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Modern organizations have brought about sensational progress for humanity in less than two centuries―the blink of an eye in the overall timeline of our species. How about if the future of work is about creating more engaged, humane, soulful, purposeful organisations? Research over the last 40 years has shown that. You can buy the original and the illustrated version of the book Reinventing Organization at the fixed price of $, but I've also chosen to make the books.
We all have our personal histories, and in the presence of others, we often shy away from being fully There is a sentence I heard over and over again from people working in Teal ourselves. The simplest les- son I've learned from this is that every journey is truly unique. More experienced nurses must be paid more, so they were sent to do only the more difficult, technical interventions. In the s, he felt that more holistic approaches to therapy were needed to treat patients in mental hospitals; he wanted to add spiritual and transpersonal approaches to classical psychotherapy. But come to think of it, a sales person at FAVI, say from the Audi or the Volvo team, meets his colleagues every week to tell them about the weekly order. Families, as we all know, can be mildly achieve, and what would work feel like, if we treated or wildly dysfunctional.
Instead, it is seen as a complex clockwork, whose inner workings and natural laws can be investigated and understood. A defining mantra of this perspective states that you can be anyone you want to be, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Piaget, the child psycholo- color. People that operate with Amber cognition or at previous gist, has given us a defining stages will simply start mixing the liquids together haphazardly.
A person is a general picture of the fact that you have to try glass A with given three glasses of trans- glass B, then A with C, then B with C and so on.
They will try parent liquid and told that all the various combinations one at a time. The implication is they can be mixed in a way huge: This worldview has profoundly transformed humanity in the last two centuries, bestowing upon us unprecedented levels of prosperity and life expectancy. This worldview dominates management thinking today; it is the often unconscious perspective that permeates what is taught in business schools across the world.
Most business leaders think along these lines, most MBA programs are based on Orange assumptions, most corporations rely on Orange management thinking. Wall Street banks are perhaps the most striking examples: The dominant metaphor: The engineering jargon we use to talk about organizations reveals how deeply albeit often unconsciously we hold this meta- phor.
We talk about units and layers, inputs and outputs, efficiency and effectiveness, pulling the lever and moving the needle, information flows and bottlenecks, re-engineering and downsizing.
Leaders and consultants design organizations; humans are resources that must be carefully aligned on the chart, rather like cogs in a machine; changes must be planned and mapped out in blueprints, then carefully implemented according to plan. The metaphor of the machine reveals how much Orange orga- nizations can brim with energy and motion, but also how lifeless and soulless they can come to feel.
Innovation Amber organizations rest on the assumption that the world is unchanging or should be. With Orange comes the breakthrough of innovation: Accountability To innovate more and faster than others, it becomes a competitive advantage to tap into the intelligence and creativity of many brains in the organization.
The answer comes in the form of management by objectives. Top management defines an overall direction and cascades targets downward. People below are then given some freedom to find the best way to reach those targets. A host of management practices was devised to support management by objectives, such as strategic planning, yearly budgets, key performance indicators, balanced scorecards, performance appraisals, bonus schemes, and stock options.
Where Amber relied only on sticks, Orange came up with carrots and invented human resources in the process. Breakthrough 3: Meritocracy From a historical perspective, meritocracy was a radical idea and a huge liberation. Not so long ago, it seemed natural that priests were recruited among the peasantry while bishops and cardinals came from noble families.
Orange changed the narrative. In principle, anybody can move up the ladder. The smartest should lead the pack. The mailroom boy can become the CEO, even if that boy happens to be a girl or he has a minority background in practice, of course, the playing field hasn't been entirely leveled.
Resource planning, talent management, mentoring and coaching, leadership training, and succession planning are all Orange inventions. Job mobility is the norm; people are expected to change jobs every few years, and life employment is no longer seen as an ideal. Increasingly, we also witness the massive shadow they cast on 29 our future.
Another shadow appears when success is measured solely in terms of money and recognition. When the only successful life is the one that reaches the top, we are bound to experience a sense of emptiness in our lives. The midlife cri- sis is an emblematic disease of life in Orange organizations: The Orange worldview is solidly materialistic—there is nothing beyond what we can touch—and our longing for meaning, for being in touch with something bigger than ourselves, has nowhere to turn.
They strive to belong, to foster close and harmonious bonds with everyone. They insist that all people are fundamentally of equal worth, that every voice be heard. Today, while Orange is predominant in business and politics, Green is very present in postmodern academic thinking, in nonprofits, and among social workers and community activists.
A new metaphor: Empowerment People operating at this stage have a natural dislike for hierar- chies. Green organizations therefore try to downplay hierarchy and to empower employees, to push decisions down to the lowest level.
One image often used in Green organizations is the inverted pyramid: Middle managers are trained to be coaches to their teams, to lead from behind and inspire, instead of directing from above. They truly inspire employees, they provide guidance to empowered employees to make the right decisions, and they often replace some of the thick books of rules and policies most organiza- tions feel are needed to keep people in line.
