Graham Wilson has a provocative piece on the pitfalls of Spiral Dynamics. I liked his general comments about the dodginess of models applied to people and organisations.
There’s usually three clues that they are little more than marketing hype for one consultant or another – a conveniently packaged way of trying to differentiate themselves:
– The first is that effort has gone into visual design – as if nature would have based itself on a model that needed CAD skills.
– Second is that they always have a fixed number of stages, levels steps, or phases of which there are two schools of thought – either keep it few so people can hope to remember them, or make it many so people are impressed by the complexity.
– Thirdly, stick on a TM, (R), or (C) as a little suffix.
I wonder how many Nobel Prize winning theories had “12 steps”, were printed in colour with neatly overlapping pyramids or circles, and had a TM appended to their name? [ed: The answer is none.]
I’m generally wary of these three steps/seven secrets/twelve levels approaches. They feel like after-the-event tidying up of things that emerge in complex ways, a rewriting of history and a set of filters through which to (mis)understand the present.
Hat tip: Dave Snowden