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Spiral Dynamics in Action
Discussion with Dr. Don Beck and Dr. Ichak Adizes
By Dr. Darrell Gooden
Dr. Adizes of the Adizes Institute and Dr. Beck of Spiral Dynamics integral first met over 20 years ago during a Young Presidents Organization (YPO) event in Arizona. Since then the Adizes Institute and Spiral Dynamics integral have collaborated and contributed to the development of each other’s respective methodologies. 

In celebration of Dr. Beck's latest book, "Spiral Dynamics in Action, Humanity’s Master Code" I interviewed both authors and thought leaders to shed some light on how this collaboration came into being. The following are excerpts from that conversation.
Dr. Gooden: Dr. Adizes, what was your first impression of Spiral Dynamics and how did you come to understand its value?

Dr. Adizes: When I listened to Dr. Beck’s presentation on Spiral Dynamics and learned of Clair Graves model of the evolution of value systems, I saw the power behind it and I was very impressed with it. I didn't know what to do with it until I worked with a company and I was having difficulty and I didn't know why. Then it dawned on me, that I was pushing a little bit of a red culture, red value system, because they were stuck, and they needed to move the company forward. But, the company and the founders came from a green value system and that created a lot of conflict between myself and the founders of that company. That is when I decided that every Adizes Associate needed to be trained in Spiral Dynamics. Without Spiral Dynamics we really don't have the tools to fully understand the company from a values perspective. And if you want to really understand a company, and move it from one stage to the next, which is really a value change, we better understand Spiral Dynamics. So, that is the time when it really hit me, operationally, how much we need it. Today, all Adizes associates speak in terms of Spiral Dynamics colors and we adapt how we treat our clients based on their value fingerprint.
I can tell you that it definitely has had an impact on our work. I even added the concept of values in some of our tools so that we could directly address the spiral in our work. This way we make sure that we don't ignore values. So, Spiral Dynamics has had a direct impact on the Adizes methodology. Once I realized that this was an area where we were weak, I changed it so that we could better understand the client needs. We added the value system into the diagnostic process. Now, by understand where a client is on the Spiral we are able to adapt how we treat. This was a very important contribution and today, whenever we have to, our associates can converse in terms of values because of their Spiral Dynamics training from Dr. Beck.

Dr. Gooden: Dr. Beck, what parts of the Adizes methodology have your found helpful in your practice?

Dr. Beck: “The Adizes concept of “CAPI” (which stands for Coalesced Authority Power and Influence) is a critical piece of our system, and of course, what produces “CAPI” is the whole concept of how a system develops through the lifecycle to what's called “prime.” So, the huge amount of literature that Dr. Adizes has gathered together over many, many years, gave us a process, a direction, and a trajectory - That's why I was so intrigued by it. And Dr. Adizes provides a very concrete, hands on approach that doesn't fool around. He gives operational definitions about change. That's what I like about it. 
I wrote a sports values column for the Dallas morning news for seven years. And I think I wrote about seven different columns on Dr. Adizes’ life cycles. As the national football league was experiencing a strike, it had no idea why, so I was able to translate the lifecycle model for football coaches. So, my sports fandom became full of Dr. Adizes’ insights. 

Dr. Gooden: Dr. Beck, can you tell us about your new book, "Spiral Dynamics in Action, Humanities Master Code" and what motivated you to write it?

Dr. Beck: The publisher of the my original spiral dynamics book called me and said, "We want to do a sequel." While I did not want to mess with the original I did think there was room for a practical book with real life stories and real examples of people. The publisher approved of the idea and I found a funding source for it. So, I could afford to do it. As that book emerged, I really got my mind around the combination of spirals and cycles. And that's why I called it “Humanities Master Code.” 

Dr. Gooden: I understand you included a chapter on the Adizes methodology in your book. Can you tell us more about why you did that?

Dr. Beck: I started using the term master code in Spiral Dynamics in Action, Humanities Master Code because I wanted to present the big picture of how to solve problems on a large scale, and Adizes is part of that big picture. Adizes is part of the master code because it provides a processes for change through cycles, and through maturity levels. It's part of the master code.

Dr. Gooden: Dr. Adizes do you have any final words?
Just that I'm very happy to have this dialog because Dr. Beck and I go back at least 20 years and have both had careers spanning over 40 years. We have known each other for a long time. I was always very, very much moved by his work. His dedication. So I'm very happy.

Dr. Gooden: Dr. Beck, any closing remarks from your end?
There are plenty of examples, what we call natural design, that are beginning to flourish around the world as self help, as distribution of power, and respect for others, and I think the millennial kids are going to demand it. We are going to have to reinvent a lot of our processes and so, one of my goals has always been to introduce Adizes to the wider American audience. Because I think the time has come and one of my not so hidden objectives is to play a role in that. So, I'm pleased to see what's happening in Adizes and I think that our work together will have an impact.
Dr. Gooden is a Certified Adizes Associate, a "Spiral Dynamics Wizard" and has taught the Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) Cultural Change Management course at the Adizes Graduate Institute.

The above conversation was transcribed by Thomas Johns and Edited by Shoham Adizes
Dr. Beck's latest book, Spiral Dynamics in Action by Prof. Don Edward Beck (Author),‎ Teddy Hebo Larsen (Author),‎ Sergey Solonin (Author),‎ Dr. Rica Viljoen (Author),‎ Thomas Q. Johns (Author) is available at a book store near you and online here .
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