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The colour of good business

A recently published book describes an unusual and highly original approach to organisation, in that it uniquely tries to combine production efficiency with human environment.

The structure given to an organisation to turn it into a business reflects many things. The business is the image, in another form, of the person who created it and the people who manage it. It is also as much the product of external influences as of internal evolution. It changes, evolves, mutates, grows, and every now and then, it also implodes. It is essential to understand its underlying structure and, above all, how it could potentially evolve. There are numerous ways of gaining such insights. Especially if some of them are readily available for use, like Federico Laloux’s book “Reinventing organisations” with its intriguing subtitle: “How to create organisations modelled on the next stage of human knowledge.”

The book’s basic tenet is one which many business leaders and managers probably share and practice already. The way in which organisations are currently being managed is increasingly anachronistic. Deep down, we know we can do more and better. We all want workplaces which have a soul, we want more genuine relationships, a deeper sense of community and a significant goal to pursue. The problem is how to get them while reconciling healthy balance sheets with happy workplaces.
Laloux presents his take on the issue, and it takes the form of a journey through successive stages (which in turn feature a series of steps associated with different colours) to arrive at a condition he calls Teal, again based on colours indicating specific predispositions and behaviours. Readers are introduced to a dimension of business organisation and the management of people within it that is very different from any other method they may have encountered. Laloux writes that the Teal approach to organisational structure is achieved when we “learn to detach from our egos. It is only when we look at our ego from a distance that we suddenly realize how our fears, ambitions, desires often govern our lives. We can learn to minimize our need for control, to seem like good people, and to be in good shape. If we are less tied to our egos, we no longer let fear control our lives. In the process, we open up space to hear the wisdom of other, deeper parts of ourselves. What takes the place of fear? The ability to trust in the richness of life.”
Laloux therefore taps into a full spectrum of human sciences, drawing on an immense and extremely useful toolbox, to discuss organisational structure and to fully understand behaviour within the organisation of production. The book begins by describing the evolution of organisations then goes on to look in detail at the structures, practices and culture of the Teal organisation, defining the necessary circumstances and ways of bringing it into being in every business. To close, the author presents the case of an Italian ICT company, Mondora di Morbengo, in the Valtellina area.
Frederic Laloux’s treatise is not an easy read nor one to be taken lightly; but those who do tackle it will undoubtedly experience a very new and original way of looking at and understanding organisational structure. Definitely worth reading. And reading again.

Reinventare le organizzazioni. Come creare organizzazioni ispirate al prossimo stadio della consapevolezza umana [Reinventing organisations. How to create organisations modelled on the next stage inb human knowledge.]
by Frederic Laloux
Guerini Next, 2016