Getting the culture right is often the primary focus of CEOs in these organizations. They insist that businesses have a responsibility not only to investors, but also to employees, customers, suppliers, local communities, society at large, and the environment and that they must balance all these interests. Green organizations often strive to inspire their employees to great things, leading them to outperform more traditional command-and-control organizations.
Part 1 The contradictions of Green organizations There are some wonderfully vibrant values- and culture-driven organizations, so we know it works.
And yet, making decentralization and empowerment work on a large scale is no easy feat! There is an inherent contra- diction in the Green organizational model: There is often a disturbing disconnect between espoused values and reality, which causes disappointment and confusion.
How do we make decisions here? Is it by consensus, or is it the boss who ultimately decides? In many smaller organizations, in particular in nonprofits or social ventures, the emphasis lies with consensus seeking. More often than not it leads to organizational paralysis. To get things moving again, unsavory power games break out in the shadows. Large, successful Green organizations seem to focus on empowerment more than strict consensus seeking. Deep down, they would love to function without the pyramid, without the need for bosses.
So they make do with a traditional, hierarchical structure but ask top and middle managers to give up some control and empower their subordinates. Successful Green companies have found that they need to invest and keep investing a lot of time, energy, and money to train and remind managers to be empowering, servant leaders.
Effectively, they aim to create a culture that is so vibrant and empowering that it more than compensates for the problems that inevitably come with the hierarchical structure. We You are not few things. The need to go back seriously suggesting You want to put whole stage thing to rules and that this hippie is us into boxes? Care to repeat it again? Some people love frameworks, others not so much Some people are ill at ease with the idea that people and organizations develop in stages.
I very much understand the source of their concern. In the course of history, people have done much harm to one another in the name of some people being superior to others—take slavery, colonialism, racism, or sexism. And yet, there is no wishing away the huge evidence that humanity and human beings evolve, and do so in leaps. Here might be a more helpful way to think about it: Part 1 A framework is a useful simplification.
We know that things are far more complex.
People can operate in one part of their lives from, say, an Orange perspective, and in others, from an Amber one. I refer to the organizational processes, struc- tures, and culture, not to the people. An Amber organization is one where the majority but not all! No organization is ever a pure breed of the management practices are informed by Conformist-Amber thinking.
In other words: How do the different types of organizations handle compensation and incentives? There are no formal processes for negotiating pay, nor any formal incentive processes. There are no individual salary negotiations, no incentives. Individual incentives Orange believes strongly in individual targets and incentives. If people reach predetermined targets that ideally are part of a budget or a cascaded system of targets , they deserve a sizable bonus.
Team bonuses Because the Green paradigm stresses cooperation over com- petition, individual incentives make way for team bonuses in Green organizations. But quite a few scholars Maslow, Graves, Kegan, and others have studied how people who make the leap to Teal look at the world.
And they report that, once more, it is a profoundly new worldview, one that opens radical new possibilities. So what are some markers of this worldview? The world as a place for individual and collective unfolding The world in Teal is no longer seen as fixed and God-given Amber , nor, say, like an intricate, soulless mechanism Orange. Instead, the world is seen as a place where we are called to discover and journey towards our true self, to unfold to our unique potential, to unlock our birthright gifts.
This is like a Copernican revolution in an age that tells us we should strive to succeed, that we can become anything we want, if we only put our mind to it. People who embrace a Teal perspective learn to let go of pre-conceived ideas of what they should be and learn to listen within to go where life calls them.
Taming the ego The ability to listen to inner voices comes from an important psychological development: We can learn to minimize our need to control, to look good, to fit in.
Many scholars note that this results in a profound shift that increases our capacity to trust others and to trust life. It echoes wisdom traditions that have long affirmed that we can live from fear and scarcity, or from trust and abundance. In Teal, setbacks and mistakes no longer need to be met with fear, anger, or shame; we can truly see them as opportunities to learn about who we are and grow into more of our selfhood.
Inner rightness as compass When we are fused with our ego, we are driven to make decisions informed by external factors—what others will think or what outcomes can be achieved. In Evolutionary-Teal, we shift from external to internal yardsticks in our decision- 39 making. We are now concerned with the question of inner rightness: Does this decision seem right? Am I being true to myself?
Am I being of service to the world? Yearning for wholeness Many people who shift to a Teal perspective start to keenly sense the pain and emptiness in modern life, where we have separated from much of our true nature.
We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; we are part of a culture that celebrates the mind and neglects the body; we so value the masculine that we neglect in us the feminine; we have lost community and our innate connection with nature.
This realization often triggers a deep yearning for wholeness, for reuniting with all of who we are, with others around us and all forms of life and nature. It is not driven by a moral imperative we should care for nature! What could this mean for organizations? When people shift perspective in such profound ways, it is easy to speculate that they will structure and run organizations very differently.
