Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux was my latest reading. I got this book as a gift, and I am very grateful about that. I cannot think of a better gift than helping people in the way out of ignorance.
The book focuses on a theory to help on the categorization of organizations’ maturity. It is divided into three parts:
- The classification of organizations by their practices
- Structures, practices and cultures that defines a Teal
- A “how to” on moving a company to Teal direction
During my education I haven’t had a lot of exposure to social theories. Reading a social theory for the first time was somehow a very good exercise. While building the classification system, the variables the author uses make sense, even with the lack of precision caused by the missing theory or technology to measure some of the factors.
The book also goes through different use cases of companies from different areas that are adopting what the author calls “Teal practices”. Teal is how he classifies companies that are “in the next level of conscience”. These practices are things like eliminating middle management, letting employees lead projects and defining deadlines, etc. It does the best to eliminate top down decision and maximize employees’ power. They also use to focus more in the individuals than in the “organization”.
The book uses different cases to ilustrate it’s points, but sometimes, it goes through a lot of gibberish or pseudo-science. One good example is the bottom line: “A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness”, and that talks by itselfs. The author spent a lot of time on research, interviews, etc. If the author followed the scientific method in a more strict way it could help to build a solid base for future research.
This book does not go in the direction of Marxist theory. In the same way that “Eletric cars are the right answer to the wrong question.”, building “a more conscient work place is the right answear to the wrong question”. As a theory, this book is optimistic and does a decent job of aiming to move its subject from the current state to a better place. I would love to see serious research on this front in the following years, helping to decompose factors that may help companies bring some sanity to workplaces.
Writing a book is not an easy task, and there is no world where I could say that a book is entirely trash. But is hard to ignore pseudo-science that appear sometimes. As general advice, read it if you urge to make things different when helping to build an organization, but stay critical of what the books offer.
So long and thanks for all the fish!