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Business Resilience

How TEAL Principles unlock the potential of HumanTech Partners?

Employee Retention & Attraction

Gallup, an American analytics, and advisory research company indicates in its last 2023 indicator that approximately 51% of employees in the United States are not engaged in their jobs. This suggests that a significant portion of the workforce is disengaged, which can lead to reduced productivity and lack of enthusiasm in their work. 

Employee retention and engagement have become increasingly complex on a global scale. The terminology “Quiet quitting” has even been created to refer to when employees disengage from their work and organisation without formally resigning, resulting in decreased productivity, lack of enthusiasm, and minimal effort.

Here are some simplified statistics related to employee retention:

  • Approximately 50% of employees in the United States have been open to leaving their organisations over the past decade.
  • Only 30% of employees are likely to recommend their employer, with no significant change since 2008.
  • The main reasons employees leave their jobs include lack of purpose and culture (40%), and issues related to well-being and work-life balance (26%).
  • Other reasons include dissatisfaction with pay and benefits (20%), limited advancement or career opportunities (13%), challenges with supervisors or senior leadership (13%), relocation (9%), and personal circumstances (9%).
  • The top attributes employees seek in their next job include improved work-life balance and personal well-being (63%), the opportunity to utilize their strengths (57%), and greater stability and job security (56%).

These statistics provide insights into the factors that contribute to employee turnover and highlight the preferences employees have when seeking new job opportunities. Hence, employers should prioritize strategies to enhance employee engagement and create a more fulfilling work environment.

1. The evolution of the organisational classification of companies over time

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Organisations can be classified into colours (red, amber, orange, green, and TEAL) as a framework proposed by Frederic LALOUX in « Reinventing Organisations. » Each colour represents a different stage of organisational development:

  • Red Organisations are characterized by a top-down hierarchy, power concentration, fear, and coercion. Strict hierarchies and lack of formal systems are common.
  • Amber Organisations emphasize structured rules and procedures, compliance, and maintaining the status quo within hierarchical structures.
  • Orange Organisations are results-oriented, competitive, and focused on individual performance, accountability, and data-driven decision-making. Innovation and success drive growth.
  • Green Organisations shift toward collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, and people-centric cultures. Participatory decision-making based on consensus and shared values.
  • TEAL Organisations are embracing self-management, evolutionary purpose, and employee empowerment. Authority is distributed, and focus is on purpose, adaptability, and holistic well-being.

These classifications help understand the evolution of organisational paradigms. It’s worth noting that some organisations can exhibit characteristics from multiple stages simultaneously. Nevertheless, the framework encourages new approaches to organisational design and management to improve employee satisfaction, and organisation performance. 

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“The most exciting breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will not occur because of technology, but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.” John NAISBITT (Photo: Reinventing organisations wiki)

2. Key principles of TEAL organisations

TEAL organisations are based on key principles summarised below:

  • Self-Management: TEAL organisations embrace self-management, where decision-making is distributed throughout the organisation rather than being centralized in a hierarchical structure. This principle empowers employees to take ownership of their mission and make autonomous decisions within their roles.
  • Wholeness: TEAL organisations value and honour the unique contributions and experiences of individuals. They create a work environment that encourages authenticity, vulnerability, and the expression of one’s whole self. This principle recognizes that employees are more than just their job titles and seeks to create a culture of trust, respect, and psychological safety.
  • Evolutionary Purpose: TEAL organisations operate with an evolutionary purpose that goes beyond profit-making. This higher purpose serves as a guiding star, aligning the organisation and its members toward a mission that contributes to the well-being of society, the environment, and stakeholders. The evolutionary purpose provides a sense of meaning and direction, inspiring employees and shaping the organisational strategic decisions.
  • Distributed Authority: Instead of authority being concentrated in a few individuals or roles, TEAL organisations distribute decision-making power. Decision-making is pushed down to the individuals or teams closest to the information or those most affected by the decisions. This principle promotes empowerment, agility, and faster response times.
  • Emergent Structures: TEAL organisations emphasize adaptive and flexible structures rather than rigid predefined hierarchies. Structures emerge organically based on the needs of the organisation and its members. This allows for self-adjustment, experimentation, and continuous learning, fostering adaptability in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Whole System Awareness: TEAL organisations recognize that they are part of a broader ecosystem and actively consider the impact of their actions on stakeholders, communities, and the environment. They strive for win-win outcomes, balancing the needs of various stakeholders and seeking sustainable solutions.

Those key principles have been drawn many times to illustrate the type of companies they are representing like below. 

