Values Level Thinking

The work of the psychology Professor, Clare Graves in the years between 1952 and 1959 gives us a deep understanding of human nature and our psychological maturity.

His theory runs alongside Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and gives a deeper level of understanding as to how individuals and organisations think and therefore solve problems in the world in which they live.

In this podcast, I look at the definition of values, and how they develop based upon the principles of Morris Massey.

I then take a wander through the evolution of the various values levels from 1 to 8, looking at how individuals may relate to each values level, how they make progress from a lower level to a higher level, how their actions can be explained by various values levels and how organisations also behave following the same principles.

Finally, I finish with a challenge – which values level are you accepting? And more importantly which values level are you rejecting?

Join me on a journey of discovery…


Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the, my successful life performance Academy with me, your host Mark Oborn where together we are helping health and wellness practitioners improve performance, success, and client communication.

Speaker 1 (00:29):
Welcome back to another episode. This is going to be really interesting. We’re going to be looking at values level thinking today. This is a concept that was first investigated by Clare graves, who was professor psychology at one of the universities in New York. And he interviewed over a thousand of his students trying to understand and identify what makes a healthy adult. And he came up with these eight levels of thinking, which are linked very closely to our environment and our developmental. They work through a developmental process, helps us understand how individuals and organizations think. I think you’re going to find this really interesting. So firstly, what are values? Values are highly valued criteria that we have beliefs, attitudes or beliefs systems. So they may be imposed upon us. We may grow up in certain systems, which have certain beliefs think things like religious belief systems and they are things that are important to you. Things that you spend time thinking about things that you spend time pondering and wondering about they are your values and they’re very closely tied and linked to the values level thinking.

Speaker 2 (02:08):
So, our values develop over the course of our lives. Morris Massey looked at this development period and came up with three specific time periods. The first one is under the age of seven, which he called the imprint period where children act like sponges, absorbing everything around them and accepting much of it as true. There is a case of blind acceptance and it’s the time where we’re developing a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. And then as we mature going from the ages of eight to 13, he called this the modeling period and rather going from rather than blind acceptance, we go to copying other people. So we might copy our parents. We might copy or model our peers or particularly people who we look up to. So teachers may be very important in the modeling period between the ages of eight and 13, and then from 14 to 21, Massey called that the socialization period where we are highly influenced by our peers and we’re developing into individuals are moving away from our sort of earlier programming, where we were being a people, more like us.

Speaker 1 (03:33):
So looking at our peers and also other influences, which may resonate within us may become embedded at this age between 14 and 21. Think about things like the media and celebrities so fast, how our values get developed within us. So let’s take a little bit more at the evolution of values and how this can work for understanding the way we think relating to others. So now going back to a professor Clare graves who had these eight levels of values and they are developmental levels. And as I go through to me or will start to recognize yourself, and you may also start to recognize, um, organizations and businesses, how they move through these levels as well. So level one is what is known as survival. Level one is pure, basic living. Um, if you took someone that was on the street and they lived on the street and they lived hand to mouth on their own, all that is important to that person is survival.

Speaker 1 (04:45):
It’s just get through the day. And this actually this research or that Clare graves did was cause he wanted to extend the work of a Maslow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So this is the very lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This the survival level and Clare Graves says that this, the evolution of that. So let’s say there was a person on the street. Once they’re surviving, they may look to form a kinship with somebody else. They might join a group of other people say they may join a gang, perhaps. He called this the tribal level. So this is level 2 where the basic needs of survival are met and we may join a gang or other group or tribe. And this level, the focus is very much on being part of the tribe, being part of this group, being part of this gang, we may then evolve to level three where we may say, well, I don’t want to be in the gang.

Speaker 1 (05:47):
I want to be the leader of the gang. So level three comes back to person again. So the odd numbers, number one is survival about self number two is about group joining the tribe level three is back to self. This self is saying, I don’t want to be part of this gang. I want to lead the gang. I want to lead the tribe. It can be very aggressive. It’s a time of self rule. It’s a time of take. It’s a time of, I can do what I need to do, and I’m going to take what I need to take, because that is the way the world works. We may then develop onto level four, which then goes back to more of a group outlook. So we may say, well, actually we need some rules and regulations around all of this because just take, take, take.

