Body-Mind-Heart-Spirit (for sale)

Stephen Covey studied literature, cultures and religions. He came to the conclusion that there are four fundamental dimensions that characterize a person. He calls that the Whole Person Paradigm. This model is valid for any human organization, it applies to an individual as well to a team. It is also referred to as to live, to learn, to love and to leave a legacy. The highest values that belong to each dimension are: Discipline for the Body, it means that you do what needs to be done. Vision for the mind, vision need to be developed, it is a mental exercise. Passion might be clear, that is where the heart is. Conscience belongs to the Spirit, you contribute to what you think is right.

1) Balance all four dimensions.
2) One cannot compensate for the other.
3) You cannot work on one without effecting the other.
4) If you ignore one dimension you turn people into things.

For example number 2) explains why a lot of money (Body, to live) does not make you happy if acceptance by other people (Heart, to love) is missing. Another example, when people are not have challenging work (Mind, to learn), they are not satisfied in their job. Or, when all work is useless (Spirit, to leave a legacy), it demotivates.

How to work with the sculpture?

Below a description is given how to use the sculpture. Besides a useful outcome, the process of going through this exercise is just as important for a team.


At the top card, write the goal to accomplish. This can be the overall company mission as well as a goal, or sub-goal, of a specific project. Writing the goal sounds simple but it is very important that all participants have a clear understanding of the desired result.


During discussions people will debate about specific topics. What the best way is to go and what second best, that depends on values. For example, to make a product you might purchase parts or it could be developed in house. Such decision is based on many values like quality, external dependency, internal learning experience or customer service.


During the discussions all kind of activities and improvements will come up. Write on the cards the most important actions. There are only a limited amount of cards, this forces you to limit the number of actions. And that helps keep it tangible, too many actions will result in disbelieve and nothing will happen. Nonetheless, if there are really many things that are important, do this exercise more often with a less comprehensive goal at the top.

Hang the most urgent task that need to be done first at the front of the branch and least urgent at the back. When time passes by the coming weeks, cards can be rearranged. Since all four dimensions are connected it is not always clear to what dimension an action belongs. Hang it at the most appropriate branch or skip the action is too vague.

All four dimensions

Make sure that you addressed all four dimensions. Accomplishing a goal is not only about production but also about the production capability. In that process people are key. As Stephen Covey said, "If you ignore any of these four dimensions, you turn people into things". If you want more explanation about this model and what it means for a human organization, let us know. We are happy to lecture on this subject.

Body-Mind-Heart-Spirit model applied

At AnSem we used the sculpture to boost the team spirit and common vision on the core activity: Turn-key mixed-signal ASIC solutions. See a snapshot on LinkedIn.

Students Annabel Postma, Janneke Kroes, Koen Vogel, Maria Noordenbos and Rens van der Werff used this model to improve awareness and company culture. They made a video that sketches a use case scenario, enjoy watching the video.
Students Milian Boeren, Joris Jager, Bryan Boers, Melvin Hoogerwerf, Daffa Paramitha and Lars Wintermans brainstormed about how people would like to use the car in 2050, with all four dimensions in mind. See the informative animation.

Making of

The sculpture is design together with Fabienne Heijne. Several designs are created but didn't make it to realization. The final sculpture is made of 4mm thick transparent plexiglass and has a depth and width of 54cm, height is 42cm. The plates slide easily into each other. Have you ever made a photo of a transparent object? That's not easy!

The initial idea. Several brainstorms. First trial, a bit boring.
Different, still not satisfied. It is too depressing. This is quite close, robustness needs to be improved. Yes, the final version.