Ah yes, excellent question. First, lets be really clear on Laloux’s work, which he addressed to me personally. Laloux has not done any cognitive or developmental testing on the CEO’s in his book. I have a long background in developmental psychology and testing. Some of the top researchers in the field are my close friends. It is not possible to guess what level people are at. When we guess, we just use familiar stereotypes, based on meme sets, to place people into levels. It is not true, for example from the research that people at higher cognitive or deelopmental levels will agree on the same meme set. My colleagues and friends are deep into the research on different assessments, such as Lectica, iLDP, and TLC — and find there is little or no correlation between meme-stack, value-set, reactivity, and cognitive development. For me, it is crucial for the “teal movement” to become more rigorous in what they are talking about. So at best, Laloux is working with a metaphoric reference and using it to stereotype people.

I encourage all of you to take a Lectica assessment test or the iLDP — it can be very revealing to compare your scores!

So.. having said that,
There are a lot of reasons why I don’t believe the highest levels of developmental complexity are important to do this work. Here are some:

  1. People at the highest levels tend to project the complexity in their minds onto the world and miss concrete details that make all the difference
  2. If you make a small mistake at the local level, this exponentially complexifies the problem at higher levels of complexity-thinking
  3. Every smart CEO can smell what I call “developmental overshoot” — it is when the hockey-stick curve begins to flatten out. It is easily understood as when you the 80–20% rule turns into the 20% return for 80% more investment. When we think of this overshoot in terms of an information economy, then we see that the drivers that create hyper-complexity thinking, have passed the point of overshoot. By their own data, only 1–3% of professionals ever reach the 4th and 5th orders of consciousness- (a law of diminishing returns). We are looking at the situation where we are trying to do more of the same, bigger and better — when development *in the same direction* is the problem. We need to switch to a different way of being, from a new orientation of being.
  4. Those who assume that development is crucial, are stuck in the paradigm of individual leader, and the irrealist notion that leaders lead what people are doing. This is reductive of what is actually happening human groups.
  5. Most people score at the mid-range levels of experts and achievers. Our problems today require the kinds of knowledge-practice that experts and achievers have. They just don’t know how to collaborate. Yet people who score at the higher levels, are less likely to be collaborative with each other.
  6. IMO, everything comes down to structural problems in our organizations. Moving to more open, participatory practices, and helping people be reflexive rather than reactive … these have to be implemented simultaneous.

I could say a lot more, but this is, afterall, a comment, not a book :-)

Thanks for asking

Releasing complexity, source code solutions, training post-formal actors, next generation leadership, sensemaking, open participatory organizations

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