I was recently referred to a revolutionary book called Reinventing Organizations by ex-McKinsey & Co Associate Partner Fredric Laloux.
In it, Laloux details his research into 12 businesses that had been built from the belief that each of them has its own soul and unique purpose that can be tuned into and followed for the best outcomes for that business and those it serves.
The book starts by explaining the evolution of organizational structure, using color coding to describe each type of structure. Red organizations are run by force by a dictatorial leader, Amber organizations are highly structured and rules-driven, Orange organizations are highly competitive and performance is highly prized, Green organizations recognize a range of stakeholders and the business’s interconnection with society and the environment, with the next evolutionary step being the Teal organization.
Teal organizations are an evolutionary leap from all of the other kinds of organization, representing a response to the evolution of human consciousness and self-awareness currently emerging on this planet.
Whereas the previous organizational models see the business as a machine to be managed and manipulated by its managers, founders and employees of Teal organizations see such organizations as having their own essence or soul, their own highest purpose, and their own consciousness that can be tuned into to guide its stewards.
Indeed, these stewards view themselves as being in partnership with the business, rather than deciding its fate without its guidance. There is an underlying assumption that everyone and everything has a soul, and that the soul knows what is best for its being.
This is in contrast to all the other organizational models, which are driven through hierarchical command and control processes, with power concentrated in the hands of those at the top of the organizational pyramid.
In Teal organizations, both the board of directors and CEO recognize the wisdom of the organization, and devolve their power to the collective of all employees. This may seem very risky, until we examine the assumptions that underlie traditional command and control structures. These include a basic distrust of people, fear of losing control, and valuing of those higher up in the pyramid more than those below them in the hierarchy.
In Teal organizations, everyone is seen as being of equal value, having strengths that others don’t have, and is trusted to take initiative to resolve problems as they notice them, although only after taking advice from those affected and those with experience in the relevant area/s. The CEO has no veto power, although there is a peer review system that provides feedback as needed.
The underlying difference between Teal organizations and the other types is that the underlying intention underpinning Teal is love, while the underlying intention underpinning the others in fear.
The businesses Laloux has studied have all been highly successful leaders in their respective industries as long as they stayed true to their Teal principles, although he does note the loss of momentum of two organizations when board members went into fear mode, brought in command and control mechanisms and effectively killed the morale of the employees.
He notes there are only two necessary conditions for the success of Teal organizations, being that both the CEO and Board members are committed to following Teal principles.
Laloux also notes that the extent to which Teal organizations thrive is limited by the degree of self-awareness of the CEO and Board, which suggests accelerative programs such as those offered by Business Energy Coaching are an ideal fit for CEOs and Boards wanting to experience growth in self-awareness along with the growth of their businesses.
Republished with permission of the author.
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