The traditional partnership model in law firms no longer serves most clients or legal professionals. On average one-third of our lives is spent at work. Wouldn’t you want that time to feel fulfilling and uplifting, instead of just another thing you have to do in the course of your life? Firms that employ Teal model answer that question with an emphatic “Yes!” Teal represents the latest evolutionary stage in organizational development. The term “Teal Organization” was coined by Fredric Lalouxin his 2014 book “Reinventing Organizations”. Teal Organizations are regarded as a living organism whose purpose evolves naturally. They do not follow a typical hierarchical supervisory pyramid structure. The Teal model is defined by three characteristics: self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose.
Self-Management encompasses decentralized decision-making, fluid self-defined roles of employees, and an open flow of information throughout the organization. In decentralized decision making all persons within the organization have the power to make decisions, however, they have to follow an advice process. The advice process requires an individual to seek advice from all affected parties and those with expertise of the matter. They must consider the advice but are not obligated to follow it. An open flow of information and a centralized system for communication are necessary components of self-management. The structure provides autonomy but also stresses accountability. In Teal Organizations, peer evaluations and appraisals are key markers for performance management.
Wholeness embraces the fact that people have lives outside of work. It encourages individuals to bring their whole authentic selves to work, putting a value on emotional, intuitive, and spiritual intelligence. As part of wholeness, Teal Organizations are open to sharing their space with children, pets, and nature. They aim to incubate creativity. Recognizing the need for safe and inclusive workspaces, Teal Organizations invest in training to support healthy expression and collaboration. The idea of wholeness relies on community building, well-being, and continuous learning.
Evolutionary Purpose speaks to the higher purpose of the organization and is apart from the immediate services or products the Company may provide.This purpose evolves from organically over time through the collective intelligence of its employees. Teal Organizations do not use traditional planning or budgeting. The use of prediction and control is replaced with sensing and responding. This approach requires stakeholders to remain present, conscious, and agile. Assignment of top-down targets is viewed as a detriment to evolution because it leads away from inner motivation and narrows the capacity for growth. Additionally, profits are seeing as secondary, with the underlying belief that they will come if you do the right thing.
The Teal model is not one size fits all. Its attraction is that each organization molds its own path through different practices and strategies it utilizes to achieve the three elements of self-management, wholeness, and purpose. The one main pre-requisite is that the owners and top leadership must share the vision of creating a purposeful, value-driven organization.
This page was researched and designed by Marta Konopka-Kourelis
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