ROUNDMAP™ and Spiral Dynamics

ROUNDMAP™ and Spiral Dynamics

How does ROUNDMAP™ relate to Spiral Dynamics?

“Competency is more valued than seniority; knowledge is more useful than status.”
― Don Edward Beck, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change


Wikipedia: “Spiral Dynamics (SD) is a model of the evolutionary development of individuals, organizations, and societies. It was initially developed by Don Edward Beck and Christopher Cowan based on the emergent cyclical theory of Clare W. Graves, combined with memetics as proposed by Richard Dawkins and further developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.”

NVC Consulting: “Spiral Dynamics tools, programs, consulting services, and materials are designed to help individuals and organizations understand and navigate tough “people problems.” They are based on close to 70 years of combined research, field testing, and improvements.


The following figure of the Spiral Dynamics Integral (DSi) describes the 8 levels of human development, starting with the Instinctive Self and leading up to the Holistic Self.

Spiral Dynamics suggests that individuals, teams, and organizations are susceptible to change but only within certain boundaries, related to their values. It also suggests that memes shape our personalities, and these memes may drive collaboration as well as conflict. These memes form the basis for the 8 value systems in SD. These meme-driven value systems also explain why certain narratives or concepts drive change and why others don’t.


ROUNDMAP and Spiral Dynamics

During the creation of ROUNDMAP, we stumbled upon Spiral Dynamics and were immediately drawn to the idea. The notion that individuals, teams, or even entire organizations, find themselves in a state of evolutionary development, made absolute sense.

In fact, we believe every aspect of ROUNDMAP should be regarded as evolutionary, both the mastery-aspects, as well as the maturity-aspects (Carousels). Without it, growth will soon stagnate and the demise will be on the rise.

For instance, if Product Development doesn’t keep up with customer demand, products will become obsolete and the business will lose momentum. If the competition lowers its prices and we are not able to respond, because we can’t optimize our operational costs, we lose the clientele. Learnings, from insights and customer feedback, drive evolution.

If we consider the Customer Roundtable Blueprint, as well as The Venture Wheel, you’ll notice that these are spiral dynamics as well: although both are cyclical arrangements, they progress over time, creating a spiral.

The best way to understand this notion, of spirals being cycles over time, is by perceiving a spiral staircase in which every cycle (of development) takes us to a new level (floor):

Spiral staircase

Perspectives matter

While the image above perceives the staircase from an outsider’s perspective, it becomes really interesting when we take an insider’s perspective.

Let’s assume that we’re standing on the top-level floor, looking down into the staircase: a leadership point of view as it were. It may look like this:

Spiral - view from above

Even though the spiral staircase is as wide at the top as at the bottom, the perspective narrows down to a point. From a leadership point of view, what happens at the bottom, at the customer interaction level, isn’t as relevant as what happens right next to him/her; it’s merely a dot on his/her mind.

In terms of spiral dynamics, the Holistic or Systemic Self won’t be able to perceive the details as clearly as those acting on their Role Self; one might even think that these are unimportant side-effects that can easily be ignored.

That can be a costly misjudgment, after all, the customer interaction is the Ultimate Level of Truth. Without customers buying our products, there is no reason for being.

Now let’s assume a bottom-up perspective. Looking from the ground floor up to the top floor:

Spiral - from the bottom

Yes, we just mirrored the previous image. That is all it took to take a new perspective. We tend to call this an empathic standpoint. As you’ll notice, all the details from the customer interaction are now in full swing, every detail counts. What we see of the top floor is one tiny detail. And we don’t need to see any more: it’s the vision of the company.

Going through change

When we go through a process of change, adaptation, innovation, or even transformation, we need to take every ‘floor’ into account, but especially the ground floor. This is where the magic happens: every other floor is merely there to direct and facilitate what happens on the ground floor.

To further the development of the organization, as a group or on an individual level, you’ll need to make sure you facilitate the development of the right capabilities. In digital transformation initiatives, these are digital capabilities.

But don’t forget to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Do I have the leadership capabilities to lead change? If not, start developing these skills, before you find yourself in a storm of chaos, criticism, and despair. Or get a Grandmaster of Business to help you navigate.



  • Edwin Korver

    Edwin Korver is a polymath celebrated for his mastery of systems thinking and integral philosophy, particularly in intricate business transformations. His company, CROSS-SILO, embodies his unwavering belief in the interdependence of stakeholders and the pivotal role of value creation in fostering growth, complemented by the power of storytelling to convey that value. Edwin pioneered the RoundMap®, an all-encompassing business framework. He envisions a future where business harmonizes profit with compassion, common sense, and EQuitability, a vision he explores further in his forthcoming book, "Leading from the Whole."

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