Teal Tuesday – What Actually is Teal, anyway?

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If you’re unaware of what Konsileo is, we are a commercial insurance broker with a difference. We operate by the Teal culture, as described by Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organisations (2011)1. We place our clients and Client Directors at the heart of what we do, shifting the focus from targets to rekindling the passion and motivation of insurance professionals. We want to go into more detail about the foundational structures that Konsileo is built upon as well as how we facilitate the values and practices in day-to-day working life, so we decided to create this series of blog posts! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the core aspects of Teal: self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose. We hope that you find it interesting and are inspired to adopt some of these practices into your own workplace or join ours!


Before we delve into the complexities of the Teal philosophy, it’s important to understand the evolving structure of corporate organisations. Laloux divides this evolution into five defining stages of human consciousness, designating a colour for each stage. This blog post will explore the five stages that have ultimately lead to the creation of Konsileo.


Back in the beginning, when we were still living in tribes, there was one clear leader. This leader was the most powerful person within the tribe and made sure everyone else knew it, enforcing their authority through power. Thus begins the top-down authority structure alongside the creation of division of labour (but without a guarantee of fair rewards). This system is considered the ‘Red’ stage, driven by impulses and basic needs of survival. It is exceedingly rare to still find this kind of organisation in the current workplace.  


The next stage Laloux describes is the ‘Amber’ stage. We still see this form in institutions such as the Army and the Catholic Church. Amber organisations have clear ranks that form into a hierarchical pyramid, creating stability and certainty as everyone understands what is expected of them in their designated rank and role. It is an improvement from Red as there is less impulsiveness as well as containing more internalized rules that service a common belief. This stage created replicable processes and a stable organisation chart, making it easy for the structure to be universally adopted. However, it is more difficult for these institutions to adapt to changes due to its intensely structured form. 


Moving onto ‘Orange’. This worldview was created during the scientific and industrial revolutions, whereby those at the top recognised the fact that the world is much more complex than Amber organisations may consider. Being able to see what needs improving and doing so quickly and innovatively is how one can achieve success. Such is the structure of publicly listed corporations, banks, and many global brands. The organisational breakthroughs at this stage include innovation, accountability, and meritocracy – all values that are commonplace in true capitalist structures. However, people have found that they turn into machines, going to work for the betterment of a company that they may receive some bonus from, leading to high rates of burnout and low motivation. 


Laloux’s fourth stage, ‘Green’, works on the philosophy that organisations are like families. There is a sense of inclusion and is, at the core, driven by a view to treat all people equally. Ben and Jerry’s is a good example, whereby they champion their employees which ultimately inspires them to perform. It is characterised by a values-driven culture, empowerment, and placing a higher value on stakeholders. However, some ‘Green’ organisations retain the hierarchical structure and so there tends to be a disconnect between the values and reality, causing stagnation and paralysis. Most companies are able to create a culture that is empowering enough, though, that it compensates for the problems that come from meritocracy.  


Which leads us into the Teal organisations – our structure. This is the evolutionary worldview that is currently moving to the fore. It focuses on taming the ego, using inner rightness as a compass, and a yearning for wholeness. It aims to shift perspective away from targets and meritocracy and move into a truly equal organisation. Teal refocuses work onto what really matters – the people. By removing some of the traditional corporate structures, it leaves room to streamline practises which gives time back to colleagues so they can focus on doing their jobs properly in the way they want to. It is driven by a community spirit, with the view that the organisation is a living organism that has distinct parts with their own specific, and equally important, needs. Teal runs on self-management, intuitive reasoning, decentralised decision-making, wholeness, and a deeper sense of purpose. The individual fits in with the collective and the collective are aware of the individuals that it is formed of.  


It must be understood that no company is just one colour, and each organisation is continually evolving. Konsileo was founded on the idea of Teal, and we continue to find ourselves refining and creating practices in order to achieve the philosophy fully and truly. It is especially important in the insurance industry, where all too often professionals are tied to targets which forces them away from doing right by their clients. By rebalancing this dynamic, Konsileo gives time and energy back to our Client Directors, allowing them to focus on what they deem important. We give our brokers freedom to build their own book, with the businesses they want. They don’t have to ask permission to visit a client. We trust that they will do what they need to do to provide the best risk management advice. It helps rebalance the attitude towards work and leaves time for life, increasing motivation and passion once again! 


If you’re bored of the same ‘Orange’ or ‘Green’ organisations and need the freedom and flexibility to do your job properly, contact Prina (prina.mashru@konsileo.com, 07737 603 613) or Chris (chris.sulman@konsileo.com, 07898 210 760) for a confidential chat. 


  1. The website for the book can be found here – https://www.reinventingorganizations.com/  . There is also a Wikipedia based on the book and can be found here – https://reinventingorganizationswiki.com/en/ .

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