Reinventing Organizations

In the new book called Reinventing Organizations by Belgian consultant Frederic Laloux, he explains a framework that classifies how groups have been managed and led.  Each level is labeled with a color and described in the form of groups that practice this style of leadership paradigm. They each have their own unique characteristics and ideas.

Red

Red is described as the Wolfpack, started thousands of years ago when people organized into tribes. These groups have a powerful leader who inspires fear in other groups and compliance within the group. The leader commands authority and the group divides labor. Groups that still use this today are the Mafia and street gangs.

Amber

Amber is similar to a military organization with a hierarchical structure. They require stable leadership that exerts control over lower levels in the hierarchy. Amber organizations have long-term perspectives, strict processes, and well-defined roles. Other examples of Amber organizations besides militaries are traditional churches, governments, and public schools.

Orange

Orange organizations are focused on competition and profit. Leaders set objectives for their team and they give the team some leeway in how to accomplish their goals. In these types of organizations, they create innovation and have accountability for actions. It is a meritocracy where individuals rise on their own work and success. Most large companies and public universities today operate from an orange perspective.

Green

Green groups act like a family and focus on delighting customers, engagement, and shared values. They try to balance stakeholder goals, focus on culture over strategy and empowering their employees. Two examples of green companies are Southwest Airlines and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The Agile and Lean movements both come out of green organizations.

Teal

Teal organizations are anti-fragile organizations with flat hierarchies. They focus on a higher purpose and distributed decision making, where employees are empowered to make decisions. Each member of the team is encouraged to bring their whole self to work. Workers manage themselves through a process called self-management where there are no formal leaders. An example of a teal organization is Patagonia outdoor suppliers.

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