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03.30.2015 Sharon Spano, Ph.D.

Have You Seen a Strategist Lately?

We’re now on the 8th floor of our imaginary building of development, the Strategist stage. The world view from this level is pretty amazing because the Strategist enjoys an even broader perspective.

The Strategist has access to all the wisdom, and, yes, even shadows, available to all of the prior seven stages.

This view makes for an interesting experience of life because people who score within this range are often able to successfully interface with a variety of people in multiple contexts—and, they often do so from a place of understanding, compassion, and even joy.

If you’re thinking that you automatically fall into the Strategist stage of development because you’re a strategic thinker (as Achievers often do), there’s a good chance that you’re not quite there yet.

Here’s why.

Being a strategic thinker and being a Strategist are two different things. Only 6% of the population scores within this range (Torbert, 2013). This doesn’t mean you can’t get to this stage. It just means that business-minded Experts or Achievers sometimes don’t because, well, they’re simply too busy being business people to engage in the necessary reflective work.

—which is why 38% of those in business remain at the Expertise stage of development (Torbert, 2013).

Again, there’s nothing wrong with remaining at one stage as long as you’re experiencing a meaningful, purposeful life. But, if you’re feeling stuck and ready to kick up your love for life —if you want to be of service to others and the world—you might want to reconsider your path.

Let me just say that it’s worth the effort. At the Strategist stage, a person experiences a deep sense of the authentic self in relation to the many complexities of life. Any egocentric desires for power, control, or approval begin to melt away.

The Strategist and the Trajectory of Time

I’m deeply interested in how people experience time and money, so I love the fact that the Strategist can look at the concrete and subtle expressions of the past and envision the future.

For example, the Strategist can consider the lives of prior generations, e.g., grandparents, and see how those lives have impacted the present. Rather than being stuck on “what used to be,” the Strategist imagines what could be.

Unless you’re living in a cave, I’m sure you’ve heard a BabyBoomer complain that America isn’t what it used to be. Another person might argue that we’re now a global society that must value diversity. What you’ve witnessed is the ongoing debate between someone from an earlier stage of development and the Strategist who understands the trajectory of time.

For the Strategist, life is cyclical. He’s comfortable planting a seed now that may not come into fruition during his lifetime. An unmarked legacy may outweigh any need for fame or recognition in the present.

He is, however, not perfect. As with every stage of development, there’s always a dark and light side to the equation.

Let’s first explore the positive perspectives of the Strategist:

The Strategist Worldview:

  • Can distinguish and adapt to the unique contexts of others; understands how contexts shape people and is therefore appreciative of different perspectives
  • Has an evolving set of principles; accepts people from every stage and can appreciate different world views as long as they do no harm
  • Has a passion to help others evolve
  • Sees and understands own tendency to project own thoughts and beliefs on others
  • Focuses on personal development and fulfillment of life’s calling or purpose
  • Understands systems, complexity, and believes there is no simple plan or solution
  • Accepts paradox and projections as a part of life
  • Seeks feedback as part of own growth and development
  • Aware of own shadow
  • Engages in multiple complex interwoven relationships

The Strategist’s Shadow Side:

  • Compelled to share what he knows
  • May have tendency to interrupt others or monopolize the floor with own knowledge
  • Demonstrates a subtle form of fundamentalism that is iterative from the earlier Diplomat stage
  • May not see that others know more than he does

There is a lot more to be said about the Strategist. For now, let me offer a simple reminder.

As we grow up and into the later stages, we carry with us any unresolved issues or trauma that may still linger at a conscious or subconscious level. When we engage in transformational work at the spiritual, psychological, psychosocial, and emotional lines of development, we open up our potential to mature and grow into a deeper experience of life.

Bottom line. Each stage is rich unto itself. What changes is our ability to operate from deeper levels of empathy, compassion, and love for ourselves and others.

In the next post, I’ll speak to the third and final tier of human development—the causal tier.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know about your specific stage of development and how it may be impacting your business and your life, please contact sharon@SharonSpano.com.

 Resources and References

O’Fallon, T. (2013). The senses: Demystifying awakening. Paper presented at the Integral Theory Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Torbert, B., & Herdman-Barker, E. (2013). The Global Leadership Profile report. Boston, MA: Action Inquiry Associates

[callout]This post is part of a series written by Sharon Spano, PhD. The series is titled, The Stages of Human Development. To learn about the stages of human development, read my posts:

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Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. March 30, 2015