What Are Teal organisations?
I was introduced to the concept of Teal organisations in 2016 and was instantly fascinated by the three core principles of Teal.
- Self-Management: this is a system based on peer relationships. There is no need for hierarchy, consensus or central command and control in self-managed teams and organisations.
- Wholeness: this is about a consistent set of practices that invite members to reclaim their inner wholeness and bring to the workplace ‘all of who they are’.
- Evolutionary Purpose: this introduces a Teal organisation as a living organism with a direction of its own. Everyone is invited to listen and take note of the purpose the organisation wants to serve.
After a lot of research and discussion about Teal organisations, we made the decision to operate Creative Analysis using Teal principles from April 2019. We are actively learning and practising the three core principles of Teal.
We are often asked about our unique way of working; it is evident from the first moment a new client engages with us that we operate in a different way.
To fully understand Teal and Teal organisations, it is important to explore the evolution of organisations.
In Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organisations, he describes Ken Wilber’s 5 stages of organisational evolution. I have detailed these below.
Ken Wilber, a philosopher of human consciousness uses colours to identify the different stages.
The first is Red: Think ‘command authority’ or a wolf pack. Ken talks about the constant exercise of power by the chief to keep foot soldiers in line. It is highly reactive, with a short-term focus. Red thrives in a chaotic environment – we often see this in violent groups. Examples of Red: street gangs and organised crime.
The second is Amber: think army. You will see highly formal roles within a hierarchical pyramid. It is a Top down command and control approach. The future is a repetition of the past. Think Catholic Church, the military and most government organisations (public schools, police).
The third is Orange: think machine. Orange’s goal is to beat the competition; achieve profit and growth – often exploiting the planets resources and ecosystems to achieve this. Management is by objectives; using accountability to reach targets and freedom and rewards to motivate. Here is where we see budgets, KPIs, yearly evaluations and bonus systems. In an Orange organisation anyone can rise to any position based on their qualifications and skills. You see this in multinational companies, investment banks, Wall Street and mainstream publicly listed companies.
The fourth is Green: Think family. The focus is on culture and empowerment to boost employee motivation. The key here is cooperation over competition, striving for equality, solidarity and tolerance. Includes many non-profits, companies such as Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and values driven businesses. They consider social responsibility the core of their mission. Green organisations champion the softer aspects of business – investing in organisational culture and values, coaching, mentoring and teamwork. Everyone’s voice should be heard and respected.
Teal: The next organisational paradigm is called Teal.
The Core Principles of Teal Organisations
The three core principles are self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose.
Self-management involves a combination of innovative structures and processes. For example: autonomous teams, no fixed hierarchies, distributed decision making, an open flow of information and a conflict resolution process – to name a few.
In Amber, Orange and Green organisations, people typically show up wearing a mask. They show only their narrow ‘professional’ selves.
Instead of leading from your ego, Teal requires you to lead from a place of authenticity and wholeness – which means bringing all of you to the table. The focus is on collaboration and autonomy.
Teal invites people to reclaim their inner wholeness. An environment is created where people can fully express themselves, bring all their energy, passion and creativity to work. As a result, people feel they can bring their caring, curious, inquiring and intuitive aspects of themselves. They can truly be themselves.
The organisation is viewed as a living entity with its own energy and sense of direction. The organisation is orientated towards realising it’s potential. They don’t force a course of action and they listen to where the organisation is naturally called to go. This is a sense and respond approach rather than predict and control.
Sharing Our Teal Journey
Now that you know what Teal is and the background to organisational evolution, you hopefully have an insight into how we work at Creative Analysis and what is important to us.
In the coming weeks and months we will be sharing our journey with you on how we are implementing Teal principles into our every-day working. We hope you find it interesting and it opens your mind to a new way of working too!
To read more about how we are different from other businesses you know and work with, click here.