Teal Organizations, as defined in Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, have made an evolutionary shift. They enable employee autonomy in order to adapt as the organization grows.
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Teal companies have three commonalities:
- A commitment to an evolutionary purpose—collaborating with their people to unfold a future grounded in a shared purpose. Leaders in these companies assume their organizations have “a life and sense of direction of their own.” So rather than try to pursue a predicted future through strategies, plans, and budgets, they engage the whole organizational community in “listening in to their organization’s deep creative potential . . . and understanding . . . the purpose it intends to serve.”
- An emphasis on wholeness—an invitation for the “whole person” to participate in a workplace where each person’s “emotional, intuitive and spiritual parts” are welcome and respected and where the adoption of “social masks” becomes irrelevant and therefore unnecessary. ET organizations create workplaces that “support people’s longing to be fully themselves at work and yet deeply involved in nourishing relationships [that build] . . . wholeness and community.”
- A preference for self management—replacing the constraints of traditional hierarchical control systems with agile self-organizing systems that are enabled by [collaborative] peer relationships. Laloux observes that “People who are new to the idea of self-management sometimes mistakenly assume that it simply means taking the hierarchy out of an organization and running everything democratically based on consensus. There is, of course, much more to it. Self-management, just like the traditional pyramidal model it replaces, works with an interlocking set of structures and practices” to support new ways of sharing information, making decisions, and resolving conflicts.