In 2014 Fred Laloux wrote a book called “Reinventing Organizations” which has birthed a movement in the world of organizational design called “Teal.” And, If you are a geek for structures of any kind, I highly recommend reading this clear and sometimes humorous overview of the ways human beings have organized themselves to get things done ever since human beings started organizing themselves to get things done.
Nothing in Laloux’s history of humankind is strictly new, but the chromatic line he draws from violent hierarchies (red street gangs and crime syndicates) to regimented bureaucracies (the amber military or public school) to competitive corporations (insert name of orange megacorporation here) is enlightening, especially as it culminates in his description of the next stage of organization which he colors Teal.
In Laloux’s worldview, a critical mass of human beings have and are continuing to develop the awareness of certain principles which enable an organizational structure that, rather than exploit, exclude, and marginalize people, will empower, include, and transform them.
Written from a European perspective, Laloux’s case studies primarily focus on what I assume to be fairly racially and ethnically homogenous organizations. However, transplanted to the US, Teal becomes not only a tool for companies to operate in ways that are more purposeful and cooperative, but a power tool for the day to day work of dismantling Patriarchy and White Supremacy.
Introducing Teal principles and practices into a new or existing organization is idealistic, challenging, and disruptive, but can also be healing and deeply transformative. And, for leaders seeking to bake DEI values into the DNA of their operations, it’s definitely worth a try.
On March 1, I will be introducing some of the basic principles and practices of a Teal organization and sharing stories from my experiences implementing them over the past three years.
The event is free and presented by Techrise, a Chicago-based incubator for historically underrepresented tech founders.
Date: March 1
Time: 11am (PT)/1pm (CT)