Speaker 1 (06:38):
If everyone does that, it doesn’t work. So we need some rules and regulations. We need a system, we need a guidebook. We need a handbook. Let’s form a government with a handbook, with some rules and regulations. Level four is also about delayed gratification. So the earlier level level three, which was aggression and self rule gratification was instant. So the leader of the gang might say, well, if I want that television, I’m going to shoot someone to get it. And I’ll take it. Level four is much more about the system conforming to the rules and delayed gratification. So it might be, if I do a job during the month, I will be paid at the end of the month, delayed gratification. It might be, if I work the whole of my life, I can retire at the end of my life, delayed gratification. It may be, if I am very good on this earth, I will go on to enjoy a wonderful life on another earth, delayed gratification.

Speaker 1 (07:41):
And there will be a book that guides us in our system and different people may use different books, but there will be a book. And that is level four, which is the system and the environment in which we live now. But we can move on from level four. We can begin to reject that to move to level five, which goes back to self. But Clare graves calls this the entrepreneurial level. So level three was about self, but that was about aggression and self rule. Level five is about self, but it’s about gaining a win-wins. So it’s, I want to win, but not at the cost of everybody else. I want to win. And if I can get a win win situation, then that is wonderful. So level five is about the entrepreneur is about building wealth, building ourselves, growing, developing, and we can see lots of organizations doing that and recognize that in ourselves.

Speaker 1 (08:37):
But once we’ve got it all, we’ve had it all. We’ve achieved. Everything we want to achieve. We may then start to think, well, isn’t there more to life. We may move to level six, which goes back to the group again and becomes group causes. And we may say, well, I’ve got everything that I need. Let’s go and hug some trees, save the whales, save the rain forest campaign for nuclear disarmament. All sorts of things become group causes at level six. So I may get rid of all my, my wealth that I’ve accumulated and say, well, now I’ve done everything I want to do. I may keep that wealth, but I may shift my focus onto saving the world and joining this group. But then as I do that, we may realize that actually I still need some interdependent choice within that. I may progress to level seven, which transcends level six of the group. And I may start to realize that actually I can do things myself, but I can impact the world around me. And as I do that, I may move to level eight, which Clare graves calls global flux, which is about connecting with the universe and the planet around us at a truly interconnected state,

Speaker 1 (10:04):
which Maslow would call self actualization. So you can see the two systems form very part or a form, part of the same kind of idea and philosophy. But if you look at it, an evolution of organizations, organizations will very often go through similar ways. They may be a very aggressive at the beginning. They may join groups. They may, they go back to being aggressive again before they joined groups. And you can see companies do this where they may be owned by a private individual. As an entrepreneur, the entrepreneur may sell the company to perhaps some venture capitalists and the company gets sold on the stock market. And suddenly it becomes about aggression, self it’s all about me for the company. I need to get as much money and earn as much money as possible. And actually the customers of the company suffer. And I see this in dentistry, in healthcare where some businesses get sold and it suddenly becomes all about the people that own the business. The shareholders it’s about make money at any cost and the customers of the business sadly suffer. And it is, this is the evolution of values level thinking.

Speaker 1 (11:20):
So as I was reading through that, where do you think you were in that evolution? I’ll read it very quickly. Again. Level one is about survival. It’s about self level. Two is about the group. Joining a tribe level three is about self it’s about aggression, self rule. I am the King. I will take whatever I want. Level four is about the group. It’s about the system conforming to the system and delayed gratification level five is entrepreneurial ship. It’s about self, but not for any costs. So it’s generating a win win level. Six is about conforming together as a group, saving the planet, saving the world around us level seven, transcends that and says, well, actually I still need to be an individual in all of this. And level eight goes beyond that to a sense of absolute connection with the world around us. And we will have one that we are drawn to and now comes the really fascinating bit.

Speaker 1 (12:23):
It’s not the one that you’re drawn to. The one that is, that’s the one you need to work on. It’s the one that you reject. So if you reject something and you are saying, no, no, that’s wrong. That’s wrong. It means you are putting energy into it. And when you are putting energy into rejecting something, it means that energy may not be going into the acceptance of the things you can change and into doing the things you want to do, being the person you want to be having the things you want to have. So rejection can take up an awful lot of energy. So now rather than recognize which one is you recognize which one absolutely is not. What do you reject? And that is the one you need to work on. You’ve been listening to the, my successful life performance Academy podcast. And if you have liked what you have heard, please share this podcast or whichever platform you want listening to it all. And then check out to my successful life drug Coda, UK, and take a look at our online performance Academy, where we offer a series of interactive courses and webinars all for an affordable monthly subscription and all verifiable CPD certified. See you there. Soon

Speaker 1 (13:59):
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