Reinventing Organisations, by Frederick Laloux, is a “Guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness”.
I picked up the Illustrated edition following a recommendation in a talk at Agile London. It’s a very quick and easy read, and fells like an excellent introduction to the ideas presented in the original book.
It begins by outlining various types of organisations, and the reasons that these different styles arose. Red are the first type encountered, impulsive and tribal, think the Mafia or street gangs. The innovations these organisations initiated were the division of labour, and a view of top down authority.
We then move to amber, conformist organisations such as the church or military, with replicable processes and stable organisational charts. Orange orgs are the familiar corporations of today, achievement focused, caring about innovation, accountability and the meritocracy. Then on to Green, a pluralistic view, with empowerment, values driven cultures and a focus on stakeholder value.
Laloux’s argument is that, whilst many organisations exist in broadly these four camps, with real organisations taking aspects of all four, there is a new, fifth style to consider.
Teal is the evolutionary approach. An organisation where an individual can grow and be their whole self, can find a true and valuable contribution based on a feeling of inner rightness, and can fundamentally make a difference.
By following the approaches and case studies outlined in the book, it is possible to create organisation with a true sense of purpose, really bringing transformation to the world.
It’s an interesting perspective, and it brings a great new set of terms and techniques to the discussion. As no current organisation is fully Red or Green, no one setup will ever be fully Teal. It’s an approach to follow, and there will be valuable opportunities for anyone brave enough to change their views to incorporate the fifth style.
The introduction book is extremely easy to read, and can be completed in one or two quick sittings. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in organisational change or growth, you’ll certainly have something new to think about once you’ve read the book.