Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
“The most exciting breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will not occur because of technology, but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human”. – John Naisbitt
I am not a digital native. For most of my life, ideas, concepts, epiphanies and inputs entered my consciousness (or sub-conscious) at an analog rate. Today, bite-sized ‘dopamine snacks’ of information mainline into our brains in a virtually continual stream, curated to our unique way of thinking and being.
It may be nostalgic, but I’m grateful for my age in this particular instance! It’s meant that ideas and revelations, seemingly unconnected and unrelated, have been allowed years and sometimes decades to cogitate, marinate, ferment. Then something happens – the spark, the connection, like ‘hmmm I wonder what would happen if we connected the yellow and pink wires’ and BOOM!
That’s how Fredric Laloux’s work hit me. Finally, I was able to make sense of my sense that self-actualization and how we interact with the organizations in which we do our professional work are not separate, and that in fact, like us, the organizations themselves are evolutionary constructs. Reinventing Organizations identifies the evolutionary conditions for transformation to Teal, where fear is replaced by the capacity for trust, thereby relinquishing our need to control others. Integral theory, metaphors for evolution, wholeness and vulnerability, self-organizing management, work and teams, personal accountability, purpose centered work – all come together in this breakthrough exposition.
Using real world examples of organizations that are pioneering the paradigm of self-management, Laloux shows us what is possible when we are fearless. The Morningstar tomato processing plant where employees set their own salaries. The FAVI auto-parts factory in France, where radical transparency and trust breeds radical responsibility. Perhaps the most profound story is that of Buurtzorg – non-profit in the Netherlands, which self-organized into the largest neighborhood nursing service in the country. And of course, we’re all following the great Zappos experiment.
Beyond self-management, Laloux moots other two conditions as fundamental: Wholeness and Evolutionally purpose – that the organization is a living organism with it’s own life force.
Wholeness is particularly resonant for me; I believe the concept of work/life balance so unnecessary. What if we brought all of who we are to everything we do? Could we dare make ourselves so vulnerable? Are we strong enough to hold a space of trust impervious to judgment? That is the action I am taking, and invite us all to take – we can each play a part in tilling the soil – holding that space for us all to plant ourselves without fear – and readying it for the growth of the next fifty years.