About a year ago, overwhelmed by our institute growth prospects, I approached my local chamber of commerce to get onto their mentorship program. After a couple of months Daniel Blanchette (DB com) became my mentor. As he’s a management consultant, I showed him the ACT matrix and upon hearing about our institute’s values, he suggested I watch Frederic Laloux’s YouTube conference Reinventing Organizations.
Laloux describes a new form of business organization, which he dubbed the teal model. In teal organizations, decision-making power is radically devolved. Folks who are most concerned with a decision take the decision after consulting all who might be impacted by it. There are few set roles, no hierarchies. Overall growth and strategy is a function of what the team does. The organization goes where its people take it. No one person owns the overall vision and then orders others in how to apply it. After all, does it make sense that, after training people to become adults for some 20+ years, we treat them as children in the workplace by telling them what to do and letting the “adults” (management) take all the meaningful decisions.
I was smitten and offered that our institute go teal. Team members got a chance to decide whether to embark onto the teal adventure or pursue opportunities elsewhere. All but one went for the new way.
It’s not all been plain sailing and there was a period of adjustment. Eight months into implementation, I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far.
First, I don’t have to carry the whole business on my shoulders. Going teal means trusting your team and its members to take responsibility and make decisions that best serve the institute and its values. The results have been striking. New website with a focus on producing content. Deepening of our commitment to serve our clients: 100% satisfaction or your money back; free pass to a given workshop once you’ve attended it once; learning consolidation emails and videos after workshops. We’ve branched out into organizational work. And the development of a new program of trainings which we hope will best serve our community.
Next there has been an unleashing of creativity and initiative by team members. More open discussions and truly devolved decision-making—including setting remunerations!
Thirdly, by implementing teal principles, we are fully putting our values in action. Our new, your values in action, is us not just something we put on our letter head. Is applies as much outside – we offer trainings and services that help folks put values in action –, as inside—we run the institute in a way that allows each team member to put their values in action. And we don’t do it because teal makes good business sense, but because it is in our values to create a fun and radically empowering work environment in which to put values in action.