Graves Value System

OnO_Pathfinder_P-S-B_2_Graves-Value-SystemWe know that all people and organisations are different and there are numerous analysis tools to prove this. They can help us make sense of the complexities around us and reach a common understanding, which we can then build on. However, all these tools should be handled with care and in context. The thinking woven into the Systemic Business Pathfinder is based on the work by Clare W. Graves (1914-1986). He developed a theory that he hoped would reconcile the various approaches to human nature and questions about psychological levels of maturity. Prof. Graves theorised that, in response to the interaction of external factors and our internal ‘being’, people and systems react and develop further. It is about mastering existential problems and progressing. Our coping tactics are dependent on individual development and evolving societies and organisations. Clare stated that “man’s nature is not a set thing”, that it is ever emergent, an open system, not a closed one. We like this idea of open-endedness, which sets Graves’s approach apart from that of many of his contemporaries who aimed for a final state. His inclusion of the bio-, psycho-, social and systems theory as vital co-elements helped develop one of the most systemic concepts that is still evolving today. The beauty of his work is that it is incredibly complex yet easily applicable to individuals and management cultures. He identified 9 levels of maturity from which we selected the 4 most relevant to the business world. Graves_Triple-Helix_All Graves’s model can also be found in the “Spiral Dynamics” system of management consultants Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan. They based their 1990s study on the potentially game-changing work that Prof. Clare Graves completed 30 years earlier. They went to great length to make the model more practical and applicable. Their “Spiral Dynamics” (SD) system is a construct for understanding eight (of the nine) interrelated stages or levels of human and cultural maturity. They came up with the idea of giving all levels contrasting colours because each one has its own values, beliefs and world views and operates accordingly. Our approach combines our business experiences and management challenges with the work of renowned thinkers like Christopher CookeFrédéric LalouxKen Wilber, Rainer Krumm and Hartmut Wiehle. We appreciate all the work that has been done in this area and are committed to staying true to its core whilst making it more and more relevant and applicable to the business context. If you are interested in a brief explanation on the 4 main levels, please feel free to watch the video…