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Picture credit: Lean and Agile Adoption with the Laloux Culture Model by Peter Green (here)

3. Benefits of TEAL organisations

TEAL organisations show many benefits like the following ones:

  • Increased Autonomy and Empowerment to give employees more control and decision-making power, boosting motivation and a sense of empowerment.
  • Enhanced Engagement and Fulfilment: to value employees as whole individuals, leading to higher engagement, job satisfaction, and overall fulfilment.
  • Accelerated Decision-Making and Agility: to make faster decisions by involving individuals closest to the information, allowing for greater adaptability.
  • Cultivation of Innovation and Creativity: to foster a culture that encourages innovation and creativity through autonomy, open communication, and experimentation.
  • Emphasis on Personal Growth and Development: to prioritize the personal growth and development of employees through continuous learning and skill-building opportunities.
  • Stronger Alignment with Values and Purpose: to align organisational values and purpose with employees’ values and aspirations, resulting in a greater sense of meaning, commitment, and dedication.

Overall, TEAL organisations offer benefits such as autonomy, engagement, agility, innovation, personal growth, and alignment with values, leading to a more fulfilling work experience and increased organisational effectiveness.

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TEAL is a new mindset about organisations and purpose as per The TEAL Team (here)

4. Inspiring Examples of Successful TEAL Organisations

Many companies have successfully implemented elements of the TEAL organisation model as described here:

  • Buurtzorg: The Dutch home care organisation operates with self-managing teams. They have small teams of 10-12 nurses who have autonomy in decision-making, client care, and team operations. Buurtzorg’s approach has led to improved client outcomes, high employee satisfaction, and cost-effective care.
  • Patagonia: The outdoor clothing and gear company has embraced TEAL principles for a purpose-driven and environmentally conscious organisation. They prioritize employee well-being, sustainability, and social activism. Patagonia operates with a flat structure, encourages employee engagement, and fosters transparency and shared values.
  • Morning Star: The food processing company operates without traditional hierarchies or managers. Employees have autonomy in managing their work processes, decision-making, and collaboration with peers. Morning Star uses self-management based on « Colleague Principles » to ensure alignment across teams.
  • FAVI: The French automotive parts manufacturer has transformed its organisation into a TEAL model. They implemented self-managing teams and decentralized decision-making, empowering employees to make decisions and encouraging continuous improvement and innovation. This led to increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and business performance.
  • Semco Partners: The Brazilian conglomerate known for its radical organisational transformation based on TEAL principles. They introduced self-management, flexible work arrangements, profit-sharing, and participatory decision-making. Semco Partners prioritizes trust, openness, and employee empowerment, resulting in an engaged workforce and sustainable growth.

However, it’s important to note that while these companies have implemented aspects of the TEAL model, their specific practices may vary. Their success comes from their commitment to self-management, empowerment, purpose-driven approaches, and nurturing a supportive culture.

5. Possible Challenges and Setbacks: Lessons from TEAL Organisations in Practice

While many companies have found success with the TEAL organisational model, it’s important to recognize that not all attempts have been successful. Here are a few examples of TEAL organisations that encountered challenges or setbacks:

  • Zappos: Zappos, an online retailer, tried to adopt a self-management structure based on TEAL principles. However, they faced difficulties in implementation and achieving desired outcomes. In 2015, Zappos shifted away from the holacracy model they had adopted. Though they still incorporate some elements of self-management, their initial attempt encountered challenges. (More here).
  • Medium: Medium, an online publishing platform, experimented with a self-management structure inspired by TEAL. They transitioned to a holacratic approach in 2016 but struggled with decision-making, role clarity, and overall effectiveness. Eventually, in 2017, Medium returned to a more traditional hierarchical structure (More here).
  • Valve Corporation: Valve, a video game development company, is often mentioned as a TEAL-inspired organisation. They embraced a flat structure with self-management principles. However, Valve faced criticisms and challenges over time, including unclear roles, lack of accountability, and difficulties in coordinating large-scale projects. Despite initial success, Valve’s approach has been debated and scrutinized (More here).

It’s important to note that the failures or challenges of these organisations shouldn’t be solely attributed to the TEAL principles themselves. Implementation difficulties, organisational culture, and other factors can contribute to the outcomes. The TEAL model requires careful planning, alignment, and continuous adaptation to fit the specific context and needs of each organisation.

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Human Breakthroughs at every stage from Workology (here)

6. How TEAL Principles unlock the potential of HumanTech Partners practice?

Our mission involves providing strategic guidance and expertise in managing and leveraging data within organisations. It encompasses various aspects such as data governance, data quality, data integration, data architecture, and data analytics. Our goal is to help organisations optimize their data assets, improve data-driven decision-making, ensure data compliance, and drive business value from their data.

Our organisation principles focus on creating a purpose-driven organisation that foster a sense of wholeness and evolutionary growth. While TEAL principles are often associated with organisational structure and culture, they also totally apply in a specific domain such as data management consulting. 

