These Innovative Values are Changing Business
There are innovative values emerging in business and they are changing the way we do things.
When I was first introduced to Spiral Dynamics, I was hooked. Working in sales it proved to be a simple and effective method to quickly identify what values were important to a prospect or client. And with the right power questions I knew how to direct my sales conversation to achieve a successful outcome. I not only use this model in selling myself, but it is one of the core topics in the curriculum when I’m training business owners in sales.
If you haven’t heard of Spiral Dynamics, then you aren’t alone.
Your eyes may begin to glaze over as I provide a bit of background and try to explain the theory but please bear with me.
Spiral Dynamics was first initiated in the 1960’s (yes, it has been around for a while) through extensive research performed by Psychology Professor, Clare W Graves. Graves was captivated by the question, “What is healthy, mature, human behaviour?” He combined this with the idea that all humans want to be right in almost every area of their lives; may it be in the field of politics, religion, sport, gender, marriage and many other areas.
Graves’ work was so pioneering that he didn’t fit into defined theories of the time.
Graves called the innovative values of his theory ‘The emergent, cyclical, double-helix theory of adult bio psychosocial systems development’, or, in short ‘Levels of Existence Theory’.
Are you still with me?
Spiral Dynamics argues that human nature is not fixed and when forced by life conditions. People adapt by constructing new, more complex models of the world. These models allow them to handle the new problems, enabling them to ‘move up’ through the levels within the spiral.
Okay, so how will Spiral Dynamics help you with sales?
I know that when I’m trying to get past a Level 4 or Blue gatekeeper, that I have to quote the rules and list any ‘perks’ in according to rank. That if I come across a business where there is categorical descriptions of duties, rights and responsibilities and uniform standards, my conversations need to stress the should and oughts, and be careful not to leave out details.
As Level 5 or Orange in the Spiral represent about 30% of the world population and has over 50% of the world power. I know that calculating personal advantage is important. And that motivation is more about economics and personal prestige rather than loyalty, group belongingness or life employment. When working with the Orange values you will find that competition improves productivity and fosters growth. This level is the most dominant in Western Society today so many of the prospects you will deal with daily will fit into the Orange value system.
Focus on Goals and Reward
In the sales conversation focus on goals and reward, cost effectiveness and profits with the Orange. Provide options and alternative choices to find the best answers. Do imply personal advantage and don’t ever quote “what the book says”.
With just these couple of explanations you can probably see just how valuable understanding the spiral would be for your business…and anywhere you are dealing with other people in fact.
What I also particularly find interesting is that although we may have moved through one level to the next in the spiral, we can still relate (and revert) to previous levels when in stressful situations.
I’ll put my hand up for reverting to Red (3rd level) when a person ran into my car recently after driving dangerously in a car park. I went on a verbal rant. Her response although not deliberate, was perfect for a person in my frame of mind and successfully defused the Red in me immediately with her obvious distress. This was because I don’t usually live in Red, but at that flash in time, was behaving like a Red. I immediately went into a consolatory mode and was more concerned about her needs instead of the damage to my vehicle.
My disclaimer for my Red moment – after a serious car accident where a semi and digger collided with me on the motorway at 100klm per hour a couple of years ago, it was my automatic response.
Connect with a Value System
Understanding all levels of these innovative values in the spiral is invaluable to anyone working in business. They show us how to influence other people through connecting with their value system.
Although Spiral Dynamics has been adapted successfully by world leaders such as Nelson Mandela to unify South Africa by better understanding human nature and has been available to the world since the 1960’s, the model is certainly innovative.
Spiral Dynamics is continually evolving as humanity is faced with changing world conditions.
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