But really, there is no need to speculate. As we will discuss in the next part of the book, there are organizations out there that already operate along Teal principles and practices. And by now there are enough of them for us to have quite a good understanding of how Teal organizations can be structured and run. PART 2 41 How do these new organizations work, then? Since at least the eighteenth century, every neighborhood in the Netherlands has had one or more nurses that worked outside of hospitals, visiting the sick and the elderly in their homes.
During the twentieth century, the social security system increasingly took over the costs of the system.
Nurses were pushed to affiliate with large organi- zations that started implementing modern Orange management practices step by step. Quickly, these organizations decided it was inefficient that the client would always be seen by the same nurse.
A different nurse was now dispatched to clients every day, based on availability. Higher flexibility meant less potential downtime for nurses between two clients. Then, it was decided to have the nurses specialize. More experienced nurses must be paid more, so they were sent to do only the more difficult, technical interventions.
All the rest—simpler things like shots and bandages—was now pushed to less expensive nurses, resulting in further cost savings.
Two- and-a-half minutes to change a compression stocking, ten minutes for a shot. Everything was specified down to the minute.
With time norms defined, planning departments were set up in headquarters. Every evening, each nurse now receives a sheet of paper with a detailed plan for the next day, prepared by someone in the planning department she most likely will never meet. From 8: I have five minutes to come in, say hi, change two compression stockings, and be out again. A district manager overseeing a few dozen nurses reports to a regional manager, who reports to a national manager. The managers today often have no nursing experience.
They have lots of data they can slice and dice because nurses are asked to peg a small barcode sticker to the front door of all clients, scan that code when they go in to provide care, and scan it again when they leave. With all this data, managers can make continuous improvement; they can tell nurses for which kind of interventions they are slower than their peers.
Every one of these changes—specialization, flexibility, economies of scale, continuous improvement—has resulted in efficiency gains, arguably a good thing for the Dutch health care system.
Let me explain … an unknown face come into the intimacy of their home every day is difficult. They have to share their story and their medical condition with a total—and hurried—stranger.
Nurses hate it The way they are asked to This work operate hurts their vocation was my calling … and integrity. They realize that they often give bad or insufficient care. But the system prevents them from doing what they know is called for.
A nurse named Jos de Blok created Buurtzorg in … Jos had been working as a nurse for ten years and experienced firsthand the changes forced onto his profession. Disgusted, he quit his job and created Buurtzorg. It would operate entirely differently. Quickly, he found that a self- organizing team of ten to twelve nurses with no manager and no team leader was perfect to provide great care—and a great work place. We will simply distribute the management tasks among us.
Each patient will see always the Who wants to take care 47 With ten people, same one or two nurses. Care, at its best, is a small miracle that hap- pens, or not, in the relationship of a patient and a nurse.
That miracle never shows up when a mechanical perspective is applied Our purpose is to care. The best care will happen, de Blok to help patients lead lives that is convinced, when nurses are seen as pro- are as rich and fessionals, when they are trusted.
Give them autonomous as freedom, and they will offer truly great care. Part 2 The first thing a nurse from Buurtzorg does with a new patient is to sit down and drink coffee Tell me—what are you still able to do? Do you have children who could help you? Nurses often assist the patients in creating a network of support, to feel less alone and less dependent. For instance, they often help older patients and their children learn how to be there for one another during illness.
Oh I see there is a young family next door. Do you know them? I am a nurse working with the old lady next door. Would you be willing to meet her and help her out, in case she needs a helping hand?
The degree of care and intimacy between the nurses and the patients can be quite 49 extraordinary. Often they journey together for years, sometimes until the very last moment, helping the patient depart in peace. Buurtzorg has become a spectacular success story Patients and nurses love Buurtzorg so much the Netherlands! The nine thousand nurses all that nurses have been deserting traditional work in small teams of ten to twelve nurses, nursing companies in droves.
Every month, without a leader in the team and with no Buurtzorg receives hundreds of applications manager above them. Buurtzorg interventions with patients. The whole nine now employs more than nine thousand nurses, thousand-strong company is managed with or two-thirds of all neighborhood nurses in a headquarters of just twenty-eight people.
But where there is no time here is the extraordinary news: Time is money!! Because instead of just working off a crazy schedule, we now help patients become autonomous as much as possible Thirty percent of all emergency hospital intakes are avoided. Buurtzorg saves the Dutch social security system hundreds of millions of euros every year.
We have colleagues who are now trying to apply the same principles in psychiatric care, youth care, and other fields. And nurses from all over the world are setting up similar organizations in their countries. It organizations that I researched in depth and seems that this new paradigm can operate that already operate to a significant degree in all sectors. It's also noteworthy that some based on Teal principles and practices.
