We stand for arbitrary free organisational and personnel development

As consultants, trainers and coaches, we are always tempted to offer what we know and like or what is trendy and increasingly in demand on the market.

Our goal is to bring organisational and personnel development out of this arbitrary zone.

Our model of stage development

With our model of stage development, we have cut a diamond that is the product of our own longstanding development, experience and conviction.

Along this model: problems and disturbances (on an organisational and individual level) can be explained and understood conclusively; we plan interventions optimally suited to the situation, effectively and comprehensibly; do social phenomena suddenly make sense and development needs can be viewed optimistically.

We combine different perspectives into a holistic approach

The four of us originally came from very different directions: Training, coaching, management, organizational development and classical consulting. When we met, we all looked back on many years of experience with stage development models. Our initiative reflects our common conviction that only a holistic understanding and the interlocking of organisational and personnel development as well as classical consulting approaches can bring about real transformation.

We promote the awareness for healthy stage development

We would like to contribute significantly to the fact that the natural phenomenon stage development arrives in the general consciousness and is used quite naturally in order to arrange our future meaningfully.

Our consultants

Stage development enables people and organisations to think and act in a future-oriented way. With its help, companies become sustainable in an intelligent and at the same time appreciative way.

With our promise to our customers we associate a great obligation for ourselves. All our consultants see themselves as part of a development network. They have all committed themselves to continuously develop their personal, professional and consulting skills. It is also part of our self-image that no one can offer all organisational and personnel development competencies in full quality on their own. We therefore use the various professional and personal strengths of the individual people in our network in a very targeted manner in order to offer our clients the best possible advice.

Barbara Küchler
Gerhard Klein
Claudia Fountain
Mike Michels
Olivia Cortesi
German Augusto Barona
Andreas Margelisch
Franziska Stebler
Rudolf Gysi
Andreas Seitz

The Key Steps stage model

Our model is based, on the one hand, on several scientifically highly validated psychological stage development models and, on the other, on the theory of a cultural development model in which individual and cultural development influence each other.

What all stage development models have in common

All stage development researchers base their work on the theory that individual and/or cultural development is based on a sequence of stages.


This theory is based on the idea that the individual stages are arranged in an unchangeable sequence, that there is a logic of development. The first research in the early 19th century assumed that this stage logic is genetically based in humans.

Since the middle of the 19th century, however, stage development researchers  have favoured the theory that stage development is the result of the individual’s confrontation with his or her cultural environment (interactionist thesis).

Vertical and horizontal development

The stage-oriented development models distinguish between two essential development phases.

Both phases are important for individual, organizational and cultural development.

Horizontal development

As part of the horizontal development, the achievements of one stage are trained and expanded.

Vertical development

Within the framework of vertical development, a new form of perception, thinking and acting is emerging – we also speak of a new logic of action.

Stage models that follow a development logic

The psychological stage development models based on the tradition of Baldwin and Piaget follow a similar developmental logic.

The developmental aspects of the following models are considered in the individual Key Step Step Model:

  • Jean Piaget development model
  • Ego-Development, Jane Loevinger (and Susann Cook-Greuter)
  • The Evolving Self, Robert Kega
  • Moral development, Lawrence Kohlberg
  • The other voice of morality, Carol Gilligan
  • Action Logic by B. Torbert
  • Leadership Agility by B. Joiner und S. Josephs
  • Scaling Leadership by R. Anderson and W. Adams
  • Further stage development research by James Mark Baldwin, Herbert Meads, Fritz Oser, Michale J. Parsons

In addition to these stage development models, which focus on the learning task, the phase-oriented models should also be mentioned. In these models, the life phase is at the centre. Every person passes through this phase at the appropriate age. Mature development therefore takes place at any age. The best known of these life phase-oriented models is the development model of Erik H. Erikson.

Value based development models

The Graves Value System, originally developed by Clare Graves, and the Spiral Dynamics model of Don Beck and Christopher C. Cohen based on it, have become relatively well known in recent years. These two models are based on the assumption that the sequence of steps is based on a development of values. The following authors are again based on these two models:

  • Spiral Dynamics by Don E. Beck, Christopher C. Cowan
  • Ken Wilber with his integral model
  • Frederic Laloux with his book Reinventing Organization
  • Understanding, shaping, changing companies by M. Bär, R. Krumm, H. Wiehle
  • 9 Levels of Value Systems by Rainer Krumm

These models are easy to understand. They also have the advantage that they reflect cultural and individual development at the same time. We believe that these two advantages have contributed to the wide dissemination of the models.
A major disadvantage we consider to be the lack of scientific validation and the sometimes considerable deviations at later stages from the scientifically very well-founded psychological models that follow a developmental logic.

The Key Steps stage model

The scientifically best validated model of Jane Loevinger forms the core of the individual psychological Key Steps development model and is complemented by the findings of the other well validated psychological step development models. The different perspectives of stage development make it easier for our clients to understand the different stages of maturity.

The Key Steps Stage Development Model is further complemented by recent research in the field of leadership and organizational development, all of which are also based on the Ego-Development Model by Jane Loevinger.

The Key Step Stage Model depicts the interactionistic interplay of individual, organisational and cultural stage development. The Key Step Stage Model also shows the interactions of developing people in an evolving social context. In essence, the model focuses on the structural change in stage development as opposed to the change in value orientations in the models in the tradition of Clare Graves.

The measured data in the collective space

Since the reliable method of Jane Loewinger is very complex, there are no area-wide measurements. Most of the data is available from managers, often with a university background. If we take into account the various “measurement biases” and compare them with our own observations, we currently assume the following estimates in the adult population in the German-speaking countries.

Impulsive (rare) 1%
Self-oriented (not very common) 7%
Group-centric (not very common) 12%
Rationalistic (common) 45%
Self-determined (common) 35%
Relative (not very common) 10%
Integrative (rare) 4%
Integrated (very rare) 1%

The difference between personality models and stage development models

Personality models study relatively stable human behavioral styles, most likely mostly genetic. Personality models examine temperament (stamina, threshold, mood, tempo), introversion versus extraversion, preferred thinking style (divergent, convergent, holistic, analytical), formative core motivations (relationship, performance, power, autonomy), etc. The examination of one’s own personality model in contrast to the personality model of people in my direct environment is an important part of coaching and team development and thus an important complement to the stage model.

These models include the PSI theory according to Kuhl (University of Osnabrück), the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI), the DISC profile and also the model of the Big Five.

The different models also show significant procedural differences. MBTI and DISC work purely with predefined texts for which a selection is made. This always involves the risk that people will also answer questions along social desirability. The PSI model therefore combines the selection procedure with a part in which a short story has to be written for each picture.

The IE level profile works on the completion of sentences. In both, the PSI picture story test and the IE level profile, one projects one’s inner structure into the test, which enables more profound insights.