A second option is also possible—and it may compliment the notion of a more primitive and probably quite limited inherited templates. This second option is based on the assumption that we are strongly influenced throughout our life not only by our family, but also by the organizations in which we work. As Nevitt Sanford (1966) notes in his analysis of the interaction between self and society, some organizations (such as family, schools, enlightened prisons, and training institutes) are purposefully designed to be influential in the ongoing development of self and personality. Actually, whether it wants to or not, every organization ultimately plays a major role in the ongoing development of all people.
The leaders of our organizations and society should acknowledge this fundamental institutional responsibility. How are attachments formed? How does the continuing development of adults occur? Perhaps we pick up “habits of the heart” (Bellah and Others, 1985) from the implicit norms, values, and culture of organizations—especially organizations that are based on strong (enmeshed) cultures rather than weak (disengaged) cultures. Perhaps even more importantly—as Sanford suggests—the nature and extent of this development relates to the balance between the challenges posed and the support provided by the organization. As Lewis, Amini and Lannon suggest, this development relates to the strength and appropriateness of attachments we form within and to the organizations we join. We have much more to learn about this lifelong developmental process, about attachments to organizations, and about ways in which external, social dynamics help to create enduring templates in our limbic system (especially our Amygdala) or in the collective unconscious we all share.
Implications and Applications: What to Do with Quad Four Material
I will offer a few summary comments about the direct implications of my Quad Four analysis for coaching in organizations. I will specifically describe a three step process of discovery, acceptance and engagement of Quad Four material.
Step One: Discovery
I propose that a powerful law operates in Quad Four. This is the Law of Initial Conditions. Early life experiences have a profound, though often unacknowledged, influence on us. We know this not only because Freud and Jung proposed this law many years ago, but also because recent neuro-scientific studies seem to confirm the existence of a primitive set of templates (located in the Amygdala) and because recent scientific studies (chaos and complexity theory and research) suggest that this Law of Initial Conditions operates in all systems (including the human psyche).1K Club