In a fascinating book called reinventing organizations author at Frederick Lallo recounts the evolving history of how people have worked together in large organizations and how new perspectives or paradigms have emerged over the centuries that unlocked new levels of prosperity as to became the predominant approach in this video we’ll take a look at these paradigms then examine how they.

Can inform our thinking about adopting agile or lean approaches each new paradigm is described by its own color has some unique characteristics and some breakthrough ideas and.

We’ll look at some examples of organizations operating under each paradigm today we will start with the oldest paradigm described by the color red the guiding metaphor for red is that of the wolfpack red emerged as people organized into tribes and was the.

Predominant paradigm for centuries the defining characteristics of red include a powerful leader who inspires fear in the group’s enemies and compliance within the group red is most useful in situations of chaos where the powerful leader may be the only thing guaranteeing the survival.

Of the group the breakthrough ideas of red are command authority where a leader can set a direction and people will follow allowing them to work towards a common goal and division of labor where people can specialize in a specific type of work that benefits the overall group examples of organizations functioning under the red paradigm today include the Mafia Street gangs and tribal militias red organizations are limited by the short-term perspective required to survive chaos the next level amber evolved when.

The instability of fear-based power structures could not accomplish longer-term success the guiding metaphor for amber organizations is that of an army amber emerged.

Like those invented by the Roman military under Julius Caesar and those used by the Catholic Church enabled focusing on long term goals which are only possible under stable leadership being based.
On status not physical prowess the primary characteristic.

Of amber organizations is their strict hierarchical structure leading to stability and exerting strong control over the lower levels in the hierarchy the breakthrough ideas in an amber organization are take a long-term perspective instituting strong.

Creating formal roles for various levels within the hierarchy examples of current organizations that.

Have an Amber perspective are most public schools in the United States most governments and traditional churches amber organizations begin to hit their limits when conditions change that require new approaches the next level orange evolved when entrenched amber organizations were unable to adapt to changing conditions the guiding metaphor for orange is that of a machine orange emerged in the age of reason along with the American and French Revolutions where individual meritocracy meant that.

The best ideas had a chance.

Of competing regardless of an individual’s status the primary characteristics of orange organizations include competition within the organization and with other organizations a focus on financial profit and growth and a switch to objectives based management where leaders set the strategy and lower levels within the hierarchy are given some freedom in how to carry out the strategy the breakthrough ideas in an orange organization are.

Innovation accountability for reaching the objectives laid out by management and meritocracy where individuals can rise within the organization based on their skill intelligence and creativity orange is the predominant perspective in the world today and nearly all large corporations function from an orange.

Perspective as well as many public universities orange begins to hit its limits when people feel that.

The profit motive is not fulfilling enough often becoming disengaged with the organization’s view of them as cogs in a machine.

A 2013 Gallup poll showed that only 30 percent of US workers were engaged at work a strong signal of the limits of an orange perspective the next level Green has emerged as people have sought more meaning in their work the guiding metaphor for green is that of the family the primary characteristics of green organizations are a focus on delighting customers making decisions based on a set of shared values and high engagement from everyone in.

The organization the breakthrough ideas are balancing the needs of all stakeholders including custom murrs employees partners and shareholders for publicly held companies a focus on culture / strategy and true empowerment of members in the organization regardless of their hierarchical level examples.

Of organizations that have a green perspective are Southwest Airlines and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream the agile and lean movements also emerge from companies with this perspective Green begins to hit its limits when consensus building.

Results in overly slow decision making and the hierarchical structures still existent.

In green begin to conflict with people’s desires to have greater autonomy the next level teal is emerging as organizations have discovered how to.

Work effectively without hierarchical structures the guiding metaphor for teal is that.

Of a living system the primary characteristics of a teal organization are what are known as anti fragile organizational structures either flat or based.

On interlocking circles of evolving roles aligning around an evolutionary purpose some shared goal of making the world a better place and by distributing decision-making authority to all members of the organization using something called.

The advice process where any colleague can make any decision in the organization so long as they have sought the advice of anyone that that.

Decision might impact this differs from consensus and that not all advice must be heated just considered the breakthrough ideas in teal are wholeness.

Where people can bring their whole selves to work their spiritual side their intellectual side and their creative side and feel safe that they will not.

Be judged for being themselves self-management is another breakthrough idea in most teal organizations there are no managers and an.

Evolutionary purpose meaning that the purpose is not owned by any one person but evolves as new people join the organization and as the organization learns more about how it can make the biggest difference in the world examples of teal organizations include Patagonia the outdoor clothing company Morningstar a.

Tomato processing plant responsible for 40% of the tomato products in the United States and Bert’s org a 7,000 person homecare nursing organization agile and lean are firmly rooted in green and most of the struggles we see with adoption are in organizations whose leadership have a dominant orange perspective to someone with an orange perspective agile and lean.

Are seen as simply process improvements to increase productivity efficiency or profits but without adopting the cultural perspectives of green only those practices that align with orange are.

Adopted and they are overlaid against orange approaches like top-down management or valuing profit against any other outcome agile thrives in organizations with a predominantly green perspective and agile practices become almost overkill in a teal organization which have evolved their own practices that include.

Agile values but where many agile practices are no longer required for example a single product owner if you are currently part of an orange organization and are looking for ways to make it work better search.

Out others with the green perspective especially those in leadership positions and work with them to help drive the cultural change required to make agile work as it was designed Lalo’s research indicates that only the top leader in an organization can successfully transform it vertically for example from orange to green however horizontal transformation is possible for example working within the boundaries of Orange to make it a more vibrant place of innovation and objectives based management instead of a stressful lifeless place of.

Micromanagement what important concept is that one color is not necessarily better than any other there are valuable ideas in every perspective there is data that shows that the newer perspectives are better able to deal effectively with increasing levels of complexity and interconnectedness but that does not mean that every.

Situation requires this or that only green and teal organizations can be successful success is defined differently from each perspective also the newer perspectives include the older ones like a Russian nesting doll so someone with the teal perspective.

Can and should continue to use orange or amber ideas when they might best meet the needs of the organization I hope this overview was helpful and then it gave you some insight into the culture.

Of your organization viewing agile and lean within this broader cultural context can help us make sense of why some organizations might struggle to fully adopt them and give us.
Some ideas of how to focus on culture as a key element in any change..


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