We’ve discussed the two mental maps of conventional thinking and of positive possibilities – and how they both can help us navigate the many situations we encounter.

But, if we are honest, isn’t one better than the other? Isn’t there some evolution in our mindsets? The answer to the latter question is yes. Our world views evolve based on our experiences and humankind has had a couple of distinct stages of development, as we shall see.

Is there some evolution in our mindsets? The answer is Yes Click To Tweet

But even though we are evolving, the older mindsets are still present and can be valid, depending on the situation. People and organizations in different stages of development exist at the same time.

Also, when you adopt a new mindset, it doesn’t mean that you abandon the old way of thinking completely. You still have access to it. There will be situations when you’re bilingual and speak both languages, and that will help you see reality from multiple angles and help others do so too.

The Stages of Human Development

Let’s look at the stages of human development as described by Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations.

History shows that humankind made big leaps in development. Researchers agree on these stages: magic/tribal, agrarian/traditional, scientific/industrial, post-modern/information and our current era. Some call this the authentic age, or the integral age.
We changed thinking and technology in each phase. We invented a new organization and management paradigm in each stage. The 21st century will be the fifth time that we’ll leap to a next level.

Red organizations look like one tribe with a chief, they gather, and fight the other tribes – and try to dominate. They are crude and make slaves. You’ll find some remains today as street gangs: they are small, unstable, informal, fear-based. The boss has to constantly inspire fear to stay the boss, just like wolf packs. This was the normal way of collaborating and being in the magic/tribal age.

Even if we are evolving, the older mindsets are still present and may be valid Click To Tweet

Then we created the agrarian revolution, 5000 years ago, and we evolved toward Amber organizations. They have rules, they are structured with one boss, one god, and laws. They are hierarchical and stable. Examples are the catholic church organization, armies, public schools. They invented two breakthroughs: formal hierarchy and replicable processes.
With their levels and reliability, they created cathedrals, irrigation systems – that were unthinkable before…! Their metaphor is: organizations as armies.

The scientific revolution led to Orange organizations. People started to think instead to trust authority blindly. They understood they could make a profit if they were faster and innovative. Here’s the model and mindset of multinationals, Wall Street, consultancy firms. The key breakthroughs were innovation, accountability, and meritocracy.
The metaphor: organizations as machines – people are the engineers.

Our post-modern information age gave birth to Green organizations.
People aren’t just productivity factors – people skills become important in service and collaboration. Culture becomes important – see how Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Ben & Jerry’s consciously built theirs. The assumption: if people are happy and passionate – we’ll be okay as an organization. Their breakthroughs are:
1. value-driven culture
2. empowerment
3. stakeholder model, instead of shareholders alone
This is still ongoing. Green organizations outperform the former stage organizations. Their metaphor is: we are a family.

The Level of Self-Actualization

Next, we’re moving into the 21st century while Teal organizations start to emerge.
Says Laloux: “The next stage of organization development corresponds with Maslow’s level of self-actualization. It has been labeled authentic, integral or Teal. In all stages so far, people considered their world view as the only valid one. Teal is more refined and complex: there are other truths that are valid, too. In Teal, the ego becomes more of a variable, less absolute.

We dis-identify from ego – we resist the need to control, to look good, to fit in. We make room to listen to other wisdom within ourselves and are not automatically reigned by our subconscious fears.

This is book post #29 – ME

Here‘s the earlier post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

Copyright © Marcella Bremer 2017. All rights reserved.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

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