Teal Org Structures

Purpose Evolving and Whole Organizations

Mission driven climate tech organizations need to be continuously evolving to meet their intended purpose. Working with and beyond shareholders, partners, customers, products, and services – such organizations must also integrate relevant insights from multiple stakeholder perspectives (environmental, community, socio-political, cultural) to make an impact. Such a plurality and diversity of perspectives means that the organization is constantly sensing into, making sense, and responding to the VUCA world around them.

Three examples to offer here as a sample of what this can look like:

  1. Vision and Mission: Mission driven organizations must surface and publicly name their intended long term vision and mission to allow themselves and others to understand and build coherence around their orienting purpose.
  2. Values and Principles: Even if the Vision and Mission is clear, the way forward isn’t… organizational values show how the organization is developing itself to embody and meet the demands of the Mission and Vision. Principles are an extension of the values and act as a declared Manifesto or Code of Conduct for the organization both inside and out.
  3. Progression Levels: Defining cross-functional developmental goals that articulate growth and progression for all individuals (intern to CEO) by taking into account increasing levels of accepted responsibility and influence (as opposed to authority and power) and aligned with increasing levels of complexity.

Developing the capability within the organization (both individual / collective) to continuously adapt itself requires self-awareness and the ability to see and integrate multiple perspectives with clarity and coherence to continuously meet the demands of the VUCA world in which it operates. This purpose evolving tendency starts at the top but doesn’t stop there – everyone in the organization benefits from developing themselves and each other to meet these demands with increasing levels of clarity and integrity.

Self-Managing Individuals and Teams

Self-managing systems are built within an organization to develop autonomy, empowerment, and accepted responsibility (as opposed to adopting power-over “management and accountability”).

Three examples to offer here as a sample of what this can look like:

  1. Fully self-directed review and feedback. This system invites all individuals to develop their own performance review by setting goals, self-assessing, and then inviting feedback from peers on that self-assessment. With the goal of integrating feedback and continuous improvement of goals on an ongoing basis.
  2. Open and transparent work systems. These systems invite work items, priorities, as well as triage / intake criteria to be visualized transparently in real time throughout the organization (individual, team, org wide). Such systems are adopted by and with the people doing the work who must accept responsibility to balance timely and effective communication of work with getting work done.
  3. Reflection practices. Integrating intentional reflection systems (e.g. targeted retrospectives, 1:1 coaching, etc.) within the organization is foundational. Organizational values shift from cognitive concepts directly into intentional practices aimed at embodiment at all levels – with the individual, within and across the team, in partnerships, and with stakeholders.

Book recommendations: Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness by Frédéric Laloux; Confronting our Freedom: Leading a Culture of Chosen Accountability and Belonging by Peter Block and Peter Koestenbaum;