Next Stage Organizations are Among Us
In “A Reinvenção que Nossas Organizações Precisam”, I shared some of the movements that seek to create new organizations, organizations more in line with the challenges of our changing world and much more aligned with its purpose and those of its members.
One of these movements is that of the so called Next-Stage Organizations.
A new stage in our organizational evolution
Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations proposes the idea of Teal Organizations, or Next-Stage Organizations as Frederic suggests us to call them now.
According to Laloux, organizations as we know them today, are only a reflection of our worldview, that is, our level of development as a society.
I highly recommend you to read more about these organizational stages of evolution in Laloux book, to explore Ken Wilber writings, or the great materials of Otto Scharmer and the MIT u.lab.
Three Key Innovations
The three main proposals of Next-Stage organizations are self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose.
Next-Stage Organizations have found the key to operate effectively, even on a large scale, with structure but without top-down hierarchies. In order for employees to be able to really self-manage their work, they need transparent access to key information (no more black boxes to which only a person or two have access), clarity in their roles and responsibilities, and well-defined decision-making processes . As I said before, it is not hierarchical but that does not mean structure-less. Some of the most common practices (for some will sound radical) include eliminating departments, working based on roles and opening access to financial information (including salaries) to everyone in the organization.
Organizations have always been places that encourage people to show up with a narrow version of themselves, the “professional” version. Rationality governs, while our emotional, intuitive and spiritual self often feel uncomfortable, out of place. In this next-stage, organizations have developed a set of practices that invite us to claim our wholeness and allow us to present our full self to work. Training and personal growth? Yes. Meditation and coaching? Yes. Safe and liveable Spaces? Yes. Getting rid of the hideous power struggles in the office? Oh yes, yes, yes!
Next-stage organizations have a life and a sense of direction of their own. Instead of trying to predict and control the future, members are invited to listen and understand what the organization wants to become, what purpose it seeks to serve. It is not the same as those vision-mission statements that usually reflect the management team ego, but rather focus on the fundamental reason why the organization exists, the difference it expects to make in the community and the market.
Better Organizations for an Exponential Reality
In summary, we can find next-stage organizations from different industries, different sizes and having different purposes. But what they all have in common, is their high capacity to respond to the environment (we could call them responsive organizations), their clear purpose orientation, and an almost total absence of strategies, plans or budgets (at least the centralized types we are used to), and a non-vertical fluid structure.
Our world is changing exponentially. Today more than ever we need our organizations to keep the pace. Are we also innovating our internal structures? What are we doing, as leaders, for that to happen? What are you going to do from now on?