Books I Love – Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux

reinventing organisations

Reinventing Organisations (2014)

In leading businesses from the late 90s onwards, I used a number of those businesses across various sizes, industries, countries as “petrie dishes” to experiment with my growing sense of what authentic, purposeful and caring leadership could bring in service of all of our futures. I saw notable commercial success in “dollars and cents” as well as many life-changing moments small and large.

For many years, I’ve felt that the “command and control” way of leading, from hierarchies, the leader as an all-knowing expert was finished. Time for new paradigms of leadership and organisations. No more cultural disconnects of “do as I say, not as I do”, no more leading from fear and the stick, but instead from abundance.

Like many of my readers, I devour knowledge. I am insatiably curious and always looking to learn, explore, pose new puzzles, find answers. 

In early 2014, then, one book came out that had me say “THIS IS IT!“, and that book is Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux. I truly believe this seminal book will be studied and used for decades to come in transforming the way we live, work and lead!

The writings on this site are all loosely centred around the theme of Leadership, and at a high level, some key themes for me are around Trust, Self-Knowledge, Purpose.

Laloux sees the next evolution of organisations (that he conveniently and elegantly colour codes) as being Teal. A summary article is “The Future of Management Is Teal”  From the article, Teal Organisations are based on three elements :

  • Self-management. Teal organizations operate effectively, even at a large scale, with a system based on peer relationships. They set up structures and practices in which people have high autonomy in their domain, and are accountable for coordinating with others. Power and control are deeply embedded throughout the organizations, no longer tied to the specific positions of a few top leaders.
  • Wholeness. Whereas Orange and Green organizations encourage people to show only their narrow “professional” selves, Teal organizations invite people to reclaim their inner wholeness. They create an environment wherein people feel free to fully express themselves, bringing unprecedented levels of energy, passion, and creativity to work.
  • Evolutionary purpose. Teal organizations base their strategies on what they sense the world is asking from them. Agile practices that sense and respond replace the machinery of plans, budgets, targets, and incentives. Paradoxically, by focusing less on the bottom line and shareholder value, they generate financial results that outpace those of competitors.

You can see how these link to Trust, Self-Knowledge and Purpose for me!

Please read the book, or at least the article, and take for yourself your understanding of what Teal can mean for you at any level. I’m happy to talk to anyone about this, as I have been studying and (in ways small and large) applying elements of this for many years, and much more since reading the book.

One thought, for now, is around evolutionary purpose and self-management. There is a lot of concern in the world around AI, yet I, the eternal optimist, wrote  “Why humans will always stay ahead of AI“, in which I wrote about the speed of change and how humans won’t be able to cope with the growth of information and knowledge, and yet… :

“I am hugely positive about the innate magic of the human race, and I feel we have a massive untapped resource available to us that is one that AI may perhaps never replicate.

What is that secret, you say? Energy, emotion, and so Empathy. The ability to feel our own feelings and to feel those of others.”

Humans are not purely rational beings, we have deep untapped abilities to understand through feeling. Through embracing Teal practices in ourselves and our organisations, we can take the three teal principles of self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose as an organisational philosophy that will enable individuals and collectives to truly tap into all that we are and can develop in response to what the world needs!

Go be Teal!


Also published on Medium.

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