Six Triggers Bring People Together In Almost Any Setting

There are times when it is extremely useful to be able to bring people together to create a sense of alignment and shared purpose.

Bringing people together in various settings can sometimes be an extremely useful and important thing to do, and it is good to know in advance what kinds of instinct supported trigger factors can be used in any given setting to help make that happen.

When we know the specific kinds of factors that can be used to bring people together in ways that trigger an instinct supported sense of alignment, then we can look at situations and figure out whether or not to use them in any given setting to achieve that goal.

We can have more power and both direct and intentional influence over group settings of various kinds when we know approaches and factors that can cause people in that setting to have a sense of alignment and shared purpose in one or more areas of their interactions with one another.

Those tools exist.  They have been tested and used in multiple settings—and they have the ability to get people in any setting to both have a sense of alignment and even to create a sense that the people in the setting can function as an Us for at least some of the things they are doing.

It can be extremely useful to get people in any setting to be able to achieve a sense of being Us in that setting because that sense of being Us instinctively triggers very useful sets of internal support beliefs, behaviors, and even emotions in that setting.

Our core sets of instincts that cause us to divide the world into Us and Them and to act and think very differently about people when we perceive them to be either Us or Them have a very large influence on our lives.  The InterGroup books and website explain those instincts in great detail multiple times because our Us/Them shape many of our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and even beliefs.

We need to use those instincts to create Peace within groups and we need to use them to create Peace between groups.

We definitely want people to feel like an Us in settings where we want people to be aligned and to be supporting one another.

Settings where people perceive other people to be Them tend to be troubled and difficult settings, and settings where people perceive other people to be Us can be much more positive and supportive situations and settings.

The good news is that there actually are a number of very specific factors that can cause people in almost any setting to have a sense of being Us with other people in that setting, and we can use those factors in intentional ways when we want to create those results.

Those factors have very deep instinctive roots.

Our instincts give us six easy-to-use triggers to help bring people together in a wide range of settings.

They allow us to use those triggers both for inter group alignment and to reduce both inter group conflict and disagreement.

Each of the six triggers can be used alone to bring people together — or they can be used in various combinations that can enhance their effectiveness.

The Institute for InterGroup Understanding uses a pyramid to illustrate those triggers that both resembles and echoes Dr. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. The Institute has been using the alignment trigger pyramid since l987 — and it has been useful in a wide range of settings.

The Institute Pyramid looks like this:

In a parallel to having the base level on Dr. Maslow’s hierarchy being functional physiological needs for each person, the base trigger used on the InterGroup Alignment Pyramid is Danger.

Danger works.

Danger has great power to bring people together.

People in all settings have a strong emotional and clearly instinctive tendency to ally with one another and to work intentionally with one another if people perceive that a real danger of some kind exists — and that working together and being aligned will help reduce or end the danger.

Danger is an extremely powerful motivator and it can be used to create alignment in any setting where it is relevant.

We all have strong survival instincts — and a sense of danger can cause us to be aligned to survive.

The next level up on the alignment trigger hierarchy is Common Enemy.

People everywhere tend to find it easier to be aligned if there is a belief that a common enemy exists that will be countered, defended against, or overcome and defeated by alignment. 

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a common saying in multiple cultures and people always understand it because it can be so obviously true.

The level above common enemy on the group Alignment Trigger Pyramid is Team.

We love being on teams.  We can do very well as teams.

We have very strong instincts that support us on team behaviors, team emotions, and team thought processes. When people believe that they are truly on a team in some setting, and when the identity and purpose of the team seems legitimate — then a very powerful package of team instincts can be activated that can guide behaviors in very useful ways.

Those instincts can include having a sense of team loyalty and internal team-based emotional support.

The level above team behavior on the Alignment Trigger Pyramid is having a Sense of Us. People feel a deep need to have at least one sense of Us in their lives.

We all have a clear instinctive need to have a group identity of some kind that allows people to perceive that they are part of an Us of some kind. People with no sense of Us can have clear levels of stress and anxiety.

It is very useful for the alignment process to understand that we each have significant flexibility in identifying groups of Us, and multiple categories of being Us can trigger that sense of alignment and inclusion.

Family tends to create and trigger strong Us alignment. Other categories like community identity, professional status, and both race and culture can trigger those levels of alignment.

Corporations sometimes use a combination of brand and culture to create a sense of Corporate Us — that can be useful for steering people in the organization in directions that the corporation wants its people to go.  Labor Unions also often create a sense of Us, and that particular sense of Us is sometimes accompanied by a clear sense of Them in some settings.

Those Us instincts create alignment best when they represent a clear group identity at some level, and when we believe that the group is one that includes us in a credible way and that we believe wants Us to do well and be either successful or safe.

Dr. Maslow includes “Belongingness” as one of the middle core motivators on his core pyramid. That motivation factor of individual belongingness is very reinforcing for the Sense of Us trigger on the InterGroup Alignment Pyramid.

