Are corporations conscious? The 7 ranges of private and enterprise consciousness

February 22, 2021 10 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.

As the world struggles to find answers to almost anything amid uncertainty and the fall of ingrained paradigms, we are living at a pivotal moment for humanity which, although not known where it will lead, if you are ready to take advantage of it It can be an example of growth like no other.

Beyond difficulties and contexts, we hear more and more talk about consciousness. Why is? According to the dictionary definitions, “it is man’s ability to perceive and relate to surrounding reality, as well as the immediate or spontaneous knowledge that the subject has about himself, about his actions and reflections.” From a spiritual point of view, consciousness is an elevated state of being that can help to successfully solve problems of meaning in life.

For example, it is the awareness of listening to your own emotions, making decisions making full use of your internal and external resources, going within yourself and wisely “looking inward” to find answers.

The needs that Maslow addressed

To focus on the different levels of consciousness, I invite you to explore a combined approach between the Pyramid of Needs by Abraham Maslow and the 7 Levels of Consciousness by Richard Barrett, an expert in business and sociocultural transformation.

Maslow’s pyramid, or hierarchy of human needs, is a psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 work “A Theory of Human Motivation” which he later expanded.

This theory focuses on five levels, like a pyramid. At the base are the basic physiological needs that enable homeostasis to survive: for example, breathing and air quality, water and fluid intake, food, rest, avoiding pain, maintaining body temperature.

Then security and protection needs, both in relation to body and health as well as resources such as housing, livelihood and employment.

When ascending the pyramid, social needs arise, represented by affective development, association and affinity with others, affection, and sexual intimacy.

Next, the need for self-respect. Maslow defined them as great, characterized by self-esteem, with feelings of confidence, mastery, achievement, independence, and freedom; and a loss associated with a need for attention, appreciation, recognition, prestige, status, dignity and success and even fame. When these needs subside, an attitude of low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority is reflected.

At the top of the pyramid appears the need for self-actualization, which focuses on developing their potential. To release creativity and innovation and to be able to realize your projects and ideas. Maslow also called it motivation to grow and the need to be, and affirmed that it is the greatest psychological need of humans, as it enables us to connect with the meaning of life. It is achieved when all previous levels have been reached or at least advanced to a certain point.

The 7 levels of consciousness

Building on Maslow’s work, the British author Richard Barrett developed the theory of universal stages of evolution and the concepts of personal and cultural entropy (transformation). At the same time, he developed various assessment methods to measure value levels in people, companies and communities, including the 7 levels of consciousness.

Barrett made certain parallels to the pyramid of 1943 and marked seven phases of consciousness with small differences, depending on whether it is a person, an organization or a society. it even applies it to leadership.

The 7 levels of consciousness that Richard Barret raises are:

Level 1: Survival (in Maslow this would be level 1 for physiological needs and 2 for safety). Here the focus is on ensuring survival not only physiological health, eating, sleeping, but also security – income, housing -. It’s a tangible, physical, concrete level. Barrett calls the first three levels “self-interest”.

For companies, this means being aware of workplace health, having the appropriate functional structure, and achieving benefits and profitability. Also in achieving and measuring the balance of satisfaction with employees and in ensuring the sustainability of companies as a means of being functional without thinking about a more transcendent goal.

Level 2: Relationships (in Maslow it’s Level 3, Social Needs, Belonging): It focuses on affection and belonging to a tribe (groups, teams, affinities).

If we transfer it to the organizational world, this is reflected in the loyalty, the internal climate and the value chain. Also with the interaction with others with similar interests, social relationships, associative connections with other representatives of the sector, promotion of agreements, alliances and common business.

Level 3: Self-esteem – Appreciation (it is related to the same level that is in Maslow’s Pyramid 4): It has to do with affection, prestige, respect and the recognition of others and of yourself. also with performance and differentiation from the construction of self-management and self-confidence.

For companies, this level strengthens the self-esteem that it is possible to achieve great success in a team. Again, the stimuli of extrinsic motivation are like the emotional content – which is not worthwhile – in the form of congratulations, appreciation, and listening skills. When used properly, quality feedback can also promote corporate self-esteem, as well as the continuous improvement of processes, quality and best practices, ethics and shared values.

Stage 4: Transformation (connects to Stage 5 of Self-Realization). Here Richard Barrett creates 4 levels of consciousness, which is the trigger for higher levels that pursue the common good.

It’s about personal development, evolution, lifelong learning and the development of potential. It is a stage of evolution and learning from the permanent desire to question, seek and explore in consciousness.

If we bring it into the world of organizations, it means that we have to continuously evolve, reinvent and innovate. You could say that the cultural change in a company begins at this level of consciousness. To do this, they need to work to keep teams cohesive and generate improvements and challenging opportunities that turn challenges into collaborative learning. and when generating transversal transformations.

Level 5: Internal cohesion (related to level 5 of self-realization) According to Barrett’s 4 higher levels of consciousness transformation, work should be done to leave the individualistic mode of the “I” in order to come to an encounter with a “we”. . This applies to both individuals and companies. Here an awareness of the shared vision appears, in which values ​​are at stake, which are the ingredients that bind them together: trust, integrity, honesty, communication, authenticity.

Companies can work on these aspects, creating meeting opportunities, team building, attracting the best talent available, and building a community that creates a strong and solid culture that is consistent and sustainable over time. This cohesion is often achieved by taking up a common cause.

Level 6: Contribution (also related to Maslow’s Level 5 of Self-Realization) This is about focusing on the value contributions that we as individuals make to society. They can be seen as part of the legacy that life has left in the world, that is, leaving traces.

In companies it is possible to focus on these value contributions, which are aimed at the customers of the products and services. towards suppliers, dealers, etc. and of course towards the internal public: employees at all levels. For example, treating suppliers they see as strategic partners is part of this contributing spirit and increasing awareness as it goes beyond the mere transaction (I give you = you give me). Over time this leads to an increase in the level of consciousness and is linked to the transcendent inheritance. The result, over time, will be that the market segment they operate in will leave a mark.

Level 7: Service (complements the same level 5 from Maslow). Here people connect with a bigger goal: Why did we come into this world? What’s my role What legacy will I leave behind?

In the business world, the level of consciousness is to solidify long-term through ethics, reflect on generations to come, and make valuable contributions to humanity. in the social responsibility of companies and in a friendly dynamic with the environment and inclusion policies of all kinds. It is about acting for the common good, not just for the small self-interest.

Image: Daniel Colombo.


As you may have observed, levels of consciousness are values, and values ​​are transformed into culture whether you work on them personally or as a company.

It’s a step-by-step process that needs the same thing as any good design: strong pillars. The suggestion is to allow time for the process and allow individual and collective maturation at your own pace.

The end result will be greater coherence, a sense of inner wellbeing, and greater responsibility and commitment. because there is no turning back once awareness has been raised. You can get lost sometimes, although awareness will always be a guide to get back on track.

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