Q: Organization change if current power and processes aren’t enough?

Question: How should I approach organization change if I sense that power and processes in my business aren’t enough?

Answer: Laloux’s work on “Reinventing Organizations”, roughly including work from Integral Theory and what colour “stage” of development an organization is at, outlines 5 stages.  The 3 most relevant are 3rd stage Orange, 4th stage Green, and 5th stage Teal.  Implicitly, this question is from an organizational leader (ex: founder, C-level, project or operation manager, etc) sensing something isn’t right and pondering better potential and areas to grow for the future.

For Orange organizations, going Teal demands a much better focus on first the values and social good their work brings to the world, how they treat others, and mostly alternative power structures which actually enable actually autonomy and distributive decision making without top-down hierarchies.  This is a radical shift of how Orange wants to organize itself, though it shares a common thirst for innovation and competitive advantage.  Use the push towards Teal to flatten supervisory and control processes, enable self-directed learning and engagement, and learn to see your people as more vital to sense real customer or service issues and directing strategy or new projects.

For Green organizations, going Teal is about where the rubber of all their great values, focus on process, and regard for social values and bettering the world really meets the road.  They too have authority issues which hold them back, but which arise from collectivism and the emotional need to not be too risky or agentic in one’s thinking and actions.  Becoming Teal, for Green, is about personal self-management, superb productivity, efficient communication, and ultimately an endless regard for excellence and self-mastery.  Greens love to stand in a group and need to be pushed to self-directed push boundaries and regard data options on all levels, allowing evolution organizationally.  There are huge age cohort effects in play, so most Millennials fall into this category- with all its boons and banes.  Focus back to their strengths as individuals, where they naturally draw passion, and create a context where their new improvements and self-directed actions aren’t just reinforced but vitally required to succeed and meticulously crafts metrics and new operations that ask them to test and re-iterate ideas to ensure empirical richness and avoid abstraction which blocks progress and implementation.

Many more thinkers, managers, and organizational experts have great thoughts here.  Also, each sector will have specific norms and needs around operations, regulations, and trends which relate to competitive advantage.  Check out:

 Giles Hutchin’s “Future Fit” post


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