When Community Calls

By Edith Friesen for Enlivening Edge Magazine

I love an intimate and vibrant community. I am drawn to juicy conversations and like-purposed people who feed my wholeness. Maybe you are, too. Yet when it comes to communities on Facebook, I’ve stayed away, reluctant to dip my toes into those shark-infested waters. Until now.

It began in a weird way, with a dream. In this dream, I was chatting with some business people and educators at a local coffee place. I had a sense that the Teal or Reinventing Organizations movement was on the cusp of going mainstream, even in business schools, and that it just needed a little nudge. Then came these words: If RO or Teal is the answer, what is the underlying question?

I woke up from the dream with a sense of curiosity and a strong desire to engage in conversation about the implications. I considered the options: back and forth e-mail exchanges, a Skype conversation, opening a new channel on the  main Slack platform used by Enlivening Edge’s Partners and collaborators. Then it struck me, what I really wanted was a broader community conversation. Thus, my first-ever FB post was born.

I was surprised and delighted by the comments and “likes” that streamed in. More importantly, the inquiry that emerged felt very alive, authentic, and timely. It swirled around questions that danced each other.

If RO or Teal is the answer, what is the question?

I told the community that when I can pinpoint and tap into someone’s question, when I can really feel it and identify with it, then I am in a better position to offer something. Otherwise, I’m not really touching or speaking to where they live.

From my perspective, Frederic Laloux’s new illustrated version of Reinventing Organizations seems to do this. The illustrations immediately conjure up situations we’ve experienced personally. They touch something beyond the mind. They speak to our longing, and to a better way.

I was cautioned by one person not to assume that the question, to which Teal is the answer, is a question that just any human being could have. This is because Green-worldview stage consciousness is the only stage ready to develop into Teal consciousness. Green-consciousness has out-grown the Orange need to predict-and-control, and is growing into a need for wholeness and a values-driven organizational culture.

Green is also facing the kinds of questions or limitations that prompt maturation into Teal consciousness—questions like: how could we minimize consensus-seeking discussions that get us nowhere?

At its deepest, what does Teal tap into?

Unexpressed potential within people and organizations, that’s what Teal activates, said one person.

Another said it taps into universal human needs. Wholeness emerges once our deficiency needs have been met. Self-management is tied to self-actualization because it allows us to make real choices at work. And, evolutionary purpose meets our need for self-transcendence; it gives us the opportunity to align with something more than ourselves, for the shared benefit of people, organizations, and the planet.

What would it take for RO become part of a business school’s curriculum?

I noted that contemporary business schools are conservative and that the RO approach may find its way into curricula and reference materials once it becomes more mainstream, in the world of “tried-and-true.” Someone else said these schools are also conflicted. While they know they are not meeting the world’s needs, they are trapped by the need for academic research that validates what they teach.

Still, there are glimmers of hope. One conversationalist, who has been teaching Integral Innovation at several business schools for some years, said that he sees early signals for wider adoption. Another, who taught an MBA workshop on Teal Organizing at the Management Centre Innsbruck, is offering his materials to any business school interested in developing them for open source syndication.

How can we create the new story we want to live in, right here, right now?

From my experience, putting a human face to the story is key. About three decades ago, I was a marketing director responsible for recruiting business students to an after-degree professional program. The strategy with the biggest impact? Using young role models in senior positions within successful organizations to tell their stories to aspirants. While this was an Orange world, the principle still applies.

Take Chris Clark, a Millennial and EE’s Vlogger, who is putting a human face on the Teal story. Chris is creating videos that model wholeness in an authentic, fun, and inviting way. You can find them here.

We also need systemic designs to support the conditions for self-organization to emerge. This perspective was articulated by a contributor who cautioned us to do this respectfully, and in way that invites people at earlier stages to embrace self-organization in whatever way this resonates with their worldview. Respect means giving people space to express who they are and develop as they choose, without cajoling them to change.

Would you join me in our community on Facebook?

I’m glad I took the plunge into EE’s global Community on Facebook. I got a sense of the ecosystem stirring through the individual voices and the multilogue that emerged. As George Pór commented: “This is one of the most important inquires I came across in the community for a long time…. I’m very curious where it will lead us.” I am, too, and that is what prompted me to write my first-ever FB post.

You can read the whole conversation by joining the EE Community on Facebook now. The Community Host, Vihra, and others, are ready to welcome you to conversations that matter. There are safeguards in place; I discovered, to my grateful surprise, that the waters are shark-less. You will find thoughtful, like-purposed people in them, people who will inspire you with their Teal wisdom. Here’s where you can join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/enliveningedge/.

It gets even more interesting. Soon we will be able to meet face-to-face and have live conversations. Keep your eyes open for an announcement of a series of video calls. These calls are for members of the EE Community on Facebook, and they will be hosted on the Zoom platform.



Edith Friesen energizes the role of Writing Mentor at Enlivening Edge. As a lifelong writer, she has worked in diverse organizations and coached writers. Her passion is to inspire writing that drops the mask and comes from the whole self. Send your email to [email protected], about joining the Teal-inspired global writing community.

  1. Edith, thanks for your article here. Now I joined the FB group too. Like you, I had been very cautious about the “dark water” of FB. But now I am braving myself to jump in!

  2. Appreciating the queries you have posted here, Edith. I’m a longtime freelance organizational consultant and a recent convert to RO. In 20 years of practice i have never read a book that’s rocked my world like Laloux’s has! I’m hungry to connect with others around this.

    At the same time, i’m a bit of a Luddite who is careful regarding my technology choices. I have never joined facebook, not because i am worried about “sharks,” as you say, but mainly because i don’t feel like i have space for more screen time in my life–my eyes already strain a bit from so many hours of computer time just for email and work. Heck, just keeping up with EE posts feels like a stretch, as they seem to arrive in bursts. I also see that facebook’s attitude toward the world and its users does not fit my values–it does not feel “enlivening,” to say the least. I would potentially like to join in the video calls you mention at the end of your post, and i’m wondering if there can be some way to connect with that outside of facebook? I keep wishing the developing teal online community had a simple, old-fashioned email list, like the other networks i am part of. I just joined the Teal for Teal Slack channel (https://tealforteal.slack.com/messages/general/), but i’m new to Slack and don’t really understand how to use it yet.

    My ultimate goal is to participate in a teal community of practice in my town. I’ve started a meetup to that effect (https://www.meetup.com/Eugene-Teal-Organization-Explorations/ if you are in or near Eugene, Oregon, USA), but i think it will take a while to find local comrades. In the meantime, i’m on an ongoing search to connect with others who are passionate about teal and wanting to explore how to implement these ideas. Anyone else out there want to connect?

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