The idea of Evolutionary or “Teal” Organizations, was first popularized in the book Reinventing Organizations.
In the book Frédéric Laloux takes the example of successful organizations (Buurtzorg) that were structred in a distributed and more organic sense than a typical hierarchy and uses them to distil concepts which to him denoted the next evolution of organizations.
Evolutionary organizations are meant to be more fulfilling than traditional hierarchies, and allows its members to have more autonomy and power over organizational decision making. In this sense, it is very similar to, daos (daos-are-digital-organisms) which also describe themselves as being more organic.
Both Teal organizations and DAOs are heterarchical (heterarchies-are-the-ideal-civil-society), but have a few differences. The biggest one is that Teal organizations use the advice process (consent not consense) but DAOs still use voting processes for decision making. Otherwise, both structures hold similar principles (full transparency, culture, conflict resolution and wholeness).
- Autonomous teams
- No bosses and organizational charts
- No job descriptions or titles (use flexible roles instead)
- Distributed decision making
- Transparent information flow
- Conflict resolution
- Safe and supportive environment
- Explicit ground rules
- Reflective spaces
- Regular meeting practices
- Support personal development
The Teal paradigm accepts that each organization has its own identity, life force and calling.
Teal for-profit organizations have a different perspective on profit. Profit is necessary and investors deserve a fair return, but the objective is purpose, not profit. Teal founders often use the same metaphor: profit is like the air we breathe. We need air to live, but we don’t live to breathe.
Profit is a byproduct of a job well done.
It’s interesting to note what kind of leadership might be appropriate for evolutionary organizations.