Robert Dilts began developing logic levels of change and learning in November 1976, 42 years ago! He relied on Gregory Bateson’s learning levels( http://www.nlpu.com/Articles/LevelsSummary.htm) He then made them evolve over time. In their latest evolutions, Robert Dilts began to introduce a duality, with the partial appearance of the existential side (also called « ego ») and the Essential side (also called « soul »).

Image source : http://www.nlpu.com/Articles/LevelsAlignment.htm

During a generative collaboration facilitator’s training at the University of Santa Cruz in 2016, the very cradle from which this approach emerged 42 years earlier, an « obvious » evolution struck me: completely separating the « Existential » side (ego) from the « Essential » side (soul). This separation also has the advantage of eliminating a possible confusion.

If we focus only on the existential side, which is very useful for obtaining results (Environment level) and we put aside what may appear as « sing kumbaya » quality  of the Essence part, we will have the following hierarchy of logical levels:

Existential logic levels Definition / questions
AMBITION

What we want to produce, the place we want to take

PURPOSE

The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. The unique way we use to achieve our ambitions.

ROLES/identity (small i)

What roles do we play in order to effectively carry out our mission?

BELIEFS, values (small v)

What beliefs do we need to support us in assuming our role?

CAPACITIES

Knowledge, know-how, savoir-être, know-how to get done, etc ….

BEHAVIORS

What we say, do …

ENVIRONMENT

What is produced (results) by our behaviors, the elements in physical space (buildings, machines, people, turnover, etc …)

Emotional field, energetic field, …

We can also note that these levels are the realm of the « human science » : medicine (addressing the body) and humanities (addressing the mind, with all the various models : psychologies, NLP, transactional analysis, MBTI, process communication, enneagram, spiral dynamics, various kind of psychotherapies, and so on).

If we look now at the « Essential » part (soul = a-me  in French, means not the « me »), we see things that are quite comparable, with the difference that they are impersonal, logical levels are then declined in the following way:

Essential logic levels Definition / questions
VISION

A world/realm where something is present or is improved

MISSION (capital M)

The unique way we use to reach/to serve our Vision

IDENTITY (capital I)

The deep and authentic Identity (with capital I)

VALUES (capital V)

Noble, authentic and deep Values ( with capital V)

TALENTS

We touch here the innate, which can lead to  genius

CONTRIBUTIONS

What we bring to others, to the world, to humankind …

FIELDS / SPACE

Informational field, , « atmosphere », etc.

“Space” understood as “realm”.

The two scales correspond. Ambition is in relation with the Vision, Role with the Identity, and so on …. Note that the purpose is sometimes very close to the Mission.

If we compare the two scales and match them, we obtain the following table:

ESSENTIAL

 

-SOUL-

 

Access by DISCERNMENT

 

AWARENESS

 

 

Leads to —>

EXISTENTIAL

 

– EGO –

 

Access by DISTINCTION

 

CONSCIOUSNESS

VISION —> AMBITION
MISSION (capital M) —> PURPOSE
IDENTITY (capital I) —> ROLES/identity (small i)
VALUES (capital V) —> BELIEFS, values (small v)
TALENTS —> CAPACITIES
CONTRIBUTIONS —> BEHAVIORS
FIELDS / SPACE —> ENVIRONMENT

The Essential (soul) part here is more unchanging nature of what is innate and quite stable, whereas the existential part (of the ego) belongs to what is acquired, and can be modified / improved according to its ambitions / objectives and  different areas of our life.

On the other hand, a horizontal alignment between the « Essential » and « Existential » logic levels, coupled with vertical alignment, brings many benefits to individuals as well as to teams and organizations:

  • Flow mode operation (generative state)
  • Increased leadership (influence and charisma)
  • Reduced stress
  • Better creativity (disruption)
  • Enhanced interpersonal relations in teams
  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness
  • Bearings and meaning present in one’s actions
  • Intrinsic motivation that lasts over  time
  • Increase of resilience or even appearance of anti-fragility

It would be a shame to miss out on this, don’t you agree?

I am also very grateful for the precious help Kathleen Dameron brought to this english version!

Nota Bene :for those who would want to explore the spiritual side, the following proposal, with a third scale would do the job and nicely fit the body – soul – spirit trilogy :

SPIRITUAL LEVELS

-SPIRIT –

Access by the ESSENCE

OMNISCIENCE

 

ESSENTIAL LEVELS

 

-SOUL-

The medium between Spirit and body

 

Access by DISCERNMENT

 

AWARENESS

 

 

Leads to —>

EXISTENTIAL LEVELS 

– BODY/EGO –

inspired, touched and moved by the Essence 

Access by DISTINCTION

CONSCIOUSNESS

SPIRITUAL LEVELS <——> VISION —> AMBITION
MISSION (capital M) —> PURPOSE
IDENTITY (capital I) —> ROLES/identity (small i)
VALUES (capital V) —> BELIEFS, values (small v)
TALENTS —> CAPACITIES
CONTRIBUTIONS —> BEHAVIORS
FIELDS / SPACE —> ENVIRONMENT