I wrote this up in 2014 and still talk about it regularly. It is one of the most amazing and comprehensive models I’ve ever come across and it I hope it will blow your mind as much as it has mine. I can see on slide share that it has been viewed over 1000 times, but downloaded over 100 times. People don’t just look at this, they keep it and often refer back to it. There are hundreds of ways to use the model.

It’s very valuable to anyone interested in personal or organisational development.

Be aware, you are where you are. Don’t try to push yourself or pretend to be somewhere you are not. Simply be aware of the level you are playing at, perhaps the level of the people and organisations around. From that awareness, you can make conscious decision to play at your regular, lower or higher value level.


Spiral Dynamics by Adrian Cahill



Spiral Dynamics with Adrian Cahill


Spiral Dynamics by Adrian Cahill




2020 write up, for those concerned about where the world is headed next:

We live in turbulent times, in which many questions and problems are facing us.

At the same time the interdependence of living things rapidly increase.

We experience great climatic changes, political changes, power changes, in an ever interdependent, interconnected world.

I can work as a coach, but as I get more into it, there are more and more systems, processes, possibilities. As I work with staff the complexities expand exponentially, and THIS IS THE NATURE of systems.

My Boy draws a picture, his big sister draws a picture, I draw a picture, each getting more complex.

An indigenous person climbs a tree and gets a coconut. Meanwhile perhaps a family drives along the beach collecting as many coconuts as they can which they sell in a market. Someone from the big smoke buys the land and farms coconuts. Someone from a supermarket chain or distribution network sell these coconuts on the other side of the globe.

The free market economy often means ‘freedom to operate’. Any of you can go and get coconuts or fruit from a tree. Many might call it smart to get into collectives and harvest together. But Indigenous in Australia thought it was more important to live in balance. So many of the indigenous valued and did their best to live in balance with the land. While the collectives sometimes hired them, sometimes took possession of the land, moved the ‘less developed’ off their land. Aboriginals, Indians, Palestinians. Same Same but different. The system repeats getting more and more complex.

Collectives/Colonies/Companies grow rapidly and on an unprecedented scale. The lands are abundant in some natural resource, on a higher level of complexity, the people themselves become the resource, on a higher level again, the towns, states, countries are resources. Just consider colonization.

Just as few kids can become a gang, neighbours can become tribes, tribes can become states. Gang, Tribe, State, entities. Each bigger and more complex again.

As entities they may explicitly or implicitly have their own vision, identity, values, goals. As the bigger entity expands, it dissipates smaller entities. Just like microscopic cells, eating or being eaten. Supermarket chains buying out, or putting competitors out of business. It’s their destiny!

Public and private companies have their vision, and results are considered of paramount importance for their Board, Managers, and Shareholders. Their workers are a cost! Parts of this leads to a focus on short term profits, part focus on long term profit, but workers are a cost, perhaps quality is a cost. It becomes cheaper to plant coconut trees in rows and use fertilizer. It takes years or generations to notice the decline in quality and the source of increasing waistbands. As the Board does it role pursuing the vision and protecting shareholders, conflict arise, our visions and values are at risk from being sued, we have to care about the end of day customer, but it means losing millions, ‘I know, lets appear like we care’. Make a policy, put on a show. On an even ‘bigger picture’ this values conflict has negative effects on the environment and society, they can cause a systemic problems across the human race. Confusion, collective hate, suppression of the masses, perhaps population control. Ultimately bigger picture, collapse of our planet’s natural resources.


This same behaviour has happened infinite times. Slave workers were freed from their shackles, and received the luxury of hourly pay and the freedom to choose to work (or starve). The most successful earned the luxury of owning some land or resources, yet they were enslaved to the land they bought. The more successful you were, the more land resources you had, the more you had to manage. There was always some form of rule. Rulling class. Government, authorities, regulations, or back in the day nobles, tax collectors and kings.

NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming is fundamentally Patterns.  We see the STRUCTURE where most people see the content, you can see both.

For those with more interest into patterns and more specifically the patterns in Value and Value Systems, I suggest a couple of weeks learning about Spiral Dynamics. Spiral dynamics looks at how the value system in an individual, or an organisation grows as it matures and evolves. You may find your own level of development on the spiral. Be true to where you are at and who you are. Aim forward to evolve into the higher level, note that if you undergo stress, most people will fall back to the old ways, but the way to success, the way to fulfillment, the way to enlightenment, is to fall forward. Step into the underknown and consider embracing your next level.

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