They organizations were founded with Teal ideas are not your usual suspects—these days we from the beginning, while others operated often read about management at Google, with traditional management practices before Apple, or Facebook. The organizations I a new leadership transformed them. Part 2 A new metaphor: Green beauty, ever evolving toward more wholeness, uses the metaphor of families.
Several of the founders complexity, and consciousness. Change in nature of the Teal organizations researched for this book happens everywhere, all the time, in a self-organizing explicitly talk about the need for a new metaphor.
People are more than cogs to The metaphor opens up new horizons. Imagine what be aligned on an organization chart. From a Teal organizations would be like if we stopped designing perspective, the metaphor of the family can feel them like soulless machines.
What could organizations awkward too. Families, as we all know, can be mildly achieve, and what would work feel like, if we treated or wildly dysfunctional. The founders of Teal organizations use a different metaphor: Teal organizations have developed a consistent set of practices that invite us to drop the mask, reclaim our inner wholeness, and bring all of who we are to work.
Evolutionary purpose Teal organizations are seen as having a life and a sense of direction of their own. Instead of trying to predict and control the future, members of the organization are invited to listen and understand what the organization is drawn to become, where it naturally wants to go. The three breakthroughs reinforce each other Of the twelve organizations I researched, Buurtzorg is probably the most advanced across the board.
In many ways, this is good news: I hear from many companies and nonpro- fits that are currently making the transition, and they generally focus, at least at first, on the breakthrough that to colleagues feels the most important. Other large and very successful organizations operate entirely without the familiar pyramid, For a team to work without managers.
Can it be true? We have a hard have a boss, someone rid of bosses … and to call the shots! But no layers of management? I thought that was impossible. But any group larger than that—at least I once thought—needs a structure, needs a boss, needs someone to call the shots!
The truth, I now understand, is that large groups need structure and coordinating mechanisms, but can operate more powerfully without bosses! Our world is becoming too complex for us to continue operating with the pyramid we inherited a few thousand years ago. In environments where complexity is low, pyramidal structures Low complexity with layers of hierarchy can work well. The few people at the top can make sense of all the complexity and make good decisions.
When complexity increases, the pyramid breaks down. CEOs and top leaders get made. Other decisions made at the top turn out are hopelessly overworked. In a only at the top that reporting lines converge. They complex world, the pyramid turns into a bottleneck. So them. All next decision … or the company grinds to a halt. Not a single complex system works with a they are given with the executive committee.
Many pyramidal hierarchy, because such hierarchy always important decisions actually never get a slot, never breaks down in the face of complexity.
Too complex for a central planning committee! The global economy is a hugely complex system—millions of companies, billions of consumers, making trillions of choices every day. It operates with structure and coordinating mechanisms, but there is no boss.
The idea that we need a Soviet-style central planning committee to try to control the complexity has been completely discredited. And yet, we still cling to the idea that we need such central committees in organizations where we call them the executive committee or the management team.
The human brain: It has 85 billion cells, and many more connections. There is a structure, there are coordinating mechanisms, but not bosses. It would stop functioning immediately if we tried. And in the blink of an eye, when a predator appears, this whole dense cloud changes direction.
How do the birds avoid mass collisions? Hierarchy and centralized decision-making could never master this level of speed and complexity.
Coordination is embedded in three rules that all birds play by. There are billions of living beings ranging from microscopic organisms to massive trees. The whole system cooperates in extraordinary powerful ways.
The whole ecosystem will adapt at once in a wonderfully complex interplay of the species. Now imagine trying to handle that with a traditional pyramidal structure.
The largest tree—the CEO—would tell everyone to hold it until he and his buddy trees from the executive committee have come up with a plan. Winter came in much You all freeze until earlier that expected. Other organizations operate in similar ways. They have found ways to import the principles that fuel truly complex systems in nature into the workplace.
We now know how this works. We often try to make sense of something new by projecting old thoughts onto it. Self management If you like to spend your This is all still very can never work. In real life days in endless meetings, experimental. Misperception 1 Misperception 2 Misperception 3 Many people assume that self- The common assumption here Another misconception: The is informal, chaotic.
The mistaken meetings. Self-managing organiza- zations out there, such as W. Actually, in self- managing operated in self-managing fashion and coordination mechanisms. More resilient, in fact, than most traditional organizations.
Self-management requires that we upgrade almost all of the basic practices of management Early attempts at self-management have often need concrete answers. The good news is that failed because people took a shortcut. They there are enough successful self-managing simply decreed: We out without putting a new structure in place. For questions. We need to grow a system need upgrading. This brings up lots of questions. Who decides who 63 deserves a pay raise? Do we still need budgets and targets?
The coach has no power over the team. Nor organizations. But everywhere around us we see signs does she have any targets to reach or profit-and-loss that the pyramid finds it hard to cope with the com- responsibility.
She is just there to help. Her role is plexity of the world today. We need to upgrade to significant nevertheless. Self-management is no walk structures of distributed authority. The core unit is a self-managing team of ten to And the headquarters? There are only twenty-eight twelve nurses.
