recognizable - for example, the ordinary number 42 - can cause any kind of association, but for some people it includes a whole philosophy of peace and lifestyle ... And the list of examples can be continued indefinitely - how many generations there were, social, ethnic, professional groups - so many sets of Memes can be found.

    Memes are “self-propagating patterns of information that spread themselves ...” (Richard Dawkins). As Don Beck and Chris Cowan write, “Like an intelligent virus, Mem propagates through various concepts, such as clothing styles, new words in the language, popular culture standards, architectural design, art forms, religious expressions, social movements, economic models and moral imperatives. relative to how life should be built. " A more generalized level of Memes is cmemes - value Memes, dynamic structures related to living conditions that determine our system of values ​​and beliefs, and affect decision making.

    Spiral Dynamics

    Without going into details, we describe the basic ideas necessary for understanding and applying spiral dynamics.
    Under the influence of the Conditions of Life (S), cmemes tend to change in a certain sequence (“develop, rise, regress, or subside in the end”). Moreover, both historically (in generations of people, in individual countries), and in the process of life, a person goes through various levels. The currently dominant level determines the worldview and behavior of a person. All the levels passed below are available to him and can occur in various situations. Levels of a higher order are inaccessible to understanding and acceptance, cause resistance until the Living Conditions change and the person is ready for the transition.

    For ease of use, colors are assigned to the CMEM levels, associatively reflecting the specifics of this level. In addition, two poles can be distinguished on a spiral - “I” and “We”, and these poles are successively replaced. The first 6 levels make up the first order of the spiral, the “Existence” chain, and then the second order levels of the “Being” chain begin.

    So, we will begin the journey from the very first level - BEIGE, at the “I” pole. This is the level of survival that is characteristic of primitive man, which is now found in infants, people with mental illness, and in victims of war. Only basic needs are relevant - in food, water, heat, sex and safety.

    With an increase in strength and knowledge, people move to the pole “We”, at the PURPLE level, begin to unite in families, clans, teams. Rituals, as well as reverence for sacred places, objects, memories, help maintain peace and comfort. This "magical" and "family" cMEM is still relevant in families where traditions are respected, in "family" type corporations, in sports teams. If you have a family photo on the table, a travel magnet on the refrigerator, and a security amulet on the keychain, these are manifestations of the violet level.

    And the time comes when strong Alphes grow in the tribe, hungry for conquest. And the cult of the Force begins, the RED level, the pole "I", pronounced egocentrism. Each of us passed this level in 2-3 years, and possibly in the teenage period, and in the "wild market" this level still dominates. Who has power and money is right. Often the sales team is based on this level.

    With the accumulation of power and power, there is a need for stability and order, and then society moves to the BLUE level, the pole "We", or rather, even the "System". Blue organizations are hierarchical and clearly structured, strict discipline and self-discipline are natural. Everyone knows their place and works for a great purpose. A vivid example is the church and military organizations, a traditional school and state enterprises, accounting and personnel records management. If your company is just beginning to enter job descriptions and electronic keys to control the operating time, then you are at the beginning of the transition to the blue level.

    The blue hierarchy is either destroyed by the recession to the red level (as has been repeatedly done in our country), or moves to the next level - ORANGE, created by entrepreneurs and "achievers". The world is full of resources and opportunities, the one who impresses the most successful wins the competition. Orange strives for self-development: certification trainings, motivational seminars, personal coaching are necessary to be among the best.

    The race for success sometimes leads to a sudden understanding that there are higher priority values, and the spiral again sways in the direction of "We" - to the GREEN level. Team, mutual understanding, social network come to the fore. Equal opportunities for the development and growth of everyone, the protection of human rights and the environment as a whole is more important than economic benefits. The green level is typical of social projects, and is increasingly evident in North European organizations.

    The following levels begin the second order of the spiral, the cmemes of "Being."

    The YELLOW level, according to D. Beck and K. Kovan, began to emerge about 50 years ago, with the advent of global information technologies, the theory of chaos (synergetics). Yellow is flexible and free, he is ready to learn at any time and from any source, "adjusting" to the levels of the first order. Interest and creativity, competence and functionality, gaining personal freedom without prejudice to others come to the fore. It is easier for yellow to understand and accept people and organizations with dominant first-order levels than vice versa, to be accepted by them. Often this determines the difficulty of adapting talented IT-specialists in the “red” and “blue” organizations.

    The TURQUOISE level is still rarely seen in ordinary organizations, and a good illustration of it (the interweaving of the symmetrical second levels of the spiral - turquoise and purple) can be seen in the movie Avatar by J. Cameron. Everything is imbued with energy and information, and the consequences of my actions are global. Glimpses of turquoise are manifested in our everyday life in the fact that each new generation of children masters modern information technologies more easily and quickly, immediately intuitively knowing what actions need to be performed.

    Of course, the descriptions of the levels are given here only thesis, to deepen the topic, you can read the book, articles by the literary editor of the Russian translation Anatoly Balyaev, as well as materials from other researchers. In addition, Don Beck has repeatedly gathered in Moscow for the training, so there is a chance to personally communicate with the author.

    Practical use

    So, if the picture of the spiral has cleared up, look through this entire spectrum at the organization in which you work, at the various departments and employees, and finally at yourself. Think of the other organizations you worked for. Are the causes of conflict and contradiction becoming more clear? Moreover, the contradictions are almost irreconcilable, since they arise on the basis of values ​​and beliefs, and not objective facts, and, accordingly, are not subject to argumentation.
    It will be interesting to consider examples of organizations with pronounced dominant levels in your comments.

    Diagnostics is the first step in applying the theory of spiral dynamics in practice. The next, more practical step is the forecast. Knowing the current dominant level (or mixed levels), you can predict the reaction to your suggestions and ideas.

    An even more useful step is to foresee this reaction and reformulate your sentences into a value language of the appropriate level. For example, you need arguments to acquire new software.
    1. “According to competitive intelligence, the market leader uses this software, and now we have the opportunity to buy it under the most favorable conditions. Figuratively speaking, while our competitors can only afford the Nine, we will show them our strength by overtaking on Maserati ",
    2. “We have been cooperating with suppliers of this software for many years, which has proved its stability and reliability. To ensure compatibility with the systems of the head office, we need to purchase the next version ... ",
    3. “Our main competitive advantage is the use of the latest, most modern software. Having bought it now, we will occupy a leading position in the market and profit growth of 20%. ”

    I think it will be easy for you to determine to what level these arguments are addressed. Add your examples in the comments.

    Another application is recruitment. At an interview with programmers, we “listen” to the value level of candidates, asking them a simple question - “Imagine as if you were already working on a project, and after 3-4 months you look back - what was the most important thing for you in this?” Also, values ​​and beliefs are heard in other answers of the candidate, it is worth only focusing attention to send through the spectrum of the spiral.
    If you run a company, you can not only select the staff that matches your vision, but also by providing the appropriate “living conditions”, strengthen the manifestation of the desired level. I will share the techniques of “multicolor management” in the following topic.

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