The level above group identity in terms of triggering alignment in group settings is a sense of Collective Gain. When we believe that an alignment will make us wealthy or financially enhanced — that belief can be very motivating.

Gain comes in many forms. Being aligned to have pension plans or to achieve better education for our children can also trigger a sense of group support and positive interaction. Any sense that we will prosper or that we will personally acquire things by being aligned tends to support the behaviors of alignment and keep people in the group for those purposes.

The highest level on the group Alignment Pyramid has two alternative manifestations.

The highest level of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs pyramid is “Self actualization.”

 Similarly, the highest level on the InterGroup alignment trigger Pyramid is either Mission and Vision or Leader Loyalty.

Both sets of triggers work at that aspirational level to get people aligned. People will come together in a belief system, religion, ideology, or shared aspiration and people will support and accept each other in the context of that shared belief.

Mission/Vision can have great power to both influence lives and to bring people together in positive and mutually reinforcing ways.

The other trigger for aligned behavior and shared identity at the very top level of alignment is Leader Loyalty.

Leaders have their own sets of alpha instincts that we all should understand because of how they affect our directions and thinking in various settings.

We have very strong instincts to be loyal to our leader. We have strong alpha instincts that create alpha status for our leaders in our hierarchies everywhere, and we tend to have strong loyalty to our leaders in ways that create both internal alignment within a group and clear sets of behaviors in support of those leaders.

That can apply to multiple kinds of groups.

Families can feel deep loyalty for heads of families that cause people to have aligned behaviors in that direction and to feel strong instinctive levels of support for family heads.

Gangs also can trigger a very similar set of instincts — and many gangs have their highest direct loyalty levels to the leaders of their gang in very clear ways that clearly define the behavior priorities for many gang members in many settings.

We tend to feel right at some deeply instinctive levels doing what our gang leaders and our group leaders and even our family leaders direct us to do.

For any given group, we have the option of having our loyalty being to a mission, vision, or ideal, or to a leader of some kind who triggers direct loyalty in that role.

It is very good for each of us to understand which of those approaches is being used in the groups we are in.

It is also good for each of us to understand that the group alignment pyramid might be good to use as a tool kit in the settings we are in.

Each of the InterGroup books has chapters on how to use that pyramid and those triggers for both support and inter group Peace.

Chapter Eleven in Primal Pathways is titled The Six Instinct-Linked Pathways and Key Triggers for Alignment. Twenty-seven pages in that book are dedicated to that topic and that description tees up the triggers as being instinctive at their core.

Chapter Eight in The Art of InterGroup Peace is titled Six Steps and Six Triggers to Use to Create Instinct Supported Alignment.

That chapter takes 74 pages to explain that group alignment trigger tool kit because that book is about ways we can create Peace between groups and it explains practical use of the tool.

Peace In Our Time has two case study related chapters on the topic: Chapter Seven and Chapter Eight.

Chapter Seven is titled Six Basic Alignment Triggers That Can Get People to Form Groups In Almost Any Setting.

That chapter is over forty pages and includes a number of case studies from work settings about use of those triggers.

Chapter Eight is called We Used The Six Step Alignment Pyramid to Organize Groups In Uganda and Jamaica.

That chapter takes fifteen pages that describe case studies and field activity that occurred in both Jamaica and Uganda in getting local people to create health care delivery organizations that used the alignment pyramid in their formation and development.

Each of those InterGroup books explains why each of the Six Triggers work. And each of the books explain and describe how to use the Six Triggers in almost any inter group setting to reduce conflict and increase alignment.

The InterGroup Alignment Trigger Pyramid is worth knowing for both groups and their leaders, because it can be used in a wide range of settings to get people to work together and to believe in a common purpose and identity and direction for the people in the group.

People who want to damage a group can also use any or all of The Pyramid points inside a group in negative ways.

Creating divided subgroups is often done by people who either want group alignment to fail, or who have their own power aspirations and want to spin off a section of the larger group to be under their control.

Like most instincts, these tools can be used for good or evil.

It is better to use them for Good.

The book chapters are worth reading for both context and support.

We need tools that allow us to help people align with one another in various group and inter group settings.

We need people in a setting to be able to achieve a sense of being Us in that setting that triggers the right sets of internal support beliefs, behaviors, and even emotions in that setting.

Our instincts cause us to divide the world into Us and Them and to act and think very differently about people when we perceive them to be either Us or Them.

We definitely want people to feel like an Us in settings where we want people to be aligned and supporting of one another.

Settings where people perceive other people to be Them tend to be troubled and difficult settings, and settings where people perceive other people to be Us can be much more positive and supportive situations and settings.

There actually are a number of very specific factors that can cause people in almost any setting to have a sense of being Us with other people in that setting.

Those factors have instinctive roots.

Our instincts give us six easy-to-use triggers to help bring people together in a wide range of settings. They allow us to use those triggers both for inter group alignment and to reduce both inter group conflict and disagreement.

Each of the six triggers can be used alone to bring people together — or they can be used in various combinations that can enhance their effectiveness.

