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Reinventing Organizations - Frederic Laloux

Find out how and why organizations have changed their habits, creating more engaged employees and seeking continuous improvement.

The book “Reinventing Organizations”, by author Frederic Laloux, is a guide to understand and inspire organizations to change their habits according to the next stage of human consciousness.

Old and new corporations have been focusing on the decentralization of power, encouraging all employees to participate more actively in decision making.

This trend has impacted on a paradigm shift, resulting in a less hierarchical and more humane system. And there’s more: this new organizational model has shown high process improvement, as well as developing a deeper and more genuine relationship among co-workers.

Do you want to know how? This summary will guide and inspire organizations to change their habits according to the next stage of human consciousness.

About the book “Reinventing Organizations”

The book was written by author Frederic Laloux and published in 2014.

The author discusses the emergence of a new organizational model that tends to be adopted in corporations based on the change of behavioral paradigms due to the evolution of human consciousness.

To explain this phenomenon, the author divides the book into three parts: the history of organizations and how they are presented nowadays, the advances and characteristics of this evolutionary model and the necessary conditions for this new type of organization.

Who is Frederic Laloux?

Frederic Laloux lives in Brussels, Belgium, acting as coach, counselor and facilitator for corporate leaders seeking to adopt new organizational systems.

Former member of McKinsey & Company and an INSEAD MBA, he also holds a Newfield Network coach diploma.

He is recognized by leading human development scholars, who describe his work as innovative, brilliant, and transformative.

Who should read “Reinventing Organizations”?

This book is suitable for directors wishing to modernize the management of their company or employees who are frustrated by feeling impotent within their job.

It’s also a good book for people who are seeking to focus on their evolutionary purpose and application of continuous improvement.

Main ideas of the book “Reinventing Organizations”

This summary will explain the emergence of a new organizational model, under the vision of Frederic Laloux, and his 3 major breakthroughs within corporations:

  • Self-management;
  • Integrality;
  • Evolutionary purpose.  

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[Book Summary] Reinventing Organizations - Frederic Laloux

How have organizations developed throughout the course of evolution?

First, the author Frederic Laloux expresses the idea that the human being is constantly evolving, even having a great tendency to yield to the ego and to the idea that we will never change.

As a consequence, we accommodate ourselves exactly where we are. But if we stop to analyze the historical context well, we can see how our consciousness has transited between different stages.

According to the book “Reinventing Organizations”, our history can be divided into paradigms, with names composed of an adjective and a color.

The choice of the adjective is given to the human characteristic that stands out most during the stage, while the colors are to better guide the reading. These are:

  • Reactive-Infrared;
  • Magical-Magenta;
  • Impulsive-Red;
  • Conformist-Amber;
  • Achiever-Orange;
  • Pluralist-Green.

It is essential to understand the historical perspective to understand what is currently being discussed in the field of management. For example, the Achiever-Orange stage has strong influence in the corporate world, where its main attributions are:

  • Innovation;
  • Accountability;
  • Meritocracy.

Meanwhile, the practices of Pluralist-Green organizations have a more social character, such as:

However, the author introduces that we are moving to a new organizational model, in which the ego becomes only a factor and it is not taken as an absolute thought. This stage is called Evolutionary-Teal.

But how does this new model contribute to the way we relate to each other? And within companies?

What are the Structures, Practices and Cultures of Teal Organizations?

In this section, Frederic Laloux condenses the concept of Evolutionary-Teal, evidencing its three advances:

  1. Self-management;
  2. Integrality;
  3. Evolutionary Purpose.

Self-management

We have made the workplace a frustrating and unremarkable place where people do what they are asked to do and have few ways to make decisions or make full use of their talents. (Dennis Bakke)

The author says that the hierarchical system develops a major problem that organizations have faced: the people at the base of the system find themselves less and less stimulated.

But why? These employees do not actively participate in the decisions of the company, seeming to do a meaningless work. In this way, a feeling of impotence, distrust and fear about them is evoked.

Throughout this section, Frederic Laloux explains that the new model encourages effective production through self-management. In self-managed teams, decisions are made collectively.

How does this impact positively? The book “Reinventing Organizations” presents data that affirm the best results for the company. Employees feel less controlled, as well as this awakens a sense of trust and responsibility in them.

Integrability

And when do we feel like we are not ourselves when we get to work? People feel as if they can only demonstrate their strictly professional "I" inside a company. This is a prison we do in ourselves.

Frederic Laloux reveals that trust is the "secret seasoning" of successful management. But how to unfold it when we are hiding inside a profile that we deem necessary to be acceptable?

In explaining the concept of integrability, Frederic reports several methods and reflections to encourage us to be ourselves and unleash a deep relationship among our co-workers.

As a consequence, we have a more pleasant work environment, stimulating more positive results and less hostile relationships.

Evolutionary Purpose

Above all, we must be open arms for new ideas. Walking along with life means partnering with success.

Even more, Laloux points out in the book “Reinventing Organizations” that success must come from us to ourselves. While there are many companies obsessed with competition, the author says that new organizations live for their own purpose.

The book reports that we should look for improvements through sensitivity and cooperation. This makes profit maximization no longer a priority for a corporation, but rather just a consequence of a well done job.

How do the emergence of Teal Organizations occur? 

But how does it work in the practice? What does it take to exercise the concepts of the Evolutionary-Teal within your work?

Frederic Laloux reveals that there are only two conditions to make this possible:

  1. High-leadership: the CEO needs to keep the space within the advancements of self-management, integrability and evolutionary principle, so that these practices can develop within the company;
  2. Owners: the owners of the organization must also adopt an evolutionary perception, even in difficult moments, avoiding to abuse the hierarchical system of power.

These conditions, together with the evolutionary values, make the company capable of operating with a more integral and authentic conduct.

To bet on the continuous improvement of a company is to align the objectives with the evolutionary purpose, generating results:

  • More powerful;
  • More wisely used;
  • More balanced.

Other books about change in organizations?

The authors of the book “Discover Your Strengths”, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, say that the key is to focus on employees' strengths rather than trying to improve their weaknesses in order to increase their productivity.

Tony Robbins, author of “Awaken the Giant Within”, suggests that changing a certain habit may be due to the association of this unwanted behavior with some kind of pain.

In “Atomic Habits”,  James Clear explains how great results can be generated through small changes: improving 1% each day brings about a giant change at the end of the journey.

Okay, but how to develop a better management of my organization?

The author's tips on managing people are essential for better performance of your business.

You who feel impotent and unfaithful to your identity at work, what about adopting integrability practices and showing your colleagues your true potential?

The change starts now!

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Book Reinventing Organizations - Frederick Laloux

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