Today there are eight hundred such people working in headquarters, mostly involved in teams throughout the Netherlands. In the teams, administrative tasks such as interfacing with the Dutch there is no team leader; the management tasks are social security system. For every would normally expect. The overall structure is really forty to fifty teams in a region, there is a regional coach extraordinarily simple.
It was founded in the s deliberate—in Part 3 of this book. Jean- late in over twenty-five years. Today, workers make sixteen or seventeen months of salary, FAVI operates on lines very similar to Buurtzorg. The planning department gave The day before production, A sales manager who received sales an estimated shipping date the scheduling department made a client order instructed someone and allocated the necessary the detailed planning of what in sales support to enter the order machine time in the master would be produced on which into the system.
Workers simply needed to show This fragmented process was up and do what they were told. Based on the schedule, HR then was full or empty, or what client If an order was late, it was hard to allocated workers to machines. Today the process at FAVI is much simpler Once a week, the sales account person from, say, the Audi mini-factory meets with his team- mates to share the order for the week.
Everyone joins in the joy if the order is large or the disappointment if the order is small. Planning happens on the spot, and the team jointly agrees on a shipping date. Sometimes, the sales account person has bad news to share: Chinese competition quoted a very low price. Can we match it? People knock their heads together and figure out if they feel they can shave another few minutes off the machining process. They face their clients and competitors directly and know that their jobs depend on doing a good job and making wise decisions.
They are proud of the work they do and their capacity to self-organize. Unfortunately, none of them works particularly well in organizations. It's a terrible idea. One company called The decision-maker must consider all it the Advice Process, a name that captures its advice seriously.
But the goal is not to make essence well. After careful can make any decision, including spending consideration, the decision-maker chooses company money. But first, that person has to what he sees as the best course of action, even seek advice from 1 people who have exper- if that means going against a piece of advice tise about the topic, and 2 from those that received from a colleague. I get useful perspectives that help me improve my proposal … … and then my colleagues trust me to make the best decision.
In practice, the advice process proves remarkably powerful. Any person who feels strongly about an issue or a possibility has the power to do something about it. And at the same time, every decision is informed by a form of collective intelligence, as everyone who has something meaningful to contribute is heard. Perhaps you wonder: Do people really seek advice and listen? What prevents people from pretending to listen and then making a decision they had wanted all along?
Here is why people take the advice process very seriously: Imagine that one morning, you give advice to a colleague. Of course, you hope that she will consider it very carefully. And so later that day, when the same colleague comes to you to give you advice on a different topic, it will be hard for you to simply dismiss her advice. Everyone is enmeshed in a deep network of advice-giving. In these workplaces, if you shoot from the hip, colleagues will quickly let you know that your behavior is unacceptable.
With the advice process, there is no need for hierarchy, no need to seek approval, to escalate decisions upwards. He can set up a list of specifications and negotiate with machine suppliers. Along the way, before he makes any decision, he must consult people with expertise and people who will be meaningfully affected. And Janet has a lot of expertise in negotiations. I learned a great deal there too. And of course, at various points in time, I consulted my colleagues who will operate the machine with me.
With all these perspectives, I feel I made the right decision. We are all pretty excited about the new machine! Back in the day, an engineer and a purchaser decided what machine to buy, and we would discover the machine only on the day it was installed.
No wonder we dragged our feet to use it. The bigger the decision, the more people need to be asked for advice For small decisions related to your work, you simply go ahead and make the call. Often, a team meeting might be a good place to get quick advice, if everyone on the team is concerned. For a larger decision—take the purchase of the machine, for example—you are likely to set up meetings along the way, ad hoc, when needed.
What about decisions that affect everyone in the organization? Well … everyone must be consulted! How is that possible in a large organization? That affects all nine thousand nurses. Jos de Blok has found a simple and powerful way to go about it. He seeks advice with a blog post.
He shares directions the company could take, decisions he feels are needed, or simply a story that epitomizes what Buurtzorg is about. The posts are written straight from the heart, without PR polish. When he has a decision in mind that affects all the nurses, he shares his proposal and the thinking behind it and asks for reactions. The next day, the message is read by thousands of nurses when they log on between two clients. And it draws dozens, sometimes hundreds, of comments.
And then one of two things happens. This kind of leadership by blog post requires a degree Sometimes, however, the comments show disagree- of trust, candor, and vulnerability that few CEOs in ment. Nurses share that from their perspective, things traditional companies would feel comfortable with. In such Once a post is published, there is no going back. Critical situations, when Jos is back on his sofa in the evening, comments and rebukes are for all to see; they cannot he simply writes another message saying, in essence: My proposal was premature.
I marvel at the efficiency the advice received. Or if things are really complex, of the process: Decisions that are already supported by the into the situation and come up with a solid proposal. A few days later, the two would meet to review the draft proposal. The proposal is then discussed at an executive committee meeting. Maybe politics will come into play. Someone wants to look smart and insists on And the head of HR Is back to the drawing board with investigating some alternative option.
