…. or – to quote a well-known saying – fear gives wings!

Fear is going around in these days of the pandemic threat, is stirred up by daily bad news and even stricter regulations and measures. Fear makes us nervous, stressed, insecure and open to manipulation. Our body releases stress hormones. It is medically proven that our immune system as well as our creative thinking power is severely weakened.

However, fear can be the door opener and signpost to the development of creativity, our ability to experience adventure, to find ways out and solutions, to grow beyond ourselves. Fear can activate powerful resources of strength and enable us to achieve things that would not be possible without fear. This is exactly what the current times demand of us. Vivian Dittmar, the emotion expert, describes how this is possible. She has done groundbreaking work and written books on emotional intelligence, how to deal with emotions and how they can support us when we understand how to deal with them.

We are in the midst of a fundamental transformation, both globally and as humanity. Ancient shamanic people already knew that this time would come, and so did the psychologist Claire Graves, who in the 1980s laid the foundation for Spiral Dynamics, a consciousness level model that is very helpful to better understand what is happening in the world and in our organizations. He said in the 1980’s: “Humanity is preparing for a momentuous leap“.

Ecological crises and also the current virus crisis indicate that many things have gotten out of hand. That we become insecure and feel fear is actually normal under such conditions. We have to leave our comfort zone and develop ourselves.

So how can we learn to use fear creatively?

The current situation clearly shows that the old and proven no longer works. A new world is emerging in the background, but it is not really visible and tangible yet. So we are forced to let go of something old without having already found new ground. And at the same time we have to ask the question: “Where does real innovation come from to create this new world?

We work with the integral model of Ken Wilber and Spiral Dynamics by Claire Graves. We combine these two models in an integral organizational map. The integral model shows very well that we have to develop new competencies in order to master the current challenges.

Our current, familiar mindset will not help us to find truly new solutions. So we are challenged to enter unknown territory, to endure the uncertainty, to develop a sense for the future and for wider spaces, and an ability to deal with the not-knowing. Our mindset needs an update from the future, so to speak. Those who are familiar with Otto Scharmer’s Theory-U know that there are already processes and tools for this.

We call them change competence, development competence and innovation competence. In order to navigate our steamships safely through transformation, whether they are corporations, SMEs or population groups and nations, these new competencies may be crucial.

In our Training Innovation Coaching we work together to develop these new competencies based on the background of the Integral Vision. The question is: “What do we need inside and outside to create something new?”

We learn together how to better understand the current situation and see it in a wider context. We practice to be fully present in the present moment. In this way we can relate more precisely to the current situation and find new solutions in co-creation and in creation from the intuitive space of the future.

Cynthia from the Sayling Wen Foundation in Taipeh called us in summer 2019 and said: “We want to make Taiwan Teal, can you support us?”

Wow, what a task! How about making the planet Teal?

After many questions to find out if they knew what they were asking for, Szabolcs and I went to Taipeh in early November 2019, attending a two day conference organized by the Sayling Wen Foundation. On day one there were several presentations on the topic of future work and agility. On day two Szabolcs and I presented the elements and the concept of the ReinventingOrgs Map. There were approximately 60 attendees, mostly leaders, directors or HR people from mid-sized and large enterprises. We did not simply teach the concepts, but go through many exercises with the goal of giving people the opportunity to feel the quadrants and the levels of the spiral. For the preparation, our translator had to translate the map to Chinese. We started the day with a meditation.

Teresa YL Lin,  CEO of Sayling Wen Cultural Foundation, attended the full workshop.

The noble goal of the Sayling Wen Foundation was to make the Teal Concept (as per Frederic Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organizations”) known in Taiwan and to provide support for the organizational world in developing and moving forward into new ways of working. The audience was diverse and interesting. Their questions and comments showed, that the challenges organizations face are not so different from what we find in Europe.

The crowd was simply amazing. Even though we had the additional challenge of language barrier, working with two translators, they were so open, vital and enthusiastic about diving into new areas of perception and thinking, that it was a pleasure and made it easy for us to also dive into the field and transmitting what was showing up for all of us.

