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Do you have the sense that something in your organisation needs to change, but you don’t know what? Are you finding the world increasingly unpredictable and insecure? Perhaps you are intrigued by all the buzz about “Reinventing Organisations” but find it a bit utopian, too easy, and not real for you or your organisation.
What if you could get inside the way that organisations evolve?
Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organisations presents a simplified view of human evolution, a map of historical stages. In recent centuries the West has moved through order and hierarchy to achievement and technology and most recently to the human family with its care and pluralism. The next stage, potentially, is evolutionary—the one that he calls “Teal”. Other versions of this trajectory call it “integrative” and “flex-flow”.
The presentation of these stages can seem purely historical, as if you could start your organisation at any of these stages. This is not how it works. If you start with the achiever mind-set but don’t put some order in place, your enterprise will fail, chaotically. Similarly, I have worked with organisations that try to do human family and consensus while rejecting the achievement dynamic. They were failing dismally, indecisive and ineffective.
The evolution through these stages is a natural process, as natural as an acorn that puts its roots downward before it pushes its first pair of leaves into the light. And just as the oak tree will always have roots, trunk and leaves, even at Teal, humans and organisations do not lose their need for order or strategic drive. Foundations matter.
Laloux’s inspirational writing can make the Teal proposition seem very sweet but the reality is grittier; there are tensions to be resolved and choices to be made, maybe even difficult ones. Laloux’s “three breakthroughs” of evolutionary purpose, wholeness and self-management are ways to generate flow and clarity, to make life more nourishing and potentially, hopefully, even to realise our dreams and purposes. Magical they may be, but they are not magic wands.
Next stage for your organisation
If you have an ambition for your organisation to be Teal , whether now or by 2030, how do you set about becoming that?
Or perhaps your ambition is to become an organisation that is more responsive and agile in this fast paced world, while maintaining a stress-free environment for your people.
Regardless of your organisational ambitions, you first need to know what is present in your organisation. And to understand where both the organisation and its people are, what is naturally next for them, and why. So how do you discover what steps to take first?
New strategies and ways of seeing
The reality of our world is that what is there is more complex than it has ever been. The conditions we live in are faster-paced, generating more ambiguity and uncertainty than we have ever known. Our adaptation to this reality calls strongly for new strategies and new ways of seeing. That is why we are running a one day workshop—Making Teal Real: how to reinvent organisations—on the 24th April in London. The format is an experiential and lightly theoretical exploration of organisational change and possibility, specifically designed as a kind of map-maker to help participants gain a sense of the journey an organisation is on, revealing its hills, rivers and bridges.
We had a great response after running this workshop last year; we learned a lot from the feedback and are excited to deliver an even better format this year. The Making Teal Real: how to reinvent organisations workshop lives in the space between the ideal and the concrete, introducing you to the dynamics of the developmental journey in ways that open your mind and senses to new ways of working with whatever is there.