Two weeks later, in the next executive committee Now it goes to someone in internal communications meeting, the proposal is finally endorsed. So MANY meetings! Perhaps you understand why I sometimes smile when people tell me: The quality of the decisions is often much higher too, because insightful perspectives have emerged and been integrated. Every decision is fueled by a process of collective intelligence. I wonder if you noticed: It could well be that the decision proves unworkable on the ground.
Compensation and incentives I find this slightly It doesn't need to be complicated insulting, to One of the first questions people often ask is: Who gets a pay raise or a fat bonus? Talking about bonuses, here is an interesting finding: For instance, at FAVI, no one is incentivized, not even the sales people. I write this, and I realize that by now I might have lost some of you: But come to think of it, a sales person at FAVI, say from the Audi or the Volvo team, meets his colleagues every week to tell them about the weekly order.
He sees how everyone cheers when the order is large and how there is disappointment when the order is small. What more incentive does he need? But what about the base pay? The company is in a commodity industry, Morning Star is the company in this research and yet it is highly profitable.
Chris Rufer has that has fleshed out, perhaps better than any been able to finance the growth mostly from other, the processes required for effective self- cash flows and remains percent owner management. It was started quite humbly in of his business.
Morning Star came up with by a man named Chris Rufer, who leased a number of technical innovations, but self- a truck to haul tomatoes. Today Rufer heads management can certainly be credited for a small tomato empire: Morning Star harvests much of its success.
If you work there, once a year, you write tomato-processing company.
It operates three a letter in which you state what raise you think 75 state-of-the-art processing plants that produce you deserve. You also discuss with colleagues 30 to 40 percent of the tomato paste and diced in your area who wants to volunteer for this tomatoes consumed in the United States. People are remarkably good at estimating their see what happens. At Morning Star, salary is value. In any given year at Morning Star, roughly not something people waste much time talk- three-quarters of colleagues will go simply ing about.
Like many other practices, the way with a cost-of-living increase and a quarter self-managing organizations deal with pay with a salary raise on top of it. Sometimes the forces us to grow up, to behave as adults. And in a handful of us to behave like parents and children, where cases, the panel tells people they might have subordinates rebel and complain and bosses aimed too high. In such cases, the panel has get annoyed at the perceived immaturity of no authority to force the colleague to accept the people they manage.
The remarkable thing about the advice Me! She got more process is that it cuts through much of the than I did! You think your salary is too low? You just have to have managers to keep the pressure up! All of us are happier at the to do more and do things faster. When that pressure end of a day where we did great work rather than lousy disappears, will people not simply start to slack off? When nothing stands in the way of our intrinsic Many self-managing organizations have found the motivation, we tend to be … well, motivated!
At Buurtzorg, Peer emulation plays a big role too. At Buurtzorg, for instance, nurses need to help one another set teams see every month how they compare with others healthy boundaries and not work too much. What is in terms of productive hours. How come people without bosses public. The short answer seems antibodies or call it pride kick in: Young recruits often beam with energy and member will raise the issue.
You can hide from a boss. Remember how king. At the same time, they are regularly asked to changes at FAVI brought workers in much closer comply with some absurd decisions made high up the contact with their clients?
Every week, workers know pyramid. At some point, they settle for less and say, about the order their mini-factory receives. But this can be reversed: One last word about self-management nurses build up reputations and to put aside another frequent influence well beyond their team and misunderstanding. Quite the This is not about making everyone opposite—in the absence of a power equal. Some people will tend to focus hierarchy, lots of natural, healthy on narrower roles, say a machine hierarchies start to emerge.
And Whatever the topic, some nurses will others will contribute with a broader naturally have a larger contribution perspective, say an engineer that to make or more say, based on their takes the lead in designing a whole expertise, interest, or willingness to new factory. But the engineer has no step in. One nurse might be a par- power authority over the operator, not ticularly good listener and coach to on hiring, firing, or salary.
The genius her colleagues. Another might be a of mechanisms like the advice process great planner and organizer. Another is to channel decisions and resources might be a living encyclopedia of fluidly to the most appropriate person: Yet ano- sometimes the engineer will ask the ther might have a knack for handling operator for advice, and sometimes conflict within the team or within the it will be the other way around.
The feuding family of a patient. This is best understood using a metaphor from nature. A fern or a mushroom growing next to a tree might not reach as high as the tree, but that is not the point.
In a nearly literal for work in the morning. The uni- talking about. It is also a claim the organization experience, this is quite rare. But I also tell makes on the person: We no you are, but in certain pre-determined, longer know how to take it off, even acceptable ways.
What is at play here is a subtle, Let me try to illustrate this. We all but powerful, conspiracy of fears. And we all weekend clothes—things would have a deeper part, some deeper quickly turn into a mess. Armies longings, deeper hopes for our have long known that people lives, for other people, and for the who are made to feel interchan- planet. Strangely enough, in most geable are much easier to control.
