The Transition from Green to Yellow/Teal – Part 6 – Qualities of a Teal Project – Integral European Conference 2018 Presentation

By Leida Schuringa and originally published at

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here.

7. Characteristics of an Integral (Yellow/Teal) project

Based on our (limited) knowledge of and experience with the transition from First to Second Tier and what it means to think and act from the Yellow/Integral/Teal Perspective, we describe what an integral [Teal] project would look like. It will be characterised by certain values, a specific structure, leadership and communication. Below are the results of a first brainstorm session.

     7.1 Values/principles/energy:

– The Purpose of the project deals with the bigger whole: survival of humanity, the emergence of evolution and increasing awareness.

More concretely, it is focused on sustainability, improving the quality of life, finding new solutions for urgent and complex problems, inspiring an integral spiritual life, improving the health of the Spiral for individuals, organisations, and society.

– The Integral perspective is leading in the design, development and implementation of the project. It takes into account all previous value systems and integrates the advancing insights into new forms, products and cooperation.

Emergence is the leading principle: observing the system, sensing what will be the next action, implementing that and observing again. Attuning to the connection that is already there.

– Other important principles are:

  • starting from What Is;
  • working from silence;
  • adjusting the tempo to the DNA of the project;
  • embracing differences;
  • focusing on opportunities and possibilities (instead of on limitations);
  • progressing step by step;
  • sustainability in ecology, people and time.

The project is focused on development and opportunities. AND-AND approach. Looking for win-win-win solutions (multi-value creation), like multiple goals in care for autistic youngsters, community building, new recreation opportunities and earning money. It’s all possible. The main question is: does it work?

An integral project is embedded in or oriented to influencing the bigger context. The focus is on having impact. Cooperation with higher structures from the beginning is important. The project can start as a pilot or an experiment, but it has to be connected with other organisations and governmental bodies to be able to spread the results of the project and influence national policy.

     7.2 Organization/structure:

– The project is organised using the three Teal principles of Laloux: purpose, self-management and wholeness.

– The first step in the project development is the application of the Stepping Stones of the Chaordic Design process:

1. Describe the Need, What is the necessity for and the uniqueness and DNA of this project? Why do you want to start it?
2. Formulate Purpose and Principles,
3. Think about People, Concept, Limiting Beliefs and Structure.

The project is always situated between Chaos and Order on the edge of not-knowing, between dreams on one hand and concrete goals on the other. In the interaction between both sides, new ideas will be invited and emerge. This is an ongoing process, ever developing and renewing, also during the implementation. Again, again and again…

This open way of working is new to most people. They are used to working in one direction and want to have certainty. Here the Purpose and Principles provide the focus and grounding. It is all about trust in the process and focus on the harvest.

– All First Tier value systems are present and active in a healthy way.

Often the desire of the project owners is to feel free and creative (Red, Green and Yellow) and we can see resistance to Purple (create connection), Blue (structures, procedures) and Orange (be effective and efficient). It is a challenge for them to include all.

Use transparent governance structures like Holacracy®: a clear structure with clear roles connected with accountabilities. Look for people who can fulfil the roles that are defined in service to the common purpose. Strive for consent (workable not-perfect solutions) instead of consensus.

– Attention given to results and to relations is balanced.

The project development is based on the Purpose and Principles. A clear vision, concrete visible goals, a defined project strategy and steps for the short term and clear choices is helpful to make the start. A continued focus on Purpose and Principles gives the flexibility and stability to adapt the strategy when circumstances and opportunities are changing.

     7.3 (Personal) leadership:

The project leaders – the persons who are in charge – need to have developed into Yellow. That is an important condition for an integral project (Laloux). The founders also need ‘shaper’ qualities (8) to create a successful project. A Yellow project lead or advisor is not only a good process manager, but also has the substantive knowledge to make the project a success.

Other people who are active in the project may function from other value systems. In fact, people with talents in all value systems are needed. A financial person better be well versed in Blue.

– The leaders must be able to involve people who are functioning from other value systems, using focused, clear language translated in all value systems, and to deal with the conflicts that will arise.

In general, tensions are needed to progress the organisation as they hold information on what is not working.

All people involved have to be willing to communicate in an open way and to reflect on their behaviour. Personal development is an ongoing process and needs facilitation. An important question for all participants is to get clear: what do I need personally and what do I have to learn to contribute to this project? An integral project is built on conscious people who can function as an instrument in service of something bigger than themselves.

     7.4 Ways of communication fitting in Second Tier:

Integral communication asks for new methods and working forms like:

Use moments of silence to stop the exchange of words, to become grounded in the body and then let the words emerge from a deeper wisdom

Appreciative Inquiry – Appreciation of what is and of the powerful elements which are already present. Start from the resources and qualities which are available.

The capacity to formulate one’s stance clearly and listen carefully.

Letting one’s contribution be guided by the larger interest and not by personal ego-controlled interest.

Meet each other and all differences with respect, wonder and joy. Don’t criticize, but build upon the contribution of the other attuning to the whole.

– As a leader – speak in the language of all value systems in order to be understood by all participants.

Always listen and speak from an open, curious attitude.

Continued in Part 7.

8 See

Republished with permission of the author.

Featured Image/graphic link, bolding, pullout quotes, and some bulleting added by Enlivening Edge Magazine.