Here’s how some TEAL principles can relate to data management consulting at HumanTech:

  • Self-Management: Our team members are empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work. At HumanTech, consultants are encouraged to take initiative, act autonomously, and make informed decisions regarding data strategies, governance frameworks, and implementation plans.
  • Wholeness: We recognize the importance of the whole person and value the unique strengths and perspectives that individuals bring. At HumanTech, consultants are encouraged to bring their full selves to their work, leveraging their diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences to address complex data challenges and drive innovation.
  • Evolutionary Purpose: We emphasize a sense of purpose that goes beyond profit and focuses on making a positive impact on society. At HumanTech, consultants can align their work with the organisation’s purpose by helping clients harness the power of data to drive meaningful outcomes, such as improving customer experiences, optimising operations, or advancing research and innovation.
  • Distributed Authority: We distribute authority and decision-making throughout the organisation, enabling individuals to contribute their expertise and insights. At HumanTech, consultants can actively participate in decision-making processes, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and provide valuable insights to shape data management strategies and initiatives.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: We embrace a growth mindset and encourage ongoing learning and adaptation. In our dynamic field of data management, our consultants must stay updated with emerging technologies, industry trends, and evolving best practices. They need to be adaptable and open to new approaches, ensuring that their consulting services remain relevant and effective in an ever-changing data landscape.

The concepts of self-management, wholeness, purpose, distributed authority, and continuous learning inform and enhance the consulting approach within the data management domain. At HumanTech, these principles can foster a collaborative and innovative environment, enabling consultants to deliver value-driven solutions and help organisations maximize the potential of their data assets.

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7. Why should you join a TEAL Organisation like HumanTech Partners? 

Before considering joining our organisation, our team members looked for certain principles that align with their values and aspirations. While the specific criteria may vary depending on personal preferences, here are some common aspects that they were seeking when selecting HumanTech as a TEAL Organisation:

  • Alignment with their Purpose: HumanTech aims to leverage its expertise in high added-value Data projects with social, societal, and environmental impact. Our team members want to contribute to a mission that aligns with their own values and sense of meaning, such as social impact, sustainability, or personal growth.
  • Autonomy and Empowerment: Our team values the opportunity to have a greater sense of autonomy and decision-making power in their roles. They benefit from an environment that encourages personal accountability, self-management, and the ability to make meaningful contributions.
  • Culture of Trust and Collaboration: HumanTech foster a culture of trust, transparency, and collaboration. Individuals that seek an environment where open communication, psychological safety, and mutual respect are valued, allowing for meaningful connections and teamwork are often attracted by us. 
  • Learning and Growth Opportunities: HumanTech prioritizes personal and professional development. Our team members can enjoy continuous learning opportunities, skill-building programs, and support for individual growth.
  • Work-Life Balance and Well-being: HumanTech emphasizes the well-being and work-life balance of his employees. Our talents value an organisation that promote a healthy work environment, support work-life integration, and prioritize employee well-being.
  • Social Connection and Community: HumanTech encourages building strong social connections and a sense of community among employees. We are looking for talents who seek an organisation where they can form meaningful relationships, collaborate with like-minded colleagues, and contribute to a positive and supportive work community.

8. Navigating and Thriving at HumanTech, a TEAL Organisation: Key Actions for Success

Congratulations, you are going to join our organisation soon, here are some actions you can take to navigate and thrive within our unique organisational structure:

  • Understand the TEAL principles: Familiarize yourself with the core principles and values of the TEAL model, such as self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose. Gain a clear understanding of how these principles manifest in the organisation’s culture and day-to-day operations.
  • Embrace self-management: Take ownership of your work and decisions. Act autonomously, seek opportunities to contribute and make a difference, and be proactive in taking on responsibilities within your defined roles.
  • Foster open communication: Cultivate a culture of open and transparent communication. Share ideas, feedback, and concerns openly with your colleagues and leaders. Engage in active listening and value the diverse perspectives of others.
  • Embrace a growth mindset: Be open to learning and personal development. Adapt to new challenges and changes in the organisation. Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Build relationships and networks: Collaborate and build relationships with your colleagues, recognizing the interconnectedness and interdependence of teams and individuals within the organisation. Seek opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Take part in decision-making: Participate in decision-making processes within your team or circles. Contribute your insights and expertise to inform decisions. Respect the principles of consent and seek consensus when necessary.
  • Nurture your well-being: Prioritize your well-being and self-care. HumanTech emphasizes the importance of the whole person, so take time to maintain a healthy work-life balance, manage your energy effectively, and support the well-being of your colleagues.
  • Embrace the organisational purpose: Understand and align yourself with the organisation’s evolutionary purpose. Connect your work to the broader vision and mission of the organisation and seek opportunities to contribute to its realisation.
  • Be adaptable: HumanTech is a dynamic and flexible organisation. Be open to change, ambiguity, and uncertainty. Adapt quickly to evolving circumstances and contribute to the organisation’s ability to navigate complexity.
  • Seek support and feedback: Build relationships of trust with colleagues and leaders, and actively seek feedback and guidance. Foster a culture of coaching and mentoring, both as a recipient and a provider.

Observing, adapting, and embracing HumanTech culture and principles will help you integrate and effectively contribute to our organisation’s success.

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