(abstract from http://www.reinventingorganizationswiki.com/Teal_Organizations)
Organizations as living systems
The Teal paradigm refers to the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness. The Teal paradigm emphasizes the identity and purpose of the organization as a separate entity, and not merely as a vehicle for achieving management’s objectives. Teal organizations refer to themselves as living organisms or living systems.
Teal organizations focus on its members’ abilities to self-organize and self-manage to achieve the purpose of the organization. The hierarchical “plan and control” structure is replaced with a self-organizing structure consisting of small worker teams that assume all the traditional management functions as well. Positions and job descriptions are replaced with roles, where one worker can fill multiple roles. Unlike the fixed structures of traditional organizations, the organizational structure in Teal is fluid, changing and adapting as circumstances demand to achieve the organization’s purpose.
Life as a journey of unfolding
In traditional organizations, the pursuit of love, recognition, and success shapes our lives slowly but surely to the point that we end up, in the words of poet May Sarton, “wearing other people’s faces.” In Teal, our journey toward inner rightness prompts some soul searching of who we are and what our purpose in life might be. The ultimate goal in life is not to be successful or loved, but to become the truest expression of ourselves, to live into authentic selfhood, to honor our birthright gifts and callings, and be of service to humanity and our world. In Teal, life is seen as a journey of personal and collective unfolding toward our true nature.
Fundamental assumptions from a Teal perspective are:
- Human beings and organizations as living systems are full of potential waiting to unfold. Building on strengths is more important than to focus on weaknesses.
- One can trust the abundance of life. People and organizations who share the same life serving goals are allies rather than competitors.
- All of life is intrinsically interconnected. As humans and individuals, we share a place in the grand scheme of life. Having equal human value is in that context self evident, and does not require struggle or sameness in form or expression.
- The goal in life is becoming the truest expression of oneself, to honor one’s birthright and callings, and to be of service to humanity and the world. Your contribution is developing your own unique strengths and expressions, and then leading life’s joy through that into this world, thereby playing your tune in the symphony of life.
- One is not one’s Ego. “Don’t let the need to look good, to be successful, to fit in,… run your life.”
- If one keeps the channel open, one can listen into the life that wants to be lived through oneself – or the purpose that wants to be served by the organization. Life does not need to be coerced. All we have to do is tune into what life wants to express or create and life will provide for itself what is needed. Sense and respond, rather than plan and control.
- Even if something unexpected or mistakes happen, things will turn out allright. If they don’t, life is offering an opportunity to learn and grow. Let go of fear.
- A good decision is a decision that is in line with one’s inner compass – it is not only based on facts and figures, but includes emotions and intuition.
- Leadership style: co-creative/synergistic, “deeply empathetic, systemic, holding space for the purpose”.