We help companies to be more human. So we’ve recently turned to the writings of psychologist Carl R Rogers to help us think about just what this means.
Carl had seven different stages of becoming more human, based on his therapeutic experience. We’ve used these to define four different stages that companies go through as they become human.
In this article we explore:
- What being human meant to Carl R Rogers
- How we define how human companies are
- How to take your company to the next level of humanness
- Where to go next
What being human meant to Carl R Rogers
Carl wanted to help people understand who they really were, and then release their true selves in an unforced, natural way. To help his clients do that he invented ‘person-centred therapy’. He saw it as a way of helping people become more human.
In his classic book On Becoming a Person: a Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy he explores how he saw people change while he looked after them.
He felt that being less human meant responding to the world around you in a rigid, unthinking, predetermined way, much like a robot would. Becoming more human meant reacting to it in a relaxed, open and spontaneous way.
He broke the process of becoming more human down into seven different stages. Here’s a brief summary of those descriptions – which type are you?
If you’re a first stage person…
You don’t like thinking or talking about yourself. You only discuss external things. You look at the world in a very rigid, unchanging way. Close, communicative relationships seem dangerous. You don’t think any of this is a problem, and you don’t want to change.
If you’re a second stage person…
You deal with the world in a very inflexible way. You’re very judgemental, and you think those judgments are hard, universal facts, not objective personal opinions. You can see that this causes problems, but those problems are the world’s fault, not yours.
If you’re a third stage person…
You’re a bit better at talking about yourself, and you’re beginning to understand how your behaviour affects other people. You’re realising that your worldview is personal, not universal. You might want to change, but feel powerless to do so.
If you’re a fourth stage person…
You’re questioning your fixed vision of life. You notice contradictions between what you say and think, and what you do and experience. You’re ready to take full responsibility for any problems you’ve caused. You’re getting less nervous about close relationships.
If you’re a fifth stage person…
You’re challenging any rigid ways of understanding the world. You want to become ‘the real you’. You face up to contradictions between who you think you are and how you actually act. You talk openly and confidently about how you’re going to resolve them.
If you’re a sixth stage person…
You experience the world as it is in an immediate, rich and open way, without any fear, denial or struggle. You usually respond spontaneously to the moment, rather than judging it according to strict, limiting, predetermined rules.
If you’re a seventh stage person…
You completely trust both yourself and your experience of the world. You’re very open to new experiences, and respond to them spontaneously and authentically. You’re happy to change your opinions if life shows you that you need to.
Did you spot yourself somewhere on this scale?
The scale of humanness for businesses
So, as interesting as this is to apply to your own personality, we found it even more fascinating to apply it to companies.