5 Steps Towards ‘Teal’

What if you’re ready to step into Teal, not jump in?

By Sally McCutchion originally published in Linkedin

For every 10 businesses that I speak to about Holacracy, 5 of them are looking to understand the ‘best bits’ of Holacracy and implement new ways of doing things without full adoption of the Holacracy constitution. This growing interest in finding ‘a better way of working’ sometimes comes from reading Reinventing Organisations by Fredrick Laloux, but sometimes it is simply born out of frustrating experiences from working in a traditional, hierarchical business.

The most commonly quoted frustrating work situations are:

·     Ineffective meetings

·     Office/organisational politics

·     Poor motivation and productivity within teams

·     Lack of transparency/honesty

·     Not being listened to

Frederick Laloux’s work and the “Teal” movement focus on self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose as a means of tackling some of these long-standing business challenges. Ultimately, a move to ‘Teal’ is about your business becoming more responsive, staying relevant in a rapidly changing and uncertain world. and establishing a position of leadership in your market.

Depending on how your business functions today, the transition to ‘Teal’ might begin from very different starting points. Each of these 5 steps will therefore have different degrees of relevance for your business. Establish where you are now and then clarify where you would like to be with each step. Identify one next action that will help your business evolve.

Purpose – Establish a clearly defined purpose for the organisation that you use as your North Star. You don’t need to get it perfect because your purpose is likely to evolve as the business grows or adapts. Two useful questions when defining purpose are ‘What does this organisation want to be in the world?’ and ‘What does the world need this organisation to be?’

Invest a small amount of time to gather external viewpoints from your customers and stakeholders and give 50% weighting of your purpose to external sources and 50% to internal opinions. As a guide, allow 3 weeks to gather relevant input and 4 hours to brainstorm and co-create your purpose statement.

Remuneration – Try to avoid attaching pay to job titles or individuals. Think about the key skills and qualities that the business needs and use these to distinguish pay levels. Make these skills transparent so your people know what you are looking for. It is also useful to identify a pay ratio for your business. What is the ratio from the lowest to the highest pay level? Teal companies tend to have a lower pay ratio than traditional businesses.

Money and salaries are extremely sensitive issues so don’t make any radical changes without research and consultation. There are a growing number of remuneration methods being tried and tested so look out for case studies such as the Badge Compensation System used by Zappos, that suit your business model. Most new methods are designed to encourage agility within the business so that tasks and projects can be completed by the most skilled people.

Talk about roles rather than people – When you are in work situations, try to get into the habit of referring to the roles that are completing each task, rather than the people. To help with this, write down a list of all the tasks that are being done in your business/team now, cluster them into groups of similar or related tasks and then give each group a title. The thing to remember with this is not to predict the tasks that you think might need to happen, focus on what is actually being done in the business now. When you have come up with titles for each cluster, these can be the roles that you refer to.

Focusing on roles rather than people distinguishes you from the job that you do. This can be enormously freeing and is a step towards nurturing wholeness. Relating to each other at work through roles doesn’t make the humanness disappear. Rather, it provides a unique space to connect as who you are that is differentiated from the job that you do.

Meetings – Create a structure for your meetings that starts with an opportunity for everyone to check in. Encourage each person to say what they need to say to help them connect to the meeting. Identify key checklist items and metrics that you want to keep track of and monitor them at every meeting. Ask for any relevant project updates and then identify any barriers to work being done. Keep the meeting to a fixed length of time, take breaks if needed and avoid getting sidetracked by personal stories.

Once you have established an agenda that works, this disciplined approach creates expectations that people will respond to. Consistency of the meeting process encourages transparency and peer-to peer level accountabilities.

Take time for you – One of the most important shifts to ‘Teal’ is the ability to reflect and nurture self-awareness. This is something that many of us don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about because we live in a fast-paced culture where reactions have become more important than reflections. There are a number of ways to take time for yourself so find what works for you; practising yoga, going for a walk, getting some exercise, switching off your work and social media apps for half an hour. Whatever or however you choose, make that time count and you will reap benefits such as having a clearer mind, becoming more perceptive, reducing anxiety and improving your focus.

Featured Image/Graphic link added by Enlivening Edge Magazine.