We didn’t know what would expect us. We had both never been in Taiwan, nor in China and we had no idea of what kind of people would show up. The experience was very special for us. We felt so familiar and well from the first moment we arrived in Taipeh and all throughout the week. Our preparation workshops were creative and efficient, with a very natural alignment. Same with the audience. The workshops ran like a breeze, as if we had been doing this many times before. People engaged deeply and on a very open and personal level and also openly shared their insights within the group.

So what did I learn?

As you can see, we enjoyed the work in Taiwan. And in the back of Szabolcs you can see what the map looks like in Chinese. I was impressed by the openness and the enthusiasm that I found in these people. The eagerness to evolve and to share their best with the world, the eagerness to contribute to the evolution not only of the organizational world but of the world and the people in general. They understood that evolving means to start with yourself, and be willing to connect with an open heart. And connect with an open heart they did.

So I think, when people connect openly on a heart level, cultural and other differences fall apart, we are all the same, we are all human beings, we share doubts and hopes, we share love and compassion and we are more than willing to bring our best part to the table.

My reflections

Taiwan is in the tension between Hong Kong and China. There is a saying in Taiwan which goes “The Hong Kong of Today is the Taiwan of Tomorrow”. So they are closely watching what is happening in Hong Kong these days. The control and manipulative rules in Taiwan from the government and China can be felt strongly. it is a country at the mercy of another. But to be honest, when I look at what is going on in Europe, in my country Switzerland specifically, there is also a lot of manipulation going on. The government does often not act in favour of the people. What drives their agenda is the economy, the global and local players and profit (their profit). In my opinion they are even willing to sacrifice the health of the people and nature in dramatic ways for the sake of money. And by controlling the main media they brainwash the people successfully.

So I believe that on a collective consciousness level all mankind is in a similar phase. The manipulative forces show a bit differently in Europe, the make up is a bit nicer, but that doesn’t change the fact that is is manipulative and not in service of the people. Now people are more and more becoming ready to wake up, to take more responsibility for themselves and for their environment and for all people. So resistance towards manipulative forces will increase and people eventually break free. It is time to wake up, reclaim the planet and live a free and creative life. That is evolution, it is, what the spiral is hinting to.

What does that have to do with the map?

The understanding that usually comes when working with the integral map helps a lot to bridge and balance polarities and different perspectives and opinions. Looking at our evolution from such a high level perspective and understanding in what great transformation we all are helps a lot to get out of resistance, competition and fights and meet each other with respect and an open heart. That makes all the difference. This is why I love this work so much. I believe the more people operate from such an integral understanding the more harmonious our planetary transformation can develop.

Often with cultural transformations of organizations it is difficult to get finance on board. Many have no idea, how it could be possible to make the budget and investment process leaner without going down the drain. We all know the hectic towards the end of the year, the time, energy and money that is “wasted” with these processes. Wouldn’t it be nice, if Business Agility had new solutions for these challenges?

This article discusses some interesting cases that clearly show that this is possible and that there are alternatives.

Link to the article on  LinkedIn

Experience shows, that sustainable transformational processes can only succeed, when the individual potential of the employees and the interpersonal potential of the organization is activated.

This article shows, what that means and presents a model, how this process can be approached holistically.

When trying to apply the methods that have proven to be successful in software development to the organization as a whole, one quickly encounters limitations. The reason for this is that agile methods are not compatible with every organizational culture. What works well in an IT department may encounter structures and processes in other parts of the organization that collide with agile principles. Examples include traditional purchasing policies, which are often very cumbersome and centralized, or the often equally centralized financial and budget policies, with forecasts that have to be made for the next three (or in some cases four to five) years.

Wouldn’t it be convenient to have a good map, as well as a suitable travel guide and compass, on this long and eventful journey of cultural transformation, with all its unforeseen surprises?

We have introduced method X (insert as you like) perfectly, why does it not work?

