What is Teal and how do we apply it?
Teal is, as you know, a color but is also used as a level of development within organizational theories*. By Teal-level means that the organization reaches a level that can almost be described as a flock where all are leaders and followers at the very same time! The traditional hierarchies are exchanged for other looser hierarchies that lack traditional managers and also titles.
Going towards Teal is meant that together we will strive for new ways to lead and organize the business, which is different from the current norm today.
Just like nature, we build structures that are organic and that exist only if you want them to exist. They are based on desire, energy, and that everyone should be able to be themselves (authentic). To fit in here you must be aware, involved, and present.
Living in change
We associate with something that grows and grows. We see it more as an evolution, that is, development, change and adaptation. What is meant by saying that employees really are the company? How can the business look if the company really is built from within, through the employees and outwards?
Such an approach requires employees' awareness and is based on networking, participation, collaboration and communication. This organization has no limitations more than the employees' own limitations. Together, employees can solve almost every problem they face. Such a business is in a state of constant change and always has employees with them and remains constantly relevant in the market. It will be forever young.
What is organic is mobile in nature and does not need any organization. "Survival of the fittest" has never been about the strongest wins but about adaptability - things survive that best has the ability to adapt to changes in the environment.
Be with us
To be with us means that you are competent, creative and businesslike, but at the same time a person who is fun to spend time with, share and experience things with, have fun but also boring with. In short - a person to trust.
Being with us means that you meet people with different personalities, backgrounds, experiences, and opinions. We believe that this is enriching for the group, that in this way it becomes stronger more innovative and open-minded. We believe that ideas must be tested and challenged when they cross people with different perspectives.
Despite widely different personalities (but with compatible values), collaboration and knowledge sharing are essential. It is equally important that each individual has his own internal drive and can take command of a situation if required. It is not just meant that everyone can take the command, everyone is welcome to take the command.
The basic principle is that each individual must always pay attention to the others in the group. In each decision, each individual must take responsibility, but also at the same time take into account the other group members.
All are managers
We believe that the traditional structure of managers can be improved. We need a type of leadership where role models replace traditional managers. You are "promoted" for your ability to inspire or where one is expected to have a deeper or broader perspective than a less experienced colleague. This perspective is constantly evolving, as new challenges arise.
Being "promoted" depends on others turning to you. So certainly there are hierarchies in a group, but it is more about how integrated the employee is in the network. We are often asked if we have managers. Everyone here is a boss, or no boss. Actually, it's not that important.
Being driven by desire - not fear
In order for the flock to be able to make wise decisions and go the same direction, it is necessary to be willing to listen to each other in its vicinity. In a loving relationship, we dare to deliver even tough decisions because we are concerned that the relationship should last in the long run. In loving leadership, both what is beautiful and what is tough fit. Here exists both responsibility and trust.
Lust arises in the sense of love and belonging and is perhaps the most basic human impetus. Lust-driven people can go almost anywhere. They can exceed both their own and others' expectations.
It seems that we humans more than anything else want to avoid being excluded from the group and from the community - we are basically terrified of not being involved, to be left alone. We humans are therefore no sensible, emotional and ruthless solitary mavericks, but in the business world, we seem to have created a culture where this ideal rules.
By all means, anxiety is an extremely effective driving force. Fear is easy to understand, but it gives a stress boost that makes you eventually break. Anyone who dares to go the other way there is a lot to gain. People can do so much more than just doing "right". Lust is a far more sustainable driving force than fear.
The constant movement forward
To get a pleasurable attitude to constant adaptation and improvement, one must settle for that the result never is going to be perfect, most things in the world have flaws. “Hooray, it's not perfect, should we continue? What is the next step?”. It's not about completely losing the grip, but about understanding, presence and awareness, and moving on.
Should one then work without plans and defined end goals? On the contrary - the trick is to focus on direction rather than on goals. Key results and budgets are important but not as control, but to get an understanding of where you stand. The point is to constantly move forward and accept what you have done so far. This is the foundation of "Sense & Respond".
Sense & respond
Traditionally, we are taught that things should be controlled - "Predict & Control", where the boss determines goals that are then delegated into the hierarchies and checked if they are followed. The idea of "Sense & Respond" is to feel and react. It is about being involved in and paying attention to what is happening around and then acting on it.
It is not necessarily wrong to steer and control in the way that has traditionally been done, but the result is rarely more than mediocre. With the other way, the employees instead get the chance to act in the present and try to find the best possible results in each situation. Anyone who is in the course of the event has a greater chance of influencing it.
Time to create something new
The modern industrial organizations have been refined to become well-oiled, structured and efficient. They have worked very well for us over the last hundred years and will do so for many more years. Unfortunately, they have very little room for us people, since we feel like a small cog in a large machinery. With increasingly low engagement levels of employees and stress levels that are record high, we believe that it is time to collaborate and organize in other ways.
Welcome, you're invited!
Within Go4Teal, we will together strive for new ways to lead and organize the business.
What type of seed do you want to plant?
References and inspiration
- Reinventing Organizations, by Frederick Laloux
Teal, Tillit, Transparens - En guide för självorganisering och demokratisering av arbetsplatsen (storpocket, 2021), by Alicia och Rolf Medina
Reinventing Organizations animation video clip describes the various levels towards the Teal level
Harder Better Faster Stronger, by Erik Ringertz, Netlight Consulting
Från Napoleon till VOKA, by Henrik Martin, Stardust Consulting