But show up from them at some point. A creative young person is hired straight out of school by an advertising agency. If you work in a bank, a hospital, or a school, feel free to adapt the story. After working there for a year, he invites all his colleagues to an internal meeting.
This is really important to me. I wonder: To create that false need, we tell them they are not OK the way they are, that they should look like the photoshopped, impossibly perfect women and men from our ads.
All this to sell a product made in China, that uses up natural resources and pollutes the planet. And that will end up in a landfill a few weeks or months later. I really wonder: Speaking our truth, giving voice to our deepest hopes and longings feels risky Simply, the ego is what we are left with when we cut ourselves off from deeper parts of ourselves.
We all have masculine and feminine energies, whether we are male or female. Often they are met with ridicule.
And so we all end up appearing much more determined than we really are, hiding our doubts and vulnerabilities, losing touch with an essential part of who we are. We all have a rational, an emotional, an intuitive, and a spiritual side. The intuitive side? And the spiritual side? The person shows up with only one-sixteenth of friction of working with others brings up won- himself. Of course this is only an illustration, derful possibilities to reclaim aspects of who but I think it speaks to a profound truth.
If so we are that we have neglected or pushed into many workplaces feel lifeless, it is perhaps the shadows. What happens then is magical. There is a Self-management goes a long way toward level of vibrancy and aliveness in some of reducing the many subtle fears people these work places that I had not seen before. When there is Colleagues discover in awe how much more no boss to please, no people below to keep life there is in them than they ever imagined.
Some organizations, like Morning help each other reveal their inner greatness Star or FAVI, focus their efforts squarely on and manifest their calling. Much of what makes self-management. Other organizations find the workplace unpleasant and inefficient sim- that even with self-management in place, ply vanishes.
We all have our personal histories, and in the presence of others, we often shy away from being fully There is a sentence I heard over and over again from people working in Teal ourselves. In fact, it There is another extraordinary goes further than this: They meant that there is a degree of listening and care among colleagues that they don't always have with their spouse or children. Take the following practice of Sounds True, a Colorado-based company that disseminates teachings of spiritual masters through audio and video recordings, books, and online seminars.
Something special happens in the presence of dogs, colleagues noticed. Petting a dog tends to ground us, to bring out the better sides of our nature.
A similar thing has happened at Patagonia, the in hiding behind a professional mask at work. At its headquarters in Animals and children uncannily get us to reveal Ventura, California, the company hosts a Child a deeply loving and caring part of us. But just imagine if not only you, but kindergarten age. How much more would we all playground outside, from children visiting their enjoy work?
It is not uncommon to see a mother nursing her child 93 during a meeting. Relationships change subtly but profoundly when people see each other not only as colleagues, but also as people capable of the profound love and care young children inspire.
Allowing dogs or children into the workplace is not earth-shattering. Some people will argue that children or animals distract us from work.
I have come to believe there is a deeper reason why we might feel unsure about it: Recruitment, onboarding, evaluations … these funda- Could we invent a truthful, soulful recruitment process, mental HR processes can be reinvented in fundamental where candidates and employer drop the mask and ways. Take recruitment: And so does the organization in my research, reinvent not only their HR practices. Safe space Showing up whole feels exhilarating … and vulnerable.
It needs a space that feels safe. All spiritual and wisdom traditions speak to and purchasing, from budgeting to monitoring the fact that we can live from two places: But ano- wholeness. Our deepest calling in life, these ther ingredient is just as important: Why then is wholeness so hard to day out, to people who have experienced dif- achieve and separation so easy to fall into? Showing up whole feels risky. Resources for Human Development RHD , a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, is an organiza- tion that has strived, for more than forty years, to do just that: Some organizations, like RHD, find this so critical that they capture in a document a number of ground rules that everyone should respect.
For instance, it discusses how to deal with conflict gracefully and speaks to five unacceptable expres- sions of hostility. To give you a sense of the document, the first unacceptable behavior—demeaning speech and behavior—is described in the following terms: Anyone encountering 97 such hostile behavior has the right and responsibility to surface it as an issue.
The detailed ground rules in Teal organizations essentially take shared values to the next level. Of course, it takes more than a document to bring values and ground rules to life. Many organizations in this research have chosen to start right at the beginning: Other opportunities, like all-hands meetings, value days, or annual surveys, can be used to reconnect with and reaffirm the ground rules.
An increasing number of people take up and integrate a contemplative practice—meditation, yoga, walking in nature—into their daily lives. Many organizations researched for this book have set up a quiet room somewhere in the office, and others organize meditation and yoga classes.
These practices open up space for individual reflection and mindfulness in the middle of busy days. Some organizations go a step further: Heiligenfeld is the organization I know that has woven reflective practices most profoundly into everyday life at work. It is a fast-growing company with more than eight hundred employees running four mental health and rehabilitation hospitals in the center of Germany.
