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Digital processing 05 Oct 2018

The Teal paradigm reinvents business organizations

Self-management, wholeness and evolution are the basic pillars on which this management model rests.

One of the achievements of Belgian consultant Frederic Laloux has been to transform a business management guide into an international best seller. It’s not for nothing that since it was published in 2014, the book “Reinventing Organizations” is constantly referred to in forums on how to transform a company or how any other organization can successfully adapt to the new social and economic concept. In his book, Laloux shows organizations how the Teal paradigm can help structures survive and emerge stronger from this period seized by the throes of change we are going through. But what exactly does it entail?

In broad terms, such organizations are those whose way of working is inspired by the principle of nature, by which we mean that they have the structure of a living organism in continual evolution and development. In this sense, all of the members of the structure are guided by a common purpose and are aware that the union of their energy and creative potential will determine the future of the ecosystem.  For the same reason, when taking a decision the opinion of everyone affected by it is taken into consideration.

In practice, this definition takes the shape of three main essential elements that guide the way all Teal organizations act:

Self-management

There is no need to structure oneself around a specific hierarchy nor apply a pyramid model. The operating system instead is based on relations between peers. Decision-making is carried out by consulting interested parties, involving them directly in the process.

Wholeness

Unlike traditional models in which the professional element takes precedence over the emotional, in Teal organizations there is a coherent body of practices that invites workers to reclaim their integrity as individuals and allows them to carry out their tasks in a committed way as whole, realized and free human beings. The emotional intelligence and feelings of the workforce are taken into account in the development of work.

Evolution

Instead of setting expectations and control systems through rigorous adherence to plans, budgets and objectives, a Teal organization bases its strategy on permanent observation of the environment and how best to interact with it. All members of the organization are invited to listen and understand what is being pursued which makes it a continuous process of discovery through agile practices. Paradoxically, by focusing less on the end result and enhancing shareholder value, it produces financial results that often beat those of competitors.

According to Laloux, we are on the threshold of this new form of organization which anthropological research posits could be a natural step that began more than 100,000 years ago and which has gone through different phases. In the past we have witnessed transformations that have managed to improve different models of management but once the Teal paradigm has gained traction we will look back and find the organizational ways and practices of the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st as “alienating and unsatisfactory”.

For the author of “Reinventing organizations”, the development of an organization of this sort requires two conditions:

  1. The top executive must have an integrated vision of the world that is close to the Teal paradigm. It would also be ideal if some of his/her closest colleagues shared this point of view.
  2. The owners of the organization should also understand and accept Teal ways of looking at the world. Otherwise, although the members of the board of directors cede management to a Teal leader, it is more likely they will strive to regain control through a hierarchical model when it comes to making a difficult choice or are confronted by a delicate situation.

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