Some people think that Teal is just about flat organizations. Some others think that Teal is some kind of system or methodology to be adopted, practiced and mastered.
Flat organization or self-management structure is a critical condition, but not the purpose for going Teal. It is like giving a marathon runner the permission to take off his misfit shoes, two sizes too small. So he has the freedom to move and can focus his energy on running.
The essence of Teal is an upgraded mindset or worldview, through which to rediscover humanity and the incredible human potential already within each of us. This requires a safe and supportive (Teal) environment, in which we can practice being human again.
Every human being has all four of these human dimensions. A whole person has all of them integrated:
Physical → Intellectual → Emotional → Spiritual
(Body) (Mind) (Heart) (Soul)
Unfortunately, many organizations and societies only recognize and appreciate our physical presence and intellectual capabilities, and avoid emotions and spirits like infectious diseases. Because emotion and spirit are the invisible, and often misunderstood human dimensions. This is why that Wholeness (in Laloux’s book) is the most abstract and often confused aspect of Teal. Merely mentioning emotion and spirit brings discomfort to many people. Yet, openly discussing them is exactly what we need socially and organizationally to begin the journey towards Teal.
One CEO, who had been implementing self-management for several years, told me: “I don’t want all of my employees to come to work and dump their emotional garbage in the office”. This is a common yet unfortunate misperception about emotions. The high price this CEO and his employees have to pay is enormous, yet invisible.
The accepted coping mechanism is often denying, suppressing or condemning our emotions, which is simply self-abuse. The result is unmet emotional needs, and subsequently, disengaged, stressed and burned-out employees. Furthermore, emotional distress is like a traffic jam, blocks access to our spiritual intelligence – the source of creativity, intuition, state of flow and high productivity. Not to mention the direct link between emotional suffering and chronicle diseases.
Relative to emotional needs, the wasted potential from unmet spiritual needs is of another magnitude. Almost all spiritual beings (that is all of us) ultimately crave opportunities to learn, to grow, to use their talents, to express their authentic selves and to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Lack of opportunity to fulfil these needs creates frustrations. This understanding (a Teal principle) is deeply rooted in spiritual awareness. This is why a Teal journey is, in fact, a personal development journey and a spiritual journey.
A Teal organization has an edge over other organizations because it is designed to meet people’s emotional and spiritual needs instead of the opposite. Once these needs are met, newly recovered energy can be redirected to purpose-driven goals and to taking the organization to the next level.
The logic is rather simple.