Reinventing Organisations; Frederic Laloux

by Bee Heller
July 17, 2017

What’s it about?

The evolution of organisations from Red (power controlled by a few ‘chiefs’), through Amber (clear roles, responsibilities and hierarchies), Orange (review evidence and data to predict and plan for future performance), and Green (values based, all stakeholders are equal) to Teal (evolutionary purpose, self organised and built on people contributing their whole selves to the organisation).

Who is Frederic Laloux?

There’s little to be found about Frederic Laloux online. He gives interviews rarely and has minimal social media presence. Reflecting the values he espouses in his book, in writing the book he’s been a catalyst for organisational change far beyond that which he would outwardly claim any credit for. His LinkedIn profile informs us he was an Associate Principal at Mckinsey for 10 years, specialising in large scale transformations.

Best bits

Laloux’ research spanned three years in which he interviewed, spent time with and tried to understand the operating practices, behaviours and values of ‘Teal’ organisations. The book does a nice job of walking the reader through an evolutionary history of organisations and the differences between Red, Amber, Orange, Green and Teal companies.

However the real class of the book comes through in the richness with which Laloux describes the Teal organisations that he studied. The variety of organisations he covers includes: Dutch community nursing provider, Buurtzorg; French manufacturer and automotive supplier, FAVI; international clothing retailer, Patagonia; and consultancy and training provider, HolacracyOne, amongst many others. Laloux goes into the finer details of their organisational structures, recruitment, on boarding, performance management and other people practices, as well as their daily rituals and ways of working.

Not so best bits

It’s all worth reading

You should read it if…

You work in an organisation and want ideas for changing even small daily working practices to empower frontline team members and create work that’s more fulfilling.

You should definitely read it if you’re a Founder, CEO or board member of an organisation and you’re in a position to influence the beliefs on which that organisation operates.

Pioneering elephants out of 5

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