The Institute for InterGroup Understanding uses a pyramid to illustrate those triggers that both resembles and echoes Dr. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. The Institute has been using the pyramid since l987 — and it has been useful in a wide range of settings.

The Institute Pyramid looks like this:

Six Triggers Alignment Pyramid

In a parallel to having the base level on Dr. Maslow’s hierarchy being functional physiological needs, the base trigger shown on the InterGroup Alignment Pyramid is Danger.

Danger has great power to bring people together.

People in all settings have a strong emotional and clearly instinctive tendency to ally with one another and to work intentionally with one another if people perceive that a real danger of some kind exists — and that working together and being aligned will help reduce or end the danger.

Danger is an extremely powerful motivator and it can be used to create alignment in any setting where it is relevant.

We all have strong survival instincts — and a sense of danger can cause us to be aligned to survive.

The next level up on the alignment trigger hierarchy is Common Enemy.

People everywhere tend to find it easier to be aligned if there is a belief that a common enemy exists that will be countered, defended against, or overcome and defeated by alignment.

The level above common enemy on the Alignment Pyramid is Team.

We have very strong instincts that support us on team behaviors, team emotions, and team thought processes. When people believe that they are truly on a team in some setting, and when the identity and purpose of the team seems legitimate — then a very powerful package of team instincts can be activated.

Those instincts can include having a sense of team loyalty and internal team-based emotional support.

The level above team behavior on the Alignment Pyramid (Sense of Us) is to have a group identity of some kind that allows people to perceive that they are part of an Us of some kind. We have significant flexibility in identifying groups of Us.

Family tends to create and trigger strong Us alignment. Other categories like community identity, professional status, and both race and culture can trigger those levels of alignment.

Those instincts create alignment best when they represent a clear group identity at some level, and when we believe that the group is one that includes us in a credible way.

Dr. Maslow includes “Belongingness” as one of the middle core motivators on his pyramid. That motivation factor is very reinforcing for the Sense of Us trigger on the InterGroup Alignment Pyramid.

The level above group identity in terms of triggering alignment is a sense of Collective Gain. When we believe that an alignment will make us wealthy — that can be very motivating.

Also, being aligned to have pension plans or to achieve better education for our children can also trigger a sense of group support and positive interaction. Any sense that we will prosper or acquire things by being aligned tends to support the behaviors of alignment.

The highest level on the Alignment Pyramid has two alternative manifestations. The highest level of the Maslow Heirarchy of Needs pyramid is “Self actualization.” Similarly, the highest level on the InterGroup Pyramid is either Mission and Vision or Leader Loyalty.

Both sets of triggers work at that aspirational level to get people aligned. People will come together in a belief system, religion, ideology, or shared aspiration and will support and accept each other in the context of that shared belief.

Mission/Vision can have great power to both influence lives and bring people together in positive and mutually reinforcing ways.

The other version of the top level of alignment is Leader Loyalty.

We have very strong instincts to be loyal to our leader. We have strong alpha instincts that create alpha status for our hierarchies everywhere, and we tend to have strong loyalty to our leaders in ways that create alignment within a group and clear sets of behaviors in support of those leaders.

Families can feel deep loyalty for heads of families that cause people to have aligned behaviors in that direction.

Gangs also can trigger a very similar set of instincts — and many gangs have their highest loyalty levels to the leaders of their gang that clearly define the behavior priorities for many gang members.

We tend to feel right at some deeply instinctive levels doing what our gang leaders and group leaders and even family leaders direct us to do.

Each of the InterGroup books has chapters on how to use that pyramid and those triggers for both support and inter group Peace.

Chapter Eleven in Primal Pathways is titled The Six Instinct-Linked Pathways and Key Triggers for Alignment. Twenty-seven pages in that book are dedicated to that topic.

Chapter Eight in The Art of InterGroup Peace is titled Six Steps and Six Triggers to Use to Create Instinct Supported Alignment.

That chapter takes 74 pages to explain that tool kit.

Peace In Our Time has two chapters on the topic: Chapter Seven and Chapter Eight.

Chapter Seven is titled Six Basic Alignment Triggers That Can Get People to Form Groups In Almost Any Setting.

That chapter is over forty pages.

Chapter Eight is called We Used The Six Step Alignment Pyramid to Organize Groups In Uganda and Jamaica.

That chapter is only fifteen pages that describe case studies for use of The Pyramid in those countries to bring people in local communities together to function in aligned ways.

Each of those books explains why each of the Six Triggers work. And the books explain how to use the Six Triggers in almost any inter group setting to reduce conflict and increase alignment.

The Alignment Trigger Pyramid is worth knowing for both groups and their leaders, because it can be used in so many settings to get people to work together and to believe in a common purpose and identity.

People who want to damage a group can also use any or all of The Pyramid points inside a group in negative ways. Creating divided subgroups is often done by people who either want group alignment to fail, or who have their own power aspirations and want to spin off a section of the larger group.

Like most instincts, these tools can be used for good or evil.

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