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Transforming People and Organizations (978-1902636504)

Transforming People and Organizations: The Seven Steps of Spiritual Development (2004) by Margarete van den Brink
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Individuals, groups, and organizations find themselves in a process of continual change, transformation, and growth. The author suggests that all people--whether as individuals or in groups--experience the same archetypal process of development, which consists of seven steps. Using practical examples, she describes how to recognize these steps, or phases, in individuals, in relationships and groups, and even in commercial and voluntary organizations. Knowledge of the various steps provides clarity and vision and helps us prepare for the sorts of challenges and rewards.

In addition to the outer aspects of these processes, there is also an inner aspect. The author shows that the process of growth through the seven phases is essentially a process of spiritual development. Spirit manifests in human beings and determines the meaning and direction of our lives, providing motivation for change and direction. These impulses also work in groups and organizations, and understanding them gives us greater insight.

Van den Brink's approach offers a refreshing, new, and dynamic way forward in contrast to the rationalistic methods of most mainstream consultants and personal development.


I found the book to be marginally helpful in understanding and examination of the subject of transforming organizations through "spiritual development." The author's treatment of this subject starts rightly so with the individual dimension, then on to organizational development, but the book gets too attached to the "phases"(i.e. where people/organizations are described to be). I was looking for more of the roadmap/transformation toward a deeper, more practical understanding of this subject. I think the author recognizes the need to field test ideas, and that is to her credit. The matter of enlightened leadership and the role of employees in mutual ownership of the mission/vision and values of those organizations could have been developed more. "Commercial and Ideal-based" organizations (for profit and not-for-profit) have the same issues, just wrapped differently. In this regard, the last page was confusing, in putting forth an analogy of commercial organizations following the development road of the man, and the ideal-based organization, the development road of the female. Addressing and discussing spiritual dimension of organization, by definition, leads us to commonality and congruence of effort and shared vision no matter the positions people occupy.

William St Pierre


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