A wiki to inspire next-
generation organizations

From Home

(page yet to be written, can already be linked to)

The article of appreciation describes what appreciation is an what it is not and how it is a fundamental way of being in Teal organizations. The article briefly touches upon how appreciation has been used and evolved during the course of the previous development levels.  < ref >

__ TOC __

Historical perspective

Every historical stage has given birth to a distinct perspective on appreciation, and to very different practices. < ref >:

Red Organizations

In Red Organizations, appreciation was used to honor those who were close and obedient to the chief and who won some merits e.g during a war not seldom knighthood or similar titles.  This could be taken away easily if one was fallen into disgrace This all happened in the realm of (social) survival. < ref >

Amber Organizations

In Amber organizations, appreciation was granted to those who followed rules and orders in the form of being allowed to climb the organizational and social ladder while being giving the more and more important title that allowed them to gain power over others themselves, step by step. Here also it was a matter of obedience and merits in the realm of right or wrong, praise or punishment, being praised for following the rules. < ref >

Orange Organizations

In Orange organizations, streaks of self management start to emerge, however still within the old hierarchical structure. So within a team with a teamleader, the way the job is done is being laid much more out to the individuals. Orange value individual performance as well as self-management to some degree, as long as the targets are met and the job is done within the scope of what is agreed. If not, the team leader is expected to step in and correct the matter. Also, if the team leader for other reasons thinks, that individual or team methods are not feasible (even if targets are met), the team leader will always have the last say. This could be if the methods are deemed too unconventional and risking to stir up the goodwill of the stakeholders, thus potentially influencing performance (ie. cause bad press, a lot of questions from the other employees, etc.). < ref >

Green Organizations

In Green organizations, self management is the preferred way of working. However, it is rather different than the teal way of self managing, primarily as it is based on consensus. [Writer: Are there other distinguishing traits than the consensus one in Green?] The consensus based culture means that everybody has to been asked, and that the solution has to incorporate everybody's needs. If it doesn't, anybody can give a veto and prevent the team from making any decisions at all. This means, that when the team reaches a solution, everybody backs it up, and it is likely to get done. But it also means, that decisions can take a very long time to make, and that nothing can be done until the team reaches consensus. This might make some team members give in and seek a compromise which is either so small, that it's almost not a new solution, or which isn't doable in practice. < ref >

Teal Organizations

Self management in Teal organizations has these characteristics:

  • Structures and processes are based on people being good, trustworthy and accountable, thus reducing the amount of administration and control systems significantly.
  • The teams organize themselves without a leader. If they need help from outside, they will ask for it, and the person outside the team can only suggest, not make decisions.
  • There is typically no organizational charts in teal organizations.
  • There are typically no job descriptions or job titles.
  • As a rule, all functions are carried out within the team, leaving very few tasks (or none) to staff functions.
  • Project management is radically simplified, as teal organizations are based on trust and listing to evolutionary purpose, rather than predict and control.
  • When hired into the organization, colleagues in teal organizations are taught important principles such as how to make decisions, how to resolves conflicts, how to communicate and share information, how to facilitate meetings, how to listen to evolutionary purpose and how to set their own targets. Because without this type of fundamental knowledge, the structure will not function - and most likely, their previous (non-teal) workplaces didn't teach them these competencies.

Principles and practices in Teal

Structures that make self-managing organizations possible


Self-managing teams

See Project teams and task forces.

No organizational charts


No job descriptions or job titles

There are typically no job descriptions or job titles. Depending on the type of production, there might be "input / output contracts" with supplier teams and customer teams (with a contract for every time the product or service transports from one team to the next in a value chain). See also Job Titles and Job Descriptions

Few staff functions


Radically simplified project management


Essential processes to support self-managing organizations


Fundamental assumptions

People are considered to be good, trustworthy and accountable. When we make mistakes, we own up to them. See also Fundamental Assumptions.

Decision-making - the advice process


Information flow

Everybody expects to have access to all information at the same time. See also Information Flow.

Conflict resolution


Role definition and allocation

See also Role Allocation (Promotion).

Performance management

See also Feedback and Performance Management.

Compensation and incentives

See also Compensation and incentives.


See also Dismissal.

Link with the three Teal breakthroughs

[Should we take this part out?]





Evolutionary purpose


Frequently asked questions


Answer 1


Answer 2


Answer 3


Answer 4

In practice

Here are some practical examples from organizations that have adopted self-management. [Is it OK to copy examples from other articles?]

Sun Hydraulics

Hydraulics components - Global - 900 employees - For profit

Sun Hydraulics is a global, engineering heavy producer of hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds with hundreds of Engineering Projects running in parallel.

"There is no master plan. There are no project charters and no one bothers with staffing people on projects. Project teams form organically and disband again when work is done. Nobody knows if projects are on time or on budget, because for 90 percent of the projects, no one cares to put a timeline on paper or to establish a budget. A huge amount of time is freed by dropping all the formalities of project planning - writing the plan, getting approval, reporting on progress, explaining variations, rescheduling, and re-estimating, not to mention the politics that go into securing resources for one's project or to find someone to blame when projects are over time or over budget. ... "We don't waste time being busy." < ref >.

AES (Applied Energy Services)

Energy Sector - Global - 40.000 employees - For profit

AES used permanent and temporary task forces instead of traditional maintenance, safety, purchasing, HR or auditing departments.

"With only around 100 staff in its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AES had no central maintenance or safety departments, no purchasing, no HR, and no internal audit departments. In a smaller company, like FAVI and Sun, when an issue arises on one of these areas, people can simply call a meeting, or delegate a specific coordinating role to a colleague. At AES, with 40.000 people scattered around the globe, that was no longer feasible. The company came up with the "80-20 rule": every person working at AES, from cleaning staff to engineer, was expected to spend on average 80 percent of their time on their primary role and make themselves available for the other 20 percent in one or more of the many tasks forces that existed around the company." < ref >.

Please note, that AES was handed over to new management in year 2001, who decided to go back to more conventional management approaches < ref > .

Valve Software

Software Industry - United States - 330 employees - For profit

When you give smart talented people the freedom to create without fear of failure, amazing things happen. Since 1996, this approach has produced award-winning games, leading-edge technologies, and a groundbreaking social entertainment platform.

In Companies where teal projects is the norm and no traditional organizational structure exists, the physical layout will typically be designed to support a more fluid structure. So e.g. at Valve Software, no one has a fixed seat, and desks are on wheels to be moved around to serve today's purpose. Valve even designed an intranet app to locate colleagues. It renders a map of the office in real-time, showing the spots where people have plugged their computers into the wall.

Notice their introduction handbook for new employees as well :-)

Read more about Valve here< ref >

Related topics

Most of the wiki is related to self-management, one way or the other.


< ref >