Adaptive Design Has “Teal” Characteristics

September 2nd, 2015

Many people sense that the way healthcare is run today has been stretched to the limits. And it’s not just a healthcare problem.

“In survey after survey, business people make it clear that in their view, companies are places of dread and drudgery, not passion or purpose. Further, it applies not to just the powerless at the bottom of the hierarchy. Beyond a façade of success, many top leaders are tired of the power games and infighting; despite their desperately overloaded schedules, they feel a vague sense of emptiness.”

This a quote form The Future of Management is Teal; a fascinating history of the evolution of human organizations from 10,000 years ago to the present day by Frederic Laloux in Strategy+Business.

Laloux illustrates the history of organizations by borrowing philosopher Ken Wilber’s use of colors to “name the successive stages of management.” However, it is Laloux that describes the future in the practices of a few organizations by describing this new style with the color Teal. Teal companies “show us how we can deal with the complexity of our times in wholly new ways, and how work can become a place of personal fulfillment and growth. “

This is a stimulating article to read and prompt you to take a fresh look at your or your company’s current management style. You may find 10,000 year-old tribal management (Red) methods still in use. Or consider your previous job(s); what color can you link each job to? Have you moved from Red to Teal? What style do you prefer? What have been your experiences?

I predict those of you actively doing Adaptive Design will see some “Teal” characteristics. Compare the “key breakthroughs” of Teal management to Ideal Patient Care. We are speaking the same language – move the organization as a whole toward a consistent-meaningful purpose, use your frontline as innovation incubators and cultivate management to be collaborators & guides.

For me, the management style of Teal expresses a more humanistic approach to not only evolving our way to work, but as a way to think. “Already, it’s clear that we can create radically more productive, soulful, and purposeful businesses and nonprofits, schools, and hospitals. We are at an inflection point: a moment in history where it’s time to stop trying to fix the old model and instead make the leap to the next one. It will be better suited to the complexity and challenges of our times, and to the yearning in our hearts.”

What do you think? Together we can discover how to make healthcare an inspiring, successful “place of personal fulfillment and growth” centered on delivering more Ideal Patient Care at continually lower cost. Wouldn’t that be wonderfully colorful?

2 Responses

  1. Cordon Bittner says:

    I’m not sure what Teal color is but it must be pleasant based on it being connected with such a useful management and organizational style. The problem with our culture is in a big way related to debt and the devaluation of money. It seems companies and individuals are sinking into a quicksand pit of too much debt and at the same time the loss of purchasing power. Some would argue the devaluation of money is a good thing because it lowers debt responsibility. I don’t believe that makes up for the damage done by too much debt. I can’t imagine the corporate culture leaping to Teal until Wall Street and Washington start acting like adults. A house of cards comes to mind.(Built on sand).

    • John Kenagy says:

      Debt, hmmm.. That’s an insightful point and one, I believe, we tend to forget. For example, the drive for ultra expensive Electric Health Records has been very, very costly. I see no evidence that there will be a return on those investments. In fact, in every organization we have studied, implementation of one of these gigantic systems has not only been extremely costly, it has resulted in pulling staff and physicians away from value-adding patient care and into more administrative work and workarounds. That’s less care for more cost on top of more debt to service. In my experience, that’s a cycle of decreasing returns. What have other readers experienced?

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