A common misconception when introducing so-called “business agility” is the assumption that processes can control the transformation. One may think that if the organization succeeds in introducing Holacracy or SAFe perfectly according to the textbook, then all problems are solved and the organization is agile. If it then fails, it is often assumed that it is because the chosen method was wrong.

How can the integral model help?

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. And with this insight the real work starts. Helpful on the way to a deeper understanding is the integral model of Ken Wilber. Combined with Spiral Dynamics, a consiousness level model which we will discuss briefly below, it serves as the basis for the integral map that will help us to find orientation and navigate the transformation.


The picture shows the four quadrants of the model.

The Quadrants on the left – Inside

On the left are the so-called “inner” quadrants. The quadrant in the upper left corner represents the inside of the individual. It is about our personal values, feelings, attitudes, thoughts, about who we are and want to be, our fears, our trust.

The lower left quadrant represents the inside of the collective, in our case the whole organisation. It is about who we want to be as an organization, how we define ourselves, what visions and common values we have and if and how we live them. It’s about our attitude to work, our willingness to change and the culture of communication we cultivate. This is the area in which we work when it comes to the cultural merging of two organisations or departments or to change and development.


The Quadrants on the right – Outside

On the right side are the “outer” quadrants. In the upper right corner is the exterior of the individual. This is about the behavior, the abilities, the appearance, the behavior, our self-management as well as leadership and conflict behavior, it’s about how the outside world perceives us.

The quadrant on the bottom right represents the exterior of the collective. In the case of an organization it is about the form of organization, the business model, the structure of the organization, the processes, the handling of finances and resources, the technologies, processes and methods used. In this quadrant we find agile methods if used. Similar to the above, it represents how we are perceived as an organization from the outside.

Methods used must be adapted to the organizational culture

We can see from the diagram that methods, structures and processes belong in the lower right-hand corner. The decision to use an agile method and the choice of the most suitable one therefore belong in this lower right quadrant. However, the introduction and implementation of the chosen method will only succeed and be sustainable if the culture of the organization allows it or is developed to this end. This inner orientation belongs in the lower left quadrant.

Experience shows that all four quadrants must be equally considered if the method is to have a sustainable effect. Only then will the “soft facts” of the left-hand quadrants, which are often neglected in our corporate culture, be given the value they deserve.

If too little respect is paid to this fundamental aspect of balance from within and without, the result will be that there is a lot of sand in the gears, the agile “project” will not progress and in many cases will be abandoned at some point. Under the motto “it just doesn’t work after all”.

An example

In reality there are many variations and different gradations. The following example describes in a placative way what happens daily.

A few years ago Scrum was introduced in a company’s software development department. It worked well, so that Scrum was introduced in other IT teams. When this step was also very successful, the call was made to introduce this method in other areas of the company as well, in order to extend the increased effectiveness to the entire organization.

No sooner said than done. But there were many departments that were very traditional and rather conservative in their approach. Clear hierarchies, strict rules, complicated and lengthy processes, blatant measures in case of errors or failure to follow instructions, rewarding the obedient – we know what it’s like. People who work in such structures are used to taking orders, not questioning anything, not having an opinion of their own and simply working through what ends up on their desk or in their inbox. They don’t think along and they don’t feel responsible for the result.

Then suddenly – perhaps triggered by a change in management – there is the instruction to make the organisation as a whole agile. The experienced Scrum people, having successfully introduced Scrum in the IT department, are now supposed to introduce Scrum in departments where work is done under completely different conditions. After initial information seminars, in-depth Scrum training is conducted for these employees.

These employees, who for years were trained neither to think nor to bring in their own ideas, are now expected to operate the toggle switch and become agile overnight. From one day to the next they are expected to understand how creative it can be to communicate openly, to give and receive feedback (including explicit appreciation), to make decisions and make mistakes, and how it feels to be responsible for the steps and results that they have worked out and developed together with their teams.

