Teal organizations the way we understand them
Teal organizations have first been mentioned by Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations. The book describes new, non-conventional approaches to managing companies founded on principles of transparency and non-authoritative management, and differentiated from other more traditional companies by their management practices and approaches to decision-making. Other names for such forms of management are holocracy, synergetic organizations, organizations of the future etc.
RemoteAssembly had already been founded when we read the abovementioned book. However, a lot of management ideas the book refers to have already been either tested in our company, or planned to be incorporated into our approaches; some have been recognized by us as important. We couldn’t but get interested in the subject, as it rather strongly resonated with our vision of the future of the company we lead.
Everyone interested in this subject may notice a remarkable pattern: there are more case-studies of realized projects than theoretical researches of the subject. Therefore we assume that it is not a fashionable trend provoked by intellectual discourse, but rather an attempt of business to tackle the management backlog and to create organizational forms that would better meet current business challenges.
We understand the term teal organizations not as a theory supported by a set of specific business tools, but rather as an attempt to solve problems accumulated during the period when “traditional” management practices and approaches prevailed in leadership. As an attempt to design a new reality, the future. But what kind of problems are they?
Alienation. Indeed, many, if not all of those employed may confirm my assumption. When a manager says “we”, all employees immediately think that by “we” “I” is meant. “We need to increase sales” means “I want more money”
Loyalty. Loyalty and the desire to be associated with the company as result of increased engagement of employees rather than a rational choice (social package, salary, etc)
Goal-setting. Shifting away from the commonly accepted vision that profit maximization is the core purpose of any business. This remains an important pre-condition of a successful business, but stops being an objective per se, as it’s always followed by an inevitable question “What for?”. The USA has been the first to recognize it — a majority of start-ups are not profitable, at the same time they solve global issues the mankind faces. Possibly, it’s a manifestation of redundancy and we may experience another “dotcom bubble”, however it is hard to argue that the new man wants to be Tesla rather than Gazprom.
Happiness. A concept that is hardly compatible with the concept of work. However, it could be easily aligned with the evolution of our attitude to work. Initially we required that work is safe and secure, now we expect work to make us happy.
Creativity. Transition from competences to creativity. Futurologists would add a story about AI replacing routine jobs. That’s quite a possibility. However, the core idea is not about AI replacing workers doing manual routine jobs, humans in fact prefer creativity to routine and specializations. Modern technologies allow us to avoid the division of labor as Adam Smith defined it without losing in efficiency
Freedom. A lack of hierarchy, subordination and other attributes of the power. Arguably, it is one of the most difficult issues, and quite possibly — one of the most disputable ones.
So we’ve outlined elements of the modern organizational model that we are not satisfied with. We’ve also described the company of the future, our company as we would like to see it. We know what’s in the left and in the right side of equation; however we don’t know the argument transforming one to the other. Practice and learning by experience may in future lead to a set of rules, nowadays it is in many ways an experiment we plan to participate in. We would be sharing our experience on each of the above points, including information about our achievements and mistakes.