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Reinventing Organizations Paperback – February 20, 2014
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"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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The author makes a compelling case that modern industrial society needs a new type of organizational structure, which he believes is the next evolutionary leap in how humans can organize to better accomplish the complex tasks of this era, and which can decrease the discontent and malaise of current world society.
He gives a theoretical explanation, but much more importantly, gives numerous examples of currently existing revolutionarily organized and run companies, which have independently developed similar ideas that the author studied and then organized into his idea of the new model, which he calls a "teal" organization (using color analogies to broadly classify types of organizations).
The specifics are compelling. Rarely do you find a book like this which is so revolutionary in its view and conceptually well thought out, but so practical in how it can be done, with details of strengths and pitfalls using the real experiences of real companies.
The heart and sole of the new organization is a radically different work place structure, with no conventional bosses, little formal hierarchy, authority resting in people who see a problem and take person responsibility for helping to guide a solution using consultation and collaboration, leading to commitment from everyone, and to rediscovering meaning at work. The opportunities for increased individual and group performance and productivity are huge. The many challenges such a structure would create have been carefully thought out and addressed.
This book deserves whatever awards can be given so that will be read and discussed by as wide an audience as possible. Please consider reading it!
Bravo to the author! An exceptional piece of work!
A word of caution: skip the intro, which is not written by the author, doesn't add anything to the book, is long and tedious, and is academic self-congratulations of the worst type. Also, don't get discouraged by the exposition at the beginning of the book by the author of his theory, which is interesting, and gives a framework for the rest of the book, but is perhaps overly academic. The heart of his book is in the real life examples which explain how and why teal structures really work, and why this type of organization offers a revolutionary leap in human society.
Building on this evolutionary paradigm structure, Laloux discusses his research findings on 12 teal organizations in both for-profit and nonprofit arenas. At first, the practices and structures of these organizations seemed radical to me as someone who is new concepts such as Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, and self-management. With that said, the stories of how these organizations are structured and how they function are fascinating and have profound implications for how other organizations could operate if the conditions are ripe. When reading the book, I often felt simultaneously inspired by the possibility of surpassing “business as usual” using evolutionary teal practices and frustrated that the transformation to this new paradigm is currently unlikely in most settings given a strict adherence to hierarchy and power structures.
The main disappointment from Reinventing Organizations is that Laloux declares--only towards the end of the book--that building an evolutionary “teal” organization is only possible if the CEO and owners/board of directors fully support the structures and practices of teal organizations. Furthermore, he explains that he has not found an organization that is segmented with part of the organization functioning with teal practices and the remaining segments functioning in more traditional, hierarchical ways. While this conclusion is not surprising, it left me wanting a different outcome from the research. The “consolation prize” Laloux offers is to encourage organizations with CEOs and owners who do not support teal practices to strive to create more healthy practices within their current paradigm. There are many examples throughout the book of practices that could be adapted within the limitations of green, amber, or orange organizations.
The book is easy to read overall, although lengthy at times and dense in the opening chapters, and is directed toward practitioners, not researchers or academics. While Laloux presents a substantial list of research questions in the appendix, he does not describe his methodology or analysis techniques in the book. Anyone who is part of an organization and open to a different way of operating that enables people to bring a sense of wholeness to their work should consider reading and applying ideas from Reinventing Organizations.
The book describes the evolution of organizational models and differentiates them using a color coding system. The primary focus is on the most progressive of the models, called teal which emphasizes self-management, purpose and wholeness among other principles. The world would really benefit from adopting this mindset more and I highly recommend this book despite the challenges with getting through it.
Most recent customer reviews
Could be better - spiritual/philosophical aspects sometimes fails to comprehend broader view (victims of confirmation bias)
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