Teal is the Trend. What Color is Your Organization?

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”

Henry Mintzberg, academic and writer on business and management

Today’s Change Wave. For years, (more than 30) I have been building my human system, knowing I was out ahead of a time when it would be needed. Now I know that time has arrived. It was validated when a futurist colleague of mine indicated that the work and systems approach of LifeWork Systems is consistent with a currently trending and evolutionary Teal organizational model. This article is designed to shed light on organizational models of the past and today.

Former organizational models

Red appeared 10,000 years ago in the form of chiefdoms. Instances today include the Mafia, street gangs and tribal militia. Example: on a whim, a boss increases or reduces pay.

Amber accompanied the settlement of people. Authority became linked to formal roles with strict chains of command such as the Catholic Church, the military and most government agencies. Example: salaries are fixed and determined by a person’s level in the hierarchy (or their education).

Orange came next, characterized by a centralized, hierarchical structure with assigned positions and job descriptions as is often seen in any multinational company. Example: a system that stresses individual incentives.

Green came about with higher levels of education and emphasizes empowerment, bottom-up processes and building consensus. This model is still hierarchical because leaders have sole discretion to delegate selectively, such as in Southwest Airlines and Ben and Jerry’s. Example: team bonuses.

Characteristics of a Teal Organizational Model

  1. Shared Power and Fully Distributed Leadership Development: the concept of “leadership” is different in Teal. While earlier stages relied on a hierarchical power structure,Teal rejects this. Self-organizing and self-managing systems are introduced by a strong leader who, sensing potential, initiates the acknowledgment of, the celebration of, the sharing of, and the development of, power in all, no matter race, age, gender or title: Stories of Morning Star and Buurtzorg are good examples; their leaders imagined a different kind of organization in which anyone and everyone can and should lead —subject to an advice process— based on opportunity, circumstance and/or imagination.
  2. Reflects an evolution of consciousness: There is a now a need for complex and refined ways of dealing with the complexities and speed and breadth of knowledge and change in our world, including a need to reduce control and instead encourage a shift from an external to internal locus of authority and motivation within each person. An example of this evolution is agile software development, which requires people dis-identify with previous models of rules and levels of authority, in order to move from linear, algorithmic functioning (where there are pre-determined answers and processes) to heuristic and highly collaborative teamwork (in which people are confident and capable of creating solutions and activities on the fly).
  3. Informed by data and intuition both: Due to today’s global and technological communications, recognition of diversity of thinking and specialization, and rapid change, we need to better understand what’s needed in any situation, and find that data combined with intuition works best when facing complex, ambiguous, paradoxical, non-linear and novel realities. Intuition allows us to recognize and respond to patterns, increasing speed of resolution and innovation, without the need to over-analyze.
  4. Purpose-Driven: In Teal, each person discovers their life’s calling and commits to it in service and with authenticity, integrity and trustworthiness. Individual pleasure and ego validation are replaced by the joy that comes from a mission to serve the greater good and make the world a better place. Compassion, patience, and a focus on strengths replace shame, guilt and fear.
  5. Freedom and Responsibility: In Teal, power is celebrated and guided through specific, strategic and intentional mentoring and training best practices, and extended within a framework based on freedom and responsibility. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy and responsibility without freedom is tyranny. Control models are dismantled, while increased expectations of performance and initiative from every team member is expected, sought and strategically developed.
  6. Wholeness: Gone are the days when we keep our lives compartmentalized. In Teal, we bring our mind, body, spirit, intellect, emotions and social uniqueness to the table, at work and in the community. This is often uncomfortable and disorientating to many, because it is so far outside of centuries of predictability in functioning within a limiting status quo. In Teal, people matter more than profit, transactions and beliefs. In Teal, we transcend judgment and expand into our greatest human potential through reverence and encouragement between people, in order to support conditions and conversations for success.

If you’re ready to evolve, no need to reinvent any wheels; I have a proven system I created just for you.

This article is published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, November 2018

Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

We appreciate you being here on our website and encourage you to reach out to us directly at info@lifeworksystems.com or  314.239.4727. May something we offered in this article and website help you love YOUR life ~ because YOU matter!

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