In this article, we explore the process of setting up as a Teal Organisation.
I have worked in organisations where hierarchy, profit, growth and accountability to targets were ingrained in the culture. We lived and breathed it every single day.
From my early career, through to when I set up Creative Analysis in 2009, this is how I knew business to be.
Standard Business Versus Teal Organisations
Seven years after I founded Creative Analysis, I was introduced to the concept of Teal organisations.
The concept and three core principles of Teal made complete sense to me. Yet I didn’t know ANY businesses personally that operated as a Teal organisation.
One thing I did know was that I didn’t want to grow the business in a ‘traditional’ way. I had always had trusted, collaborative working relationships with other experts, which I subsequently realised was a core part of Teal.
After 3 years of working with Sue and Jack, the business had naturally evolved into the model that had many characteristics of Teal. We realised it was something that was important to us and so we started to talk about Teal in our team meetings and social events.
We made the bold decision to operate Creative Analysis using Teal principles from April 2019.
We quickly learned a lot more about Teal and decided it was definitely the right business model for us. So much so that we decided to join forces formally in November 2019.
We had a collective desire to become a self-managed team, to ensure we could bring our whole selves into the business and to let the business evolve naturally.
This approach is very different to what all three of us have come to know and experience in business but we love every part of it.
We know our business is different. We are not fuelled by profits and growth, just for the sake of it.
We want to leave a positive impact on the world, people, each other and other businesses. In everything we do, we aim to be authentic and live and breathe our personal principles and ethics. We want to collaborate and tap into collective excellence to co-create solutions, leading to increased business efficiency and happier teams. If you have worked with us, you will have experienced this first-hand.
Setting Up As A Teal Organisation
Once we’d made the decision to become a Team business there were some processes to go through.
At the end of 2019, Creative Analysis underwent a restructure. This was our opportunity to embrace the Teal principles fully and to integrate Teal into all aspects of our organisation.
As part of the restructure, Sue and Jack and I became equal co-directors of Creative Analysis.
We knew when we began the restructuring process that we didn’t want to go down the usual route of Shareholders Agreements which typically focus on how the business makes profit. We have seen first-hand how profitability comes at the detriment of staff’s health and happiness.
Our discussions were focused around relationship building, our ethics, vision, the way that we work together, our lifestyle and wellbeing. At the core of it all, we wanted to be equal in all respects in the business.
We agreed that we wanted to have an active role in defining our business and how we work and collaborate with others. We didn’t want to sign something we didn’t understand and be passive in the restructuring process.
The answer was right in front of us.
When Sue, Jack and I had the discussion about the restructure of Creative Analysis, we talked about what we wanted and how we saw the business evolving moving forwards.
The Barefoot Lawyer came into my mind and as soon as we researched him and his work, we knew he was the one we wanted to engage with to take us through the process.
The Process of Setting Up As A Teal Organisation
We had one in-person live workshop with Patrick (the Barefoot Lawyer) where he facilitated the discussions to define our Director’s Agreement.
We began the process with conversations on how we want to work together and engaged in role play, scene setting and exploring our values.
From the information that emerged during this session, Patrick put together the first draft of our Director’s Agreement.
We reviewed it individually, collectively and with Patrick online to tweak it and create the final Director’s Agreement we now have in place for Creative Analysis.
Once the contents of the Agreement were agreed, Patrick wrote the Articles Of Association.
Patrick’s approach was refreshing and easy. We all loved that he didn’t start with an existing document and ask us to tweak it to suit us.
He worked with us from where we were at that moment in time, questioned us and encouraged us to talk about all aspects of working together.
He then prepared the Director’s Agreement that was unique and bespoke to us and how we want to work together going forwards.
The whole process felt natural and we actually forgot that we were doing something legal.
We agreed that we would review the Director’s Agreement after 6 months; to check it was still working for us and to see if anything needed to be added or amended.
Having the Director’s Agreement in place feels so liberating for all of us.
In essence, it is the business equivalent of a Will. It was written from the grounding of a positive and supportive place, so if and when something does happen, we know exactly how we will deal with different scenarios. Just like a Will. You know that if X happens, this is what you will do. And if Y happens, this needs to take place.
It is the bedrock for us. And with it in place, we can get on with our work, knowing we have everything we need to deal with any situation as it arises.