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Reinventing Organizations Paperback – February 20, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Congratulations on a spectacular treatise! This is truly pioneering work. In terms of integral sophistication, there is simply nothing like it out there."
--Ken Wilber, from the Foreword

"The most exciting book I've read in years on organization design and leadership models."
--Jenny Wade, Ph.D., Author of Changes of Mind

"A book like Reinventing Organizations only comes along once in a decade. Sweeping and brilliant in scope, it is the Good To Great for a more enlightened age.
What it reveals about the organizational model of the future is exhilarating and deeply hopeful."

--Norman Wolfe, Author of The Living Organization

"A comprehensive, highly practical account of the emergent worldview in business. Everything you need to know about building a new paradigm organization!"
--Richard Barrett, Chairman and Founder, Barrett Values Center

"Frederic Laloux has done business people and professionals everywhere a signal service. He has discovered a better future for organizations by describing, in useful detail, the unusual best practices of today."
--Bill Torbert, Author of Action Inquiry

"As the rate of change escalates exponentially, the old ways of organizing and educating, which were designed for efficiency and repetition, are dying. Frederic Laloux is one of the few management leaders exploring what comes next. It's deeply different."
--Bill Drayton, Founder, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public --Advance praise

About the Author

Frederic Laloux works as an adviser, coach, and facilitator for corporate leaders who feel called to explore fundamentally new ways of organizing. A former Associate Partner with McKinsey & Company, he holds an MBA from INSEAD and a degree in coaching from Newfield Network in Boulder, Colorado.

His groundbreaking research in the field of emerging organizational models has been described as groundbreaking, brilliant, spectacular, impressive, and world-changing by some of the most respected scholars in the field of human development. Frederic Laloux lives in Brussels, Belgium, with his wife, Hélène, and their two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Nelson Parker; 1st edition (February 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2960133501
  • ISBN-13: 978-2960133509
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Cox on February 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I start reading many books and finish a few. This is one I have read from cover to cover and plan to read again. It builds on the work of Clare Graves and Ken Wilber. The author did research on twelve pioneer organizations that can give us a glimpse of where we may be headed with future organization models based on an emerging worldview. In part I Laloux uses a color scheme to depict historical stages of development. In part II, he focuses on the structures, practices, and cultures of “teal organizations.” He discusses in detail three breakthroughs from his research – self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose. In part III, he goes into how these unique organizations emerged – for both start-ups and existing organizations.

I am currently teaching a course on Organization Development at a university to a group of doctoral students in their final term of coursework. Reinventing Organizations is hot off the press. The syllabus for the course has been distributed, but I’m inviting the students to add this book to our reading list. It will be a great follow-up to another book I’m using – Stewardship by Peter Block. When students read this book they always ask, “Do you know anywhere where Block’s ideas are practiced?” I can now refer them to Reinventing Organizations. I highly recommend it for your leadership library.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A debate rages today as to whether the great organizations of our time can move forward and become networks and so more human. Vast consulting resources and new technology platforms are being devoted to this goal. Laloux, ex McKinsey, challenges those who wish to apply a mechanistic process to this kind of change. He also challenges those who think a bottom up approach will work.

He systematically builds the case that, just as individuals progress through a series of values shifts through life: an infant is attached to their mother - a two year old is breaking free - teens are different from children - people in the 30's different from teens - 40 year olds are different - 75 years olds are different, that the larger human culture moves along a development track as well. The 7 ages of man works also for mankind.

He identifies the attributes of these shifts in detail - from a kind of gang leader in a foundation culture like Russia and so President Putin - where personal loyalty is everything - and the typical corporate culture where ROI and metrics are everything and several other stages both in between and after. He makes no value judgement - a kid is a kid and has to be that. But he is clear. There is a trajectory of stages that gets more complex. He gives each stage a colour to help us identify them.

The crux of his book is a focus on what we are experiencing today. All the cultural steps until now have been part of a progression but the one that confronts us now - and why it is so hard to cope with - is a bifurcation. This is a shift in world view from an external bias - to an internal bias where we are not only motivated by internal things but also see ourselves as being part of everything. This new worldview has NO SEPARATION. He gives this the colour of Teal.
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Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, this is a deeply problematic and flawed book.

The book is littered with instances where it contradicts itself, it’s contradictory stance on leadership being just one case. Take the metaphors used to describe each “stage of consciousness” – Red, with the example of the Mafia as Red organization, is “the wolf pack” and Green, with the example of Ben & Jerry’s is “the family.” It behooves me to point out that the Mafia is an organizational structure with family at its core and that wolf-packs are examples of a “self-organizing” “living system,” that are valorized in the book.

While these problems are tedious in extreme, they are distractions from three more profound problems with the book, these are the problems of science, context and ethnocentricity.

The problem of science

The behaviours of Teal Organizations and “Teal-Evolutionary consciousness” are normalized as being rooted in science – through the presentation of 100,000 years of “organizational” history and the use of an evolutionary framing.

There is unfortunately no scientific basis for the arguments made in this book. No, not even a little.

If we were to turn to a field of study concerned with human evolution and the biological basis of human group behaviour then it would be biology and the field of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists, notoriously aggressive in asserting the biological basis of social behaviour, would run a mile from the claims made here. This is because at the heart of this book is a vacuum, a cheap and depressing theoretical sleight-of-hand trick.
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This book is a godsend for those courageous, forward-thinking CEO's, Members of Boards, Consultants, Organizational `Changemakers', and Business School Faculty who resonate with the following three paradigm-shifting assumptions:

1. People love to develop and give their unique gifts, to collaborate, to make a lasting difference and to contribute to something larger than themselves -- and will demonstrate this in organizational cultures that challenge and support rather than control and extract

2. Our top-down, control-over-people, compartmentalized organizational designs are not a good fit for our times. Their rigidity leaves such organizations highly vulnerable in our volatile world. Millennials see these traditional organizations as today's dinosaurs

3. Our `next big thing is not a thing' -- rather, it's those organizations that ACTUALLY develop and unleash the virtually unlimited potential of people to evolve their organizations and themselves


We've been collectively swimming in a sea of organizations (private, public and civic) with narrow and myopic definitions of success. These top-down, control-over-people, compartmentalized organizations are the water we swim in.

We are only beginning to get a sense of enormous costs and risks implicit in clinging to these fundamentally flawed organizational structures, processes and practices. We're only beginning to take measure of the gross insanity of perpetuating `business as usual.'

Frederic Laloux focuses on 12 pioneering organizations that have escaped the gravitational pull of traditional organizational design.
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