Introducing the Generalized Kegan Maturity Model (GKMM)

My whole understanding of discipleship, transformation, and myself was completely transformed by learning about Kegan’s Theory of Adult Development. It gave me a unified framework for thinking about personal, spiritual, and relational growth.

The core premise is that a) we define our identity by distinguishing what we “are” from what we “have”, and b) maturing is redefining something we “were” into something we merely “have.”

However, as I have been applying the theory to my self, parenting, and coaching practice, I realized that I might be able to extend it to be both simpler and more comprehensive.  In particular, by marrying it with General Systems Theory (plus a dash of General Relativity, with a hint of Internal Family Systems), I find it useful for analyzing not just human, but also natural and computational systems!

I call this revised framework Generalized Kegan, or “GK” in honor of both Kegan and my favorite author. In face, Chesterton’s novel The Man Who Was Thursday — about a man rebelling against the extremes of his upbringing by embracing the middle path — was part of what brought me to Radical Centrism.

The following table uses GK Theory to outline a seven-stage Maturity Model for all kinds of systems. At each stage, something we thought defined us becomes something we can manage in service of a higher state of being (or rather, becoming). For example, at Stage 3 I define myself by my Wants, but at Stage 4 what I want is contingent on my Relationships.

This is still a work in progress, so please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

StageNameState
1ExperienceBe
2PerceiveAware
3WantAdapt
4RelateConnect
5ValueTension
6PurposeAlign
7ExistBecome
Generalized Kegan Maturity Model


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