Startup: A flying yellow start, and then…

At the Sleeping Beauty Workshop and the story of wholeness on December 1, 2016,a number of participants from the Workshop investigated their own current questions/situations using Synnervate’s Spiral Dynamics Integral tools. Scroll down to read the case. Our thanks to the case writer for the insertion of the question, and for sharing this report!

The question is about a startup ( that has received a very promising start. It looks very good on the outside, and it has a team with a fantastic Yellow vision. My role is interim startup supervisor/sparring partner, and I was wondering if I’m doing the right things so that the organization and founders can take the next step in company awareness and adulthood.

Through an online platform, Part-up helps in the improved utilization of talent, transforming organizations into networks. After a successful start that raised high expectations, the company came to rest in a difficult phase after one year. Sales fell, things slowed down internally. A group of over fifteen very involved colleagues were all working hard, but without much alignment or connection. The three founders were suddenly face to face with their own limitations.

Systematically, using the Ken Wilber Quadrants and Spiral Dynamics, I was able to map out the positives and negatives. I could see which components needed to be sharpened, stretched, and enriched. I was able to remove my rose-colored glasses and see clearly the range of challenges the organization and its founders were in for. Thanks to the targeted questions of others who helped me, I got clearer about the question behind the question; I became more aware of the multi-coloration of the situation.

In the Sleeping Beauty Workshop, I learned about “Yellow Organizing” that you can be very Yellow in your vision, but if you have not lived it, it’s like a head without a skeleton. Being yellow in an undivided way requires a solid foundation of the other Spiral colors. And it calls for connection within yourself, an increase in body awareness.

Much of what I’m often doing intuitively is pretty much in line with the advice I gathered from others during the Workshop. Such as: choosing people who take up the slack in the Spiral, working towards a longer-term stakeholder commitment, and staying open to bonding. What surprised me was getting the advice to go for less Green and more Blue. It’s about building a reliable organization. I can now do that, and be aware of my risk for doing too many ‘Green’ interventions (which is my personal tendency).

As the analysis also made clear, I still have my work cut out for me. I will take the founders through the approach and steps this year, so that they can also become more aware of where the organization stands and how they can adjust in their own leadership. In order to create a more sturdy foundation that helps us become a proven, successful, self-governing, practice-what-you-preach, 3.0 organization.

This “Yellow Organizing” workshop has given me a lot of insights to think about. I have experienced the design, the way of facilitating, and the workplace structure as inspiring and high-level. Personally, I became even more aware of my challenge of being “there” and responding to what is happening. I don’t have to fix anything, unsolicited or otherwise. That only undermines trust and is useless. I’m effective if I help the organization become more aware and support how to help others go about it.

Lars Lutje Schipholt

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