Sustainability and the road to teal organisations
Yes, I do associate the teal color with sustainability. I derive this association from the works of Henryk Skolimowski, Ken Wilber and Frederic Laloux. In his book “Reinventing Organizations”, Laloux described a teal organisation, as an organisation without managers but with leaders. Also Andrzej Blikle in his book “Doktryna Jakości” writes about a teal self-organisation without managers, but with leaders. These books do not treat expensively the aspects of sustainable development, but they deal with decent work. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8) is “Decent work and economic growth”. Below you can see other SDG goals that are also related to teal organisation.
It is precisely teal organisations that are, by definition, organisations of decent work. It also involves a shift from benefit motivation (“carrot and stick” approach) to dignity motivation. A difficult task to accomplish. This is not currently possible in every situation.
Frederic Laloux has written: “When we act with deep integrity and respond positively to the cWszystkie/Alling we feel within us, the universe does its best to help us.”
Andrzej Blikle explains the above statement as follows:
“When we act with deep integrity – when we act in accordance with our value system, with a sense that we are doing something important and necessary of which we can be proud; and we respond positively to the vocation we feel within us – when we act in conditions that unleash our creativity, when we are given the power to make decisions, when we have a sense of agency and influence on the reality around us, and thus on our future; the universe does its best to help us – we have a statistical certainty of success, as indicated by both scientific research and everyday business practice”.
Each of us and each team of people is an energy system connected to the energy of the universe. Our thoughts are a powerful energy. If they are positive, harmonised with our inner energy, good things happen. Decent work is the optimal use of human energy.
So, you think that implementing sustainability in a company is about transforming it into a teal organisation?
I believe that implementing sustainability in a company goes hand in hand with making changes. One change may be a transformation of management style towards self-organisation.
Is it true that in teal organisations decisions are taken by those who know and the others trust them?
Yes, it is. The real strength of a teal organisation lies in accountability and trust in “people who know”. It is about feeling that we Wszystkie/All trust one another in a team. Each of us knows something very well and will do his or her job with full responsibility.
It takes time and effort to build the trust and responsibility of each member of a large team. The way we communicate needs to be reconsidered. A lot depends on the previous management style and on trust in the person or persons who want to make such a change in the company. This is not easy and not every team succeeds.
Is the transformation towards a teal organisation a means to market advantage?
In the teal organisations we talk about corporate social responsibility which also includes responsibility for the environment and for our planet. Increasingly, price is not the only selection criterion for customers. There is an upward trend to choose a brand not just on the criterion of lowest or highest price. More and more people are interested in additional information about the companies producing a particular brand and this is influencing their choice. Awareness of the mistreatment of workers or the environment is increasingly the reason why a product not bought.
Let me quote A. Blikle here:
“…The work in organisations that provide a good life is a joy and are therefore is more productive, more innovative and less error-prone. And that is what gives you a market advantage.
“…an element of building a teal organisation is creating a climate of social responsibility, building the feeling that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our organisation but also for our little and large homeland, as well as the planet on which we live.”
“…Teal organisations are shaking up the world model and revers the order of things. They begin from the observation that if a good life is a fundamental value for us than we should take care of it first, starting with remodelling our work. Thus, we should organise it in such a way that it gives us a sense of life, Wszystkie/Allows us to develop, and offers space for creativity and innovation. So that we can be proud of what we do and who we are. We should also make sure that we have a good life in the social area: let us be partners and not competitors, let us cooperate and support each other instead of competing, let us build up good relationships based on trust.
What changes are mainly needed in the operational and managerial sphere?
The most important aspect is communication. Empathetic, reliable and timely communication.
The budget is changing its role. It no longer constitutes a contract with the manager. It is not a tool for accountability and bonuses. It provides guidance for making the necessary optimisation changes.
Central planning is being replaced by ongoing forecasting, including ongoing forecasting of annual profit. Forecasting is used to make good decisions by those who understand it best.
The scope of responsibilities of each worker, to quote A.Blikle, “…fWszystkie/Alls under the following four principles: you do what you are good at, you do what is needed, you are responsible for it, you can change what you do, though but in line with previous principles. In such an organisation no one says – this is not my responsibility.”
The organisational structure is changing from a hierarchical structure towards a process structure. Teams delegate tasks within themselves. Everyone, in a responsible manner, can delegate a task to anyone. Each team can be an internal supplier and an internal customer. Teams form interconnected links, creating, in effect, value for the external customer in the value chain.
A. Blikle writes: “The teal organisations resemble multicellular organisms in which there is no central control, but cells with different functions delegate tasks to each other. For hundreds of millions of years, this is how nature has developed biological organisms. Today, organisations built by people are beginning to follow suit.”
Sustainability and the road to teal organisations is about working with heart, respect and values.
A.Blikle’s decalogue for building a teal organisation
- Don’t look for the culprit to punish – look for the cause to remove it.
- Don’t expect perfection that cannot be achieved – expect progress that is always possible.
- Avoid competition which destroys the partnership – create conditions for cooperation.
- Don’t judge because it destroys – appreciate because it strengthens.
- Don’t say what is wrong – say what could be better.
- Don’t ask people what they could do better – ask them what is preventing them from doing their job.
- Don’t build on control – build on trust.
- Don’t say someone is bad – say how you feel about it.
- Don’t manage – create the conditions for self-organisation.
- Don’t be a supervisor – be a teacher, a moderator and a learner.
Can “teal” solutions, sustainability be implemented in every company?
Yes, you can introduce elements of the teal organisation in any company, in any organisation. Just as two teal stones are not alike, so each company will implement teal principles differently. There is no ready-made copycat, but nevertheless it is worth making the effort to make a change.
Can a sustainability strategy be built and implemented in every company?
I believe so. A.Blikle’s translation of Frederic Laloux’s text quoted above can be modified:
“When we act with deep integrity – when we act in accordance with our value system covering the business, environmental and social spheres, with a sense that we are doing something important and necessary of which we can be proud;
and we respond positively to the vocation we feel within us – when we act in conditions that unleash our creativity, when we are given the power to make decisions, when we have a sense of agency and influence on the reality around us, and thus on our future;
the universe is doing its best to help us – we have a statistical certainty of success, as indicated by both scientific research and everyday business practice”.
Sustainability and the road to teal is one of the chWszystkie/Allenges of our time.