Make Purpose And Human Potential Central To Everything You Do

oldmanfun.jpg

Could we invent a more powerful, soulful way of working together? Would we perhaps need to reinvent the way organisations work? Create organisations free of bitterness and boredom; free of pretense at the top and drudgery at the bottom? Can we create workplaces where our talent can bloom and our passions can be fulfilled?’

Frederic Laloux asks these questions in his book Reinventing OrganisationsThe answers, he suggests, are to be found partly in our history, which tells us that ‘With Every Stage Of Human Consciousness Also Came A Breakthrough In Our Ability To Collaborate, Bringing About A New Organisational Model’. 

My interest in organisational models and structures has increased, having been inspired by my coach and my learning as I undertake a year’s study at the OCM in Oxford to achieve an Advanced Diploma in Coach-Mentoring. Over the years, I have spent time coaching and mentoring people with a diverse range of backgrounds from those struggling with addiction to more recently senior directors. You would think that the relationship or problems would be distinctly different but actually they are often very similar. The potential and energy in these individuals is endless but often the system, or organisation, is failing to harness this.

Over the last two centuries we have seen organisations make spectacular progress especially in the advances of technology, but has the way in which we run organisations become out of date?

Take the prison system, we know that it’s not working and that restorative justice creates better results for both the victim and perpetrators. It empowers them to understand each other and get in touch with the event, often creating lasting change. However, we continue to use the old more expensive system. A failing system. Why have we not changed something, that hasn’t been working for so long?

As Gary Hamel says, “instinctively we know that management is out of date. We know it’s rituals and routines look slightly ridiculous in the 21st century. That’s why the Dilbert cartoon or an episode of The Office are at once familiar and cringe worthy”.

 

I’m interested in creating innovative and inclusive ways of working in which you make purpose and human potential central to everything you do. In his book Frederic Laloux uses colours to identify a organisational structures and comes up with a TEAL management concept. It’s defined by three clear categories:

  • Self-management. Teal organisations operate effectively, even at a large scale, with a system based on peer relationships. They set up structures and practices in which people have high autonomy in their domain, and are accountable for coordinating with others. Power and control are deeply embedded throughout the organisations, no longer tied to the specific positions of a few top leaders.
  • Wholeness. Whereas Orange and Green organisations encourage people to show only their narrow “professional” selves, Teal organisations invite people to reclaim their inner wholeness. They create an environment wherein people feel free to fully express themselves, bringing unprecedented levels of energy, passion, and creativity to work.
  • Evolutionary purpose. Teal organisations base their strategies on what they sense the world is asking from them. Agile practices that sense and respond to replace the machinery of plans, budgets, targets, and incentives. Paradoxically, by focusing less on the bottom line and shareholder value, they generate financial results that outpace those of competitors.

 

“Extraordinary Things Begin To Happen When We Dare To Bring All Of Who We Are To Work” – Federic Laroux

I’m excited by the prospect that new forms of thinking will bring transformational changes. Take LEAP for example. The real savings don’t come from reducing the costs of our service or less grants. It comes from adults feeling valued, no longer dropping out, feeling connected, valuable, powerful, so they don’t fall on the wayside, don’t turn to crime to make a living or feel powerful. It comes from the team feeling empowered to generate and create new ideas and enterprises through self management. If every position at work was seen as your own enterprise as opposed to something that you do for someone else for money, this would create an all encompassing change with people feeling fulfilled and energised. Not only are you creating impact to your end user, but providing social impact for the people who work for you.

It’s time to start harnessing people’s full potential in our organisations. Let’s move away from traditional hierarchical structures. Empower people to make decisions and put your focus on making people feel good. The rest will follow.

Examples Of TEAL Based Organisations:


Buurtzorg: a Netherlands-based healthcare nonprofit.

Patagonia: a US $540 million manufacturer of climbing gear and outdoor apparel; based in California and employing 1,300 people, it is dedicated to being a positive influence on the natural environment.

Tags: organizational leadershiporganizational developmentorganizational design, purpose driven