The Future of Management Is Teal!
~ by Frederic Laloux / Reinventing Organizations
“The whole notion of competition makes no sense,” says de Blok. “If you share knowledge and information, things will change more quickly.”
Organizations are moving forward along an evolutionary spectrum, toward self-management, wholeness, and a deeper sense of purpose.
Postmodernity brought us another world view. The Green stage stresses cooperation over competition and strives for equality, solidarity, and tolerance. Historically, this perspective inspired the fights for the abolition of slavery, and for gender equality, and today it helps combat racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination. Green organizations, which include many nonprofits as well as companies such as Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and the Container Store, consider social responsibility the core of their mission. They serve not just shareholders but all stakeholders, knowing that this often results in higher costs in the short term, but better returns in the end.
Like previous leaps to new stages of management, the new model comes with a number of important breakthroughs:
• 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.
Becoming a Teal Organization
Every stage of organizational evolution is more mature and effective than the previous stage, because of the inherent attitude toward power. A Red leader asks, How can I use my power to dominate? An Amber leader asks, How can I use it to enforce the status quo? An Orange leader asks, How can we win? A Green leader asks, How can we empower more people? A Teal leader asks, How can everyone most powerfully pursue a purpose that transcends us all?