Reinventing Organizations: A book re view by Bob Morris

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by bobmorris

Reinventing OrgsReinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness
Frederic Laloux
Nelson Parker (2014)

How and why to create, develop, and sustain “a more soulful, purposeful, and productive workplace”

Recent and extensive research on workplace cultures in the U.S. indicate that, on average, less than 30% of the employees are actively and productively engaged; the remaining 80% are either passively engaged (“mailing it in”) or actively engaged in undermining the success of the given enterprise. According to Ken Wilber in the Preface, Frederic Laloux’s book covers all four quadrants, at least five levels of consciousness and culture, several multiple lines or intelligences, and various types of organizational structures” of what both Wilber and Laloux view as a “new paradigm,” one that poses unique perils and opportunities for individuals as well as organizations. The nature and extent of employee engagement are inextricably involved in this paradigm, one that requires a “guide to creating [or transforming] organizations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Laloux’s coverage.

o Changing Paradigms: Past and Present Organizational Models (Pages 13-35)
o A New Metaphor: organizations as living systems (55-60)
o Self-Management (Structures) (61-97)
o Self-Management: Processes (99-141)
o Striving for Wholeness: General Practices (143-172)
o Onboarding: (176-178)
o Training (180)
o Common Cultural Traits (225-234)
o Evolutionary-Teal: Introducing Self-Management (268-277)
o Introducing practices related to evolutionary purpose (282-284)
o What an Evolutionary-Teal society might look like (294-300)
o The Structures of Teal Organizations (319-325)

In terms of its structure, the defining characteristics of a Teal organization include self-organized teams, no executive team meetings, radically simplified project management, most staff functions performed by team members themselves, interviews of job candidates focus on “fit” with values and purpose, significant training in relational skills and company culture, personal freedom with authority as well as responsibility, no job titles, individual purpose must be compatible with organizational purpose, candid discussion of work/life issues and commitments, focus on team performance, self-set compensation with peer calibration of base pay, no promotions but fluid rearrangement of duties and responsibilities, and dismissal only as the very last step in mediated conflict resolution.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do dull justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Laloux provides. Moreover, he would be the first to point out that it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to apply everything learned from the book. Presumably he agrees with me that reinvention is an on-going process rather than a special project. This is what Marshall Goldsmith had in mind when entitling one of his more recent books What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. That said, I presume to add that whatever got you here won’t even allow you to remain “here,” whatever and wherever that may be. Frederic Laloux offers a compelling vision, to be sure, but also an operations manual. He agrees with Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

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