Dear AAPBS Members,
I took a few days off around the mid-August. I remembered buying a book namely “Reinventing Organizations” written by Frederic Laloux in 2014. It had remained unread for some time. I picked it up from my shelf and started reading for simply killing my time. However, this work turned out to be stimulating. Let me share what it is all about with you.
Teal organizations are the topic of Frederic Laloux’s 2014 book, which is based on three years of researching the ways in which twelve pioneering organizations operate. Laloux found that the organizations he studied use a set of uncommon management practices and principles.
First of all, Laloux described the historical change of organizations by using the 5 different stages.
Red (impulsive) – Characterized by establishing and enforcing authority through power. Examples of red organizations: Mafia, street gangs.
Amber (conformist) – Views of what is right are internalized according to a belief common to the group. Self-discipline is exercised to adhere to these views, and shame and guilt are used to enforce them. Examples of amber organizations: Army, Catholic church.
Orange (achievement) – The world is seen as a machine: predictable, and able to be scientifically understood and controlled to achieve a desired outcome. Examples of orange organizations: Wall Street banks, most MBA programs.
Green (pluralistic) – Characterized by a sense of inclusion, and a drive to view and treat all people as equal. A common metaphor used for relationships is that of a family. Examples of green organizations: Southwest Airlines, many nonprofits and NGOs.
Teal (evolutionary) – The world is seen as neither fixed nor machine-like. Instead, it’s viewed as a place where everyone is called by an inner voice to contribute based on their unique potential. Examples of Teal organizations: Patagonia, Holacracy. Human Relations Breakthroughs at Every Stage
For Laloux, each of the above steps is characterized by breakthroughs in the ways people collaborate in order to get things done.
Red breakthroughs – Division of labor, top-down authority.
Amber breakthroughs – Replicable processes, a stable organization chart.
Orange breakthroughs – Innovation, accountability, meritocracy.
Green breakthroughs – Empowerment, values-driven culture, stakeholder value.
Teal breakthroughs – Self-management, wholeness, evolutionary purpose.
Most of us can probably imagine organizations that operate according to red, amber, orange and green worldviews, while the Teal breakthroughs are more radical. Here is a little more about how Laloux describes them:
Self-management – Rigid hierarchical management structures are replaced by distributed authority and collective intelligence, in which natural hierarchies emerge and dissipate depending on situational context.
Wholeness – Individuals “drop the mask,” and bring all of who they are to work, not just the characteristics deemed to be professional.
Evolutionary purpose – The organization has a purpose of its own. Instead of attempting to predict and control the direction of the organization, members strive to listen and understand where the organization is naturally drawn to go.
The most important thing is that the Teal Organizations are not imaginary but emerging actually. There are not many examples, but there are a few in some countries, such as FAVI, AES, Sounds True, Patagonia, Morning Star, RHD and so forth. I want to find cases in Japan, too.
I hope someone handles “Teal Organizations” in AAPBS events somewhere.