It is the brainchild of Dr. Joachim Galuska, a medical doctor and psychotherapist. In the s, he felt that more holistic approaches to therapy were needed to treat patients in mental hospitals; he wanted to add spiritual and transpersonal approaches to classical psychotherapy. He found that none of the existing hospitals he talked to were open to his vision.
In , he stumbled upon Fritz Lang, an entrepreneur and owner of a historic, if somewhat faded, hotel in a small spa town. Together they decided to transform the hotel into a small forty-three-bed mental health hospital that would offer a holistic approach to therapy. The success has been remarkable, with clients traveling in from all over Germany and other parts of Europe, pushing Heiligenfeld to keep expanding and to post solid financial returns.
The practice that probably does most to invite reflection and foster a sense of wholeness and community happens every Tuesday morning. For seventy-five minutes, colleagues ideally it would be everyone, but some colleagues need to be with patients15 come together to pause and engage in joint reflection. There is a new topic every week, which can A whole set range widely: At Heiligenfeld, it is considered normal— The meeting always kicks off with a short plenary pre- even essential—that there be moments for sentation to frame the subject matter.
A ways to deal gracefully with failure. And New possibilities open every day, there is a thirty-minute medita- up when we stop being tion session planned for anyone interested.
I want to pretend that nothing happened, hoping it will just go away … After this introduction, people shuffle their chairs At some point, a microphone goes around the room around to create groups of six to ten people. This is and people who feel inclined to do so share what the heart of the Tuesday meeting: There is no these groups, colleagues reflect on the topic—how expected end product; everyone comes out of the they deal with failure in their lives, at work, and at meeting with his or her own personal learning.
And home, individually and collectively. I had a pretty cool insight this morning. But ask people at Heiligenfeld, and they tell you the benefits far outweigh the costs. The large-group reflections are like a company-wide training program on steroids; the whole organization grows its way through one topic after another, week after week. Every week, the ground rules of how people relate with one another get reaffirmed. The trust, empathy, and compassion that get nurtured there end up permeating the whole organization.
If we want workplaces of trust, if we hope for deep, rich, and meaningful relationships, we have to reveal more of who we are. These events lack the essential element we have used to build community and create shared narratives since the dawn of time: Team members welcome the new recruit in a special gathering where each shares a wish for him or her, and they tell the story of their wish with an object that When teenagers step into their power symbolizes it. But in many ways, it dinary on many counts.
That is not a "flat hierarchy", nor is it a false declaration of equality between all - it is something else altogether. Thirdly, yes, the traditional management hierarchy serves many, many functions, including conflict resolution and making decisions. Those processes have to be handled in some way. According to the RO book, most teal companies end up developing robust conflict management practices that teach people to resolve their own conflicts.
You might think that doesn't work - that's because you're operating in a traditional hierarchical environment where indeed it can't work. GrantTree has been going down the teal route for over 2 years now and it's only this year that we started developing a proper conflict management process.
As for the decision making, I cover that in this article, if you're curious: So, while your points are totally fair and skepticism is always a good practice, based on my direct experience and based on the dozen or so examples of companies doing this, in the book - I believe that this is not utopian at all.
In fact, I am fairly convinced that just as years ago the red and amber models were dominant, and today the orange model is dominant, give it another few decades I reckon less than 3 and the green and teal models will start to dominate.
Thanks for these perspectives. Haven't thought that people might not be able to see beyond the next level from the level they're in.
Quite an interesting thought. And it seems to apply to all the verticals of human development, like spirituality, self-identity, cognitive capacities, etc. Hm, now that I think about it and watched Ray Kurzweil talking about technology evolution and human's brain evolution, he pointed out that entire nature is hierarchical and our brains evolved hierarchical pattern recognizers.
So, the hierarchy is inherent within our ways of thinking But we are hardwired to develop thinking in more abstract ways compared to previously build abstraction levels. Hence, maybe we will build on top of our current hierarchically based way of thinking and be able to go beyond that frontier of limited, egoistic perception of reality. And possibly such teal organizations are just a tip of the emerging consciousness level we're beginning to shift into as a spieces.
Consciousness is not limited by the physicality of our World that imposes hierarchical structures on its matter Well, I believe Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek shows that even hierarchies can be great for more advanced civilizations.
But, bare in mind that in that universe, the crew could take the captain down, if he didn't play fair towards the entire crew a.
So, I still do believe that hierarchies are important part of the way we can organize to achieve things together, but it's not the only possible way, as Frederick Laloux depicts through his research. The original link is to a pdf of slides which summarize his ideas -- not the book itself. Nice read. Pay what feels right. Hacker News new past comments ask show jobs submit. Reinventing organizations [pdf] reinventingorganizations. Joeri on June 27, I found this a worthwhile read.