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3 May 2015

All Quadrants, All Levels!

I am revisiting the AQAL model. I looked at it a few years ago and found it overwhelming. It seemed overly complicated, hard to parse and not easily actionable. In the years since I am more able to make sense of it, but it's taking work.

Some of the challenges;
  • It feels shamanistic and I come from a (probably overly) rational path, and so it is easy to get skeptical and want to walk away from the reading and understanding. Even framing that sentence probably rules investigation out to a bunch of people.
  • The meme isn't there. The secret to Scrum was the simple meme that enabled it to travel from person to person and be easily reproduced. AQAL doesn't have an easily transferable idea, at least not one I have found yet.
  • It has some brilliant ideas, but you need to have a certain degree of background knowledge for them to make sense. I might sum up Anti-fragile as 'you need skin in the game to approach things in a mindful way' (and I am sure that is a huge injustice right there) but I don't have that simple real world metaphor for AQAL... yet. 
  • I have limited time, what with life and all, so struggle to get the time to read enough. (Are there any experienced people in or around Melbourne who want to talk over lunch?)
  • It frames things like Spiral Dynamics and Holocracy, so it is an influential model that needs understanding, but the links to these other ideas often require another investment in time and thinking to have a rounded perspective 
  • If you go there, will you end up alone? To hat degree does this knowledge isolate you from the community of people you work for and with?
  • I also worry that it might end up being a framework that explains things, but doesn't help me make better decisions, as it is so complicated to comprehend.

That list doesn't make AQAL wrong. It just means it is hard work.

Here is an introduction essay on the topic (pdf).

Here is a picture to prove my point about complicated-ness. Got any advice?