The world is currently experiencing rapid change and todays leaders need to develop a more holistic, world-centric and relational approach to make confident decisions in the face of constant uncertainty. Data will always be changing but the relationships between people need to be strong.
Some claim we are witnessing the emergence of a new consciousness and a few people have experienced and written about awakening into this new consciousness. Read Ekhart Tolle “The Power of Now” and reflect on the growth of mindfulness in organisations.
This new consciousness was studied by Rudolph Steiner, Jean Gebser and more recently Ken Wilber and identified as the fifth stage of consciousness referred to as the a-perspectival or integral stage of consciousness which is perceived to be ‘world-centric’ rather than ‘egocentric’.
To put this into an evolutionary context. The first stage of consciousness was when we existed in a zero dimensional world without any awareness of time or space.
The second stage, the Magical, was where we inhabited a one dimensional world where we began to identify as a collective. This was tribal and everything was experienced by all and at one with the environment.
The third stage of consciousness, the Mythical, was when we began to see ourselves as separate from our environment and language and religion began to emerge. We developed two dimensional thinking in which we became aware of time but not space.
The fourth stage of consciousness, the Mental is when we developed three dimensional thinking and were aware of space and time. We became capable of abstract thought and seeing ourselves as individuals.
The emergent stage is the fifth where we begin to inhabit a fourth dimensional world which is essentially spiritual in nature. Love becomes the driving force behind spirituality. This is called the Integral as it integrates all the earlier stages of consciousness and in some ways can be seen as a return to pure consciousness.
Each of the earlier stages ended when its shadow side grew to render it unsustainable and the breaking down was characterised by chaos. We are now witnessing the world escalating in complexity and ever increasing speed of change and there is evidence that this new fifth stage of consciousness is emerging.
Gebser and Steiner identified this a-perspectival and integral consciousness gradually emerging over the last five hundred years. The transition time between stages is decreasing. The earlier stage transitions took billions of years and now it is taking hundreds. The final stage of transition is when it reaches critical mass and tipping point into the new consciousness. Today for the first time ever we can see all the stages of consciousness functioning throughout the world. I believe this is fuelling an integration of all the stages and tipping us into the integral perspectival stage.
We are witnessing the merging of east and west philosophies, religions and practices. How many organisational leaders are becoming interested and even participating in activities such as yoga, holistic medicine and meditation? Research shows that participating in these practices can expand individual consciousness and may be contribute to a universal shift. Its interesting that in research such as Frederik Laloux’s “Reinventing Organisations” he studies some of the fastest growing most productive organisations that he refers to as Teal and he notes that the leaders are balancing board room and meditation mat.
At a time when the world needs leaders that can hold the paradox and uncertainty that we live in we can take heart to learn that this new consciousness is manifesting in organisations and groups and leadership and organisational structures are changing.
Of the twelve organisations that Frederic Laloux studied that he believes have expanded their consciousness into a new management paradigm that he refers to as the Teal stage. Ken Wilber confirms and expands on this, claiming that these organisations are driven by an extraordinary transformation in consciousness that is occurring around the world and he praises Laloux’s work for being written from an ‘Integral’ perspective which is grounded in a sophisticated understanding of evolutionary and developmental theory.
Laloux believes that we can create environments that support the growth into the later stages of consciousness and that people are more likely to make the transition if they are surrounded by others who already see the world from a more complex perspective.
He quotes Clare Graves, William Torbert and Suzanne Cook-Greuter’s research as showing that the higher the leader’s stage of consciousness the higher the organisations level of productivity and success. Laloux only studied companies with over 100 employees so I’m wondering, considering the advances in technology, what other new structures or networks of enterprise might be emerging that he missed.
If we look at action logics and the Harthill research the Achiever stage is still the predominant action logic for leaders in Western culture and from a limited sample of self-selecting UK managers and consultants in 2015 only 10% had reached the Strategist stage and 0.9% had reached the Alchemist stage. Current evidence shows that this is accelerating and transformational coaching can support leaders to make this transition.
If organisations are beginning to function from the Teal stage (Integral consciousness) and people are more likely to make the shift when in the company of higher evolved peers then these organisations and transformational leaders might be fuelling an acceleration into the new Integral consciousness in which the planet will be perceived as a single ecosystem. I take hope that enough transformational leaders will transition to ensure the future of humanity.
Igniting Mind provides transformational coaching for leadership development. We are authorised users of the Harthill Leadership Development profile which will identify your predominant action logic and detect transition into a later stage.
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