Since the publication of Frédéric Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organizations”, a global awakening is happening. Many companies are eager to go Teal, yet few seem to agree with what Teal is. All sorts of myths are flying around. Here are my perspectives on a selected few.
Myth #1: Teal is better
Significant number of people take Teal literally and consider it some kind of ideal or status to be achieved. While Teal has many more desirable characteristics than current organizational or social structures, NOT everyone is ready to go Teal. Teal reflects a level of wisdom in how we see our relationships with others and the world around us. It is the result of certain maturity that cannot be rushed into, but only grow into. Similar to that a worldly 60-year-old’s behavioral pattern shouldn’t be set as the standard for a 20-year-old or a 40-year-old. “Better” isn’t a universal standard. We can only be the best version of ourselves, nothing more and nothing less.
Myth #2: Teal is abstract
Teal is as real as oxygen or human rights, even though they are invisible. We struggle with it because we attempt to describe a 4+ dimensional experience with a two-dimensional language. To talk about it, we need to learn to speak a new language. Imagine savoring a beautiful ancient Persian poetry, while insist in discussing it in German, Japanese or Urdu languages. To get the authentic experience, we must first learn to speak Persian and understand its history.
That authentic Teal language is spirituality, a language most businesses avoid to speak, not to mention there are so many dialects exist (aka religions or other interpretations). To talk about Teal, we have to embrace Wholeness, which isn’t one word, but four words in one – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The businesses we create are the way they are today because we only focused on physical and mental aspects of human beings. The missing pieces are dangling in front of us and waiting for us to recognize them.
Myth #3: Teal is a new method
To suggest that Teal is a method to be implemented is simply offering solutions to a problem, with the same mindset that created the problem in the first place. Therefore, it is futile to search for the perfect system, process or methods which has nothing to do with human spirits.
What makes Teal fundamentally different from previous stages is a mindset that recognizes human beings as they truly are – with innate intelligence built-in. Teal leaders know how to harness that incredible and invisible intelligence to create values for all involved. That value is often completely overlooked, in fact, systematically destroyed by many hierarchical organizations and their accounting systems.
Myth #4: Teal is about best practices
Focus on doing is our current operating system. With that mindset, some of us are eager to identify the best practices of Teal/Purpose-Driven/Conscious organizations and their leaders. Then, we copy them – no boss, no title, self-selected salary scales, sharing of all information, decentralized decision making, etc. Unfortunately, best practices are best only for specific people and within specific context. In addition, what we fail to recognize is that those practices are merely symptoms or results of their mindset, not the cause.
What we humans do is the result of what we think. If we do what others do without adequate foundation to support it, the structure will soon collapse. A weight lifter is able to lift a 90kg weight because he has the muscles in every part of his body to support that weight. Transplant best practices without adequate self-management capability and the supportive environment can put excessive emotional stress on individuals.
Myth #5: Teal is about profit
While higher profit with less effort is the inevitable outcome, if this is the reason that we pursue Teal, we will be guaranteed to fail. Because a profit focused mind cannot make the millions of long-term decisions required, before reaching the final destination.
Teal is a mindset that focuses on the long-term, considering all stakeholders involved to achieve win-win-win. When we focus on short-term shareholder values, we operate in a win-lose paradigm. As some like to say: we cannot see the bottle if we sit inside of it.
Myth #6: Teal solution is external
When Frédéric Laloux introduced to the world this Teal colored exotic fruit called orange, many people noticed its exquisite taste. This is followed by great enthusiasm in search for the holy grill to turn ordinary oranges to Teal colored oranges. However, the holy grill isn’t outside. Like the man who left his key inside of his house, but went to the street light to search for it, because that’s where the light is, even though it isn’t where the key is.
Growing the Teal orange is actually simpler, but not easy, than we think. Metaphorically speaking, if we let the orange tree grow significantly bigger and taller, the new fruits coming out of taller branches will be Teal. The only way to make it happen is to look within. Anyone who thinks this is nonsense, perhaps it is. Our perception is our reality. If this undermines or challenges anyone’s belief systems, feel free to dismiss it. Not everyone is ready for it.
For those curious and want to know how. The process is to nurture the roots. While most people look up and focus on the fruits or the results, the true solution is counterintuitive. The deeper and stronger the roots, the more likely the tree can grow taller and bigger. The root is all about uncovering the spiritual nature of who we really are.
Going to Teal is less about reaching Teal stage specifically, and more about becoming conscious of our intention, focus and impact. It is about becoming the best version of ourselves as individuals, leaders and organizations.