Become a spirited leader by creating purpose


Growing your leadership into the next stage of consciousness - part 3

A new organisational paradigm is slowly but steadily developing as leaders today are tired of power games, infighting and experiencing an overall sense of emptiness. In this article of a 3-part-series we’ll explore the third principle of the Teal organisation: evolutionary purpose.

The new Teal organisation identified by Frédéric Laloux, an independent advisor and author of Reinventing Organisations: a guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness, is built on three pillars:

  • Self-management
  • Wholeness
  • Evolutionary purpose

Evolutionary purpose

While most organisations camouflage the lack of purpose with a hollow sounding mission statement, Teal leaders view their organisation as a living entity with its own energy, its own sense of direction and its own calling to manifest something in this world. They don’t define a winning strategy and then marshall their subordinates to execute it, but they listen to the natural requirements of the organisation and aim to sense and respond.

The leaders at FAVI, a French automotive supplier, think like farmers: they look 20 years ahead but plan only for the next day. Farmers need to look ahead to decide which trees or crops to grow, but they will not plan a date for the harvest as they understand that nature has its own pace. Like farmers, Teal leaders will move along with the natural phases of the organisation and harvest when the time is right, instead of sticking rigidly to plan and ending up with a ruined harvest.

Purpose leads to high levels of innovation

In a self-managing and purpose-driven organisation, change can come from any person who senses that change is needed. Innovation doesn’t happen centrally and according to plan, but at the edges of the ecosystem when adaptation to changing circumstances is called for.

At Buurtzorg, a Dutch nursing care provider, nurses found that elderly people often break their hips when they fall. They came up with a plan to advise patients on small changes in their home interiors to minimise the risk of falling. Rather than analysing the idea, then assigning a team to develop an implementation plan, their CEO suggested to share the idea with the 9,000 employees through the internal social network. It quickly caught on and within a year nearly all teams had incorporated the new prevention model into their work.

How can you practise this in your workplace?

As a middle or senior leader you can start moving towards a Teal-inspired organisation today by inviting your people to talk to you about their challenges and to share with you their solutions to bottlenecks. Listen with an open mind. Then, rather than judging their suggestions and give a go or a no-go, simply let them present it to their peers to examine and test its strengths. If successful, let the teams incorporate the improvements.

Be extraordinary,
Anouk and Nicola