Vertical Development

“Seeking the ideal has a long history, it produces many saints but few paradigm changes”. Dave Snowden

At EZCP we work with developmental models, since they are helpful in many ways. We draw on models from different researchers, such as Susanne Cook-Greuter (ego development), Bill Torbert (action logics), Robert Kegan (orders of consciousness) or Theo Dawson and her team (Lectica).

We work with developmental models where they are adequate, in order to cope with ever increasing complexity in the VUCA world. We do not teach people to think at higher levels. “Higher levels of performance emerge when knowledge is adequately elaborated and the environment supports higher levels of thinking and performance. We focus on helping people to think better at their current level and challenging them to elaborate their current knowledge and skills”  (Theo Dawson).

At EZC.Partners we help people towards their potential vertical development through work on fundamental skills, like the ability to feel, the ability to direct one’s attention, to dis-identify from previously held viewpoints and identities,  the ability to integrate projections and shadow material. We teach them the ability to take, seek and coordinate perspectives. This work is directed inwards, bottomwards, lateral, around, but not “up”. In this sense, vertical development is a peculiar by-product of this work. In fact, we have found, that an over-emphasis of vertical development as “growth” is often both counter-productive and partial.

This is why we hold “developmental logics” lightly, as so many people are mistaking vertical development as the ‘growth to goodness” and  the ‘ladder of development’ as the only way to learning, which is isn’t.

Leaving the Developmental Ladder 

We complement the competitive race for escalating complexity with working from a differnt view.

We work with principles and designs that reduce and release artificial complexity, rendering systems organic and natural, like the elegant complexity of a forest. We reframe and innovate notions of work, leadership or collaboration in order to come up with new emergent features, topics, behaviors, organizations, governance structures, and businesses. Our favorite partner in this is Bonnitta Roy (App Associates Intl.) with OPO/ Open Participatory Organizations. See her blogs  on view here.

For any questions, comments and discussions, please contact us, we are looking forward to an exchange on this.



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