The famous Mindshift – from inside to outside

Cultural transformation means the movement from the inside out and stands for the much-cited mindshift. The explanation can be seen in the picture with the quadrant model.

Mindshift in the organization means:

  1. As an organization, to become aware of where you are (map – you are here!).
  2. To define together where you want to go.
  3. To find an organic way to move there as an overall organization.

With this perspective it becomes clear that it is not always the same method that leads best to the goal. The choice of measures necessary for further development depends on where you are today. The conventional team described above first of all needs training in the area of personality development and communication in order to be able to move and prove themselves in this new, agile culture.

In an agile world, defining objectives for an organization means working together to develop them. Nothing is prescribed from top to bottom by the management. And depending on where the management stands today, further training, personality development and conscious rethinking are also needed at this level.

Spiral Dynamics creates Transparency

In the holistic approach, Spiral Dynamics is now used to create the map and the next steps and is laid over the quadrants. Spiral Dynamics is a very differentiated consciousness level model that Ken Wilber also works with. It describes the development of human consciousness, was originally developed by the psychologist Clare Graves and is used today in many ways in the organizational environment. So-called lines of development are laid across the quadrants.

Let’s look at the values in the lower left quadrant, for example. How do we as an organisation deal with loyalty and what does loyalty mean to us? Are we committed to loyalty to our boss or to our department? Is it “us against all others” or are we committed to the organization as a whole? Or do we belong to a larger community and feel committed to social and sustainable values that we would not sacrifice for anything, not even for our organization?

This example also shows how misunderstandings and disputes can quickly arise within a team when loyalty is not defined jointly and team members have different views on loyalty because they look at the value from a different level of the consiousness model. Everyone then thinks that the other is not loyal.

As another example from the lower left quadrant we can take the handling of finances. Do we invest in structures and technologies, or rather in growth potential, in sustainable corporate values, or even in future potential? Again, depending from which consciousness level on we make such choices, changes the choice we make.

Such specific topics, which can now be looked at in detail, are called lines of development. There are many possible lines per quadrant. In each case, those topics and lines are chosen that have a high priority for the current situation.

Using the Integral Map

If we want to use the model as a map, we define some lines of development for each quadrant that are relevant to the current issue and consider how we deal with them. This shows us where we stand. The map then shows us what the next sensible steps on the way to our goal might look like.

Ken Wilber’s integral model, combined with the understanding of Spiral Dynamics, provides a versatile, complete and differentiated map. It enables us to orientate ourselves before and during a cultural transformation and to design the meaningful next steps. The refined understanding of change in organizations helps to set targeted and sustainable change impulses for individuals, teams and entire organizations.

Guide for the Map

If you want to delve deeper into these exciting topics, you have the opportunity to attend our basic seminar Innovation Coaching  (in German, if you are interested in an English workshop, please contact us). It provides experience-based information on how to see organizations in a new light and how to design them more consciously. It is offered in three modules of three days each, introduces the basics of the models and shows how they can be implemented in an organization.

The next 1-day workshop, entitled “Business Agility – an integral voyage of discovery”, will take place on June 4 in English and on June 9 in German. It provides a good overview of the contents discussed here and offers ample space for wide-ranging discussions. It can also be booked as a company course and is currently held online.

IPv6 costs a lot but has no advantages? A common misconception in many organizations. IPv6 expert Silvia Hagen explains in this article, that this perspective ignores areas in which IPv4 becomes more and more of a problem where IPv6 brings solutions. Find an overview in this article (German).

Link to Blog (German)

IPv6 is slowly but irresistibly making its way into the Internet and into our networks. In industrial countries, the average user adoption rate is around 30%, Belgium being the leader with over 50%. Over 25% of the Top Alexa 1000 websites are dual-stack, which means, they are reachable over IPv4 and IPv6. On all front pages and in the top news we read about the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. Both technologies use billions of connections between users and devices and are totally interconnected.

Link to the blog

A sensible planning requires a long-term perspective. In many cases, a mindshift is necessary.