Not sure why this did not show up on my radar scope the past 4 years, but a recent blog mentioned a Teal Organization…a term I had never heard. Looking in to it, I found it referred to a leadership philosophy espoused by Frederic Laloux in his 2014 book Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness. I was intrigued and bought the book.
I just finished this book and found a lot of alignment with where, in my courses, I have suggested modern leadership move in a digital world. Laloux suggested that many processes for leadership and management evolved along with epochs in human history, which he color coded as follows:
While these are based on historical eras, some organizations never move up the line. One could make the case that North Korea exhibits RED tendencies, and that some bureaucracies are AMBER. Many businesses and I would suggest many institutions of learning fall in the ORANGE range. It is an unusual organization that is so customer focused that it falls in the GREEN range, and even fewer that demonstrate TEAL tendencies.
Chapter 2 provides examples of the structures, practices and cultures of Teal Organizations. Some highlights from his matrices:
Throughout my doctoral course on Leadership and Technology (ILD-831), I have suggested that old processes that are hierarchical in nature and assume information is scarce no longer make sense…that we have moved from hierarchy to wirearchy (Jon Husband’s wonderful word). In the past few weeks, we have explored knowledge management, and Laloux’s point that information is now available real-time emphasizes the changing nature of knowledge. I also think that it aligns with the directions Kelly suggested in The Inevitable. I just did not realize that this philosophy was captured so well by Teal Organizations.
What I find exciting is that these philosophies…while enabled through networked technologies, are first and foremost very human in their approach. I have recently blogged about Joseph Aoun’s Robot-Proof and his call for education to move toward the three literacies of data, technology, and human. The Teal paradigm provides processes and practices to make these human literacies a reality.
So, how Teal are you?