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Teal in Corporate workshop in Fortum

Teal in Corporate workshop was arranged in Fortum 17 August 2017 by Teal Suomi and Fortum's Must Win Battle Establish a Culture of Speed and Agility. This blog text describes shortly what Teal means and summaries the workshop.

Photo by Ville Lestinen

Teal in Corporate, what does it mean? What was the point of the workshop? The world is changing. Mobile devices and social media have changed communications. It is not anymore dependent on place to be in contact with somebody. Discussion between two persons can be even independent of time. This with other changes in our societies, has lead to change in people's expectations for worklife. Most of our companies nowadays have a strong hierarchy. Commands and control has a strong foothold. However, today's business environment and new generations want something different. Nowadays companies shall be able to adapt to? continuous changes and people want to be more responsible, but they also want more freedom.

Photo by Ville Lestinen

Teal theory is developed by Belgium scientist Fredric Laloux. Principles of the theory are presented in his book Reinventing Organizations. Laloux has categorised levels of "organisational consciousness" by colours.

Most corporates nowadays represent Orange. Pyramidal hierarchy, profit, meritocracy and control and command culture are important in these organisations. One problem in Orange companies is that changes are difficult. Normally impulse to change comes from top management and change is static process from one point to another. So, Orange organisations can be described as a machine.

Green is a step upwards. In green companies organisational structure can still be similar to Orange companies, but they appreciate especially empowerment and values-driven culture. They are like a family. However, partly due to this, changes can be even more difficult than in Orange companies. For example Ben & Jerry's follows this kind of ideology.

In a classification of Laloux, highest level is Teal. Three main principles of Teal are self-management, evolutionary purpose and wholeness. These companies have low hierarchy, if any. Decisions are made following principle of self-management. Groups of relevant people can make any decision. There is no external control over this group. This kind of decision making process leads to situation where direction of a company is in continuous change and it can be said that both people and company have evolutionary purpose. Also role of people is not stagnant, but case specific. The role is not limiting, but skills are. If someone has skills to do something, they can do it, if relevant people around accept it. This leads to the third principle, wholeness. Everyone in a company can be oneselves. Teal companies are described as a living organism. They require a lot from everyone in a company, but they also give much back. People can feel that they are essential part of the company, which is a great basement for high motivation.

Photo by Ville Lestinen

Teal in Corporate workshop was arranged to discuss how principles of Teal could be implemented in and applied to a large coporate. Is there any realism or is it just a remote dream? Discussion was based on two presentations. Firstly me and Ann Boije af Gennäs, leader of Fortum's Must Win Battle Establish a Culture of Speed and Agility, welcomed people to the workshop. Then Topi Jokinen from Teal Suomi continued with a presentation "What is Teal?" following Ann's presentation of Fortum's targets in development of future working culture. After that Samuli Savo from Teal Suomi gave instructions to workshops? and after about one hour group discussions, Samuli chaired common discussion of results.

Agenda of the workshop is presented below. Here are links to the presentations and results. Videos are included in the agenda.


9.00 - 9.30 Breakfast

9.30 - 9.40 Welcome! (Ville Lestinen, Ann Boije af Gennäs)

9.40 - 10.00 What is Teal? (Topi Jokinen)

10.00 - 10.20 Fortum MWB: Establish a Culture of Speed and Agility - Why? (Ann Boije af Gennäs)

10.20 - 12.20 Group work (Samuli Savo & All)

10.20 - 10.30 Instructions

10.30 - 11.30 Group discussion

11.30 - 12.20 Findings

12.20 - 12.30 Closing words (Ville Lestinen)

Photo by Ville Lestinen

Photo by Veeti Haapsamo

Then, what we got after discussions? Do we have anything more than before the workshop? I think we have. Firstly we woke up discussion of Teal and self-management. Term "Teal" was practically unknown for most of the participants before the workshop. I am sure that many participants starts to think, that maybe that kind of way of management is possible. Maybe our current practices are not the only possibility. Better alternatives can exist. Secondly we got practical idea how to start impelementing of Teal or generally new organisational? culture. We got lots of ideas during the discussions. Ideas were given separately for development of purpose, wholeness and self-organisation. One idea was to send people to different places where we can see more deeply what sustainable means. For example melting glaciers could be such place. I think this is a great idea! If people from Fortum would be sent to visit places where for example nature is changing remarkably and public stories would be made of the visits, I am sure that everyone would feel purpose of the company much more practically. A Festival of Failure to increase the feeling of wholeness and an anarchy day to help self-organisation in a company, were also an interesting idea. However, the best guidance is that we just have to start to do things in a new way in some units or parts of a company. Small pilot groups can give a good example for rest of the company. Most fences are mental. If we decide to do something, we can do it!

Photo by Veeti Haapsamo

If you want to learn more about Teal, one good source of information in Finnish is here. However, there are also links in English like Reinventing organisations evolutionary development map or slideshow of Teal theory and of course words "teal" and "management" in Google give lots of good links.

Photo by Veeti Haapsamo

Finally , big thanks to both Teal Suomi and Fortum who made this workshop possible! Big thanks also to everyone who participated in organising workshop as well as all partipants! The workshop was arranged following principles of Teal. There was no hierarcy or control, each organiser had effect on purpose and everyone came to the workshop as oneself. So, at least here we have a succesfull example of Teal, let's continue to work to get more of them! At the end of the day, only barrier between us and the change is own personal attitude...

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