Two Game Changing Words for You and Your Organization: Beyond. Teal.

Posted by Bruce Peters

BeyondTeal_logo_-_Clear.pngStandard business rhetoric is abundant. Step into any bookstore’s business aisle and you will be overwhelmed with shelves of how-to books, usually promising all the answers to leaders’ universal challenges. And yet, despite the volumes of instruction, the answers continue to remain an elusive mystery to many.

And yet the whispers of change are growing bold. Come enter a place where real companies are achieving the seemingly impossible: a responsive, thriving environment of life and work supported with a strong bottom line and fully engaged employees. How did these organizations get there?

The answer lies in their leadership. Yes, people like you.

Here is where their journey begins.

What is Beyond?

At face value, “beyond” is a preposition. It references the farthest side of; past; after. Beyond is to a degree that is past the understanding, reach, or scope of something.

The concept of beyond is philosophical. It’s about identifying where you are in your life at this moment, understanding how you got there, and determining where you are going. It’s quite common for adults to seek these answers after they’ve been in an established career and are ready for something new. This is typically around ages 45-55, when they are approaching the additional 25-30 years afforded to them through our society’s longer life span. This phase has a name. It’s called The Third Act. 

What is Teal?

Yes, teal is a color. It’s a mix between green and blue and color specialists believe it represents clarity of thought. Fun stuff. But scholars in the field of psychology and more recently, in business, have other plans for teal. 

Psychologists have long used colors to represent the different stages of developmental needs and growth. Red, at the base, symbolizes basic needs of survival — food, water, breathing, sex, etc. The levels move up through orange, yellow, green and teal, at the top, symbolizing individuals who have attained the highest level of spiritual potential. Think in terms of high morality, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, and creativity. 

In business strategy, Frederic Laloux, an extraordinary leader in the field, created a guide to changing organizations that is inspired by psychology. That guide is called Reinventing Organizations. The premise is simple: organizational paradigms mirror the evolution of human societies. A similar color code, to the one used by psychologists, identifies the different stages of organizational development and growth. Every stage has contributed breakthrough ideas that have allowed organizational paradigms to evolve.

A highly simplified summary of Laloux’s organizational paradigms is listed below:                     

Red – The guiding metaphor of red is a wolf pack. Key breakthroughs include a single ruler, division of labor and command authority. Think street gangs, terrorist groups, the mafia and tribal militias

Amber – The guiding metaphor of amber is an army. Key breakthroughs include stable, replicable processes and scaleable hierarchies. Think top down command control like the military, governmental organizations, and the Catholic church.

Orange – The guiding metaphor is a machine. Key breakthroughs include innovation, accountability, and meritocracy. The primary goal is to beat competition for growth and profit. Most multinational corporations are orange.

Green – The guiding metaphor is family. Key breakthroughs include empowerment, egalitarian management, and the stakeholder model. The focus is on culture and empowerment for employee motivation. Southwest Airlines and Tom & Jerry’s are green organizations. 

Teal – The guiding principal is a living organism. Key breakthroughs include self-management, wholeness, and an evolutionary purpose. Teal organizations have a resilient organizational structure that self-organize around a shared goal to make the world a better place. They are nimble and provide fulfilling work-life environments for staff. Patagonia and Morning Star are teal organizations.

What is Beyond Teal?

Beyond Teal combines the idea of The Third Act with a select group of business leaders. These are individuals who recognize that organizations have life cycles and evolve along and that their role is a dynamic one. Quite often, these are the leaders who have met their goals, are facing that next cycle of growth, and are unsure of how to proceed.

Organizations stagnate when the CEO is not reaching their highest potential. Beyond Teal guides a leader into finding their purpose and wholeness in their personal and professional life in such a way that the organization fulfills its highest potential as well. 

In their state of low-level angst leaders often wonder:

  • What is my role is in this next act?
  • Who will take over my former responsibilities as I focus on new ones?
  • How will I provide the necessary mentoring and guidance for the next generation?
  • Is my company sustainable and capable of adapting and thriving with fully engaged employees as customer demands evolve?

Sound familiar?

It’s time to put Beyond Teal on your horizon line and get started on living your answers now.

You can start by reading Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organization. Sarah Derrenbacher, a colleague in the field, introduced me to Laloux’s book and I want to pass that introduction along to you. If you’re ready for more action, I invite you to start a conversation with me

Are you ready to learn more?

Schedule a free 1/2 hour conversation with me about Beyond Teal.

Learn More About Beyond Teal


Topics: Leadership, Beyond Teal

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