In this edition of our Teal blog post series, we’re going to be looking at the second of Laloux’s key concepts – wholeness. What does wholeness actually mean? How do you go about implementing this abstract idea in a professional environment?
In Reinventing Organisations Laloux explains how in a traditional corporate work place we suppress major aspects of our personality, leaving only the more ‘masculine’ traits behind. Rationality becomes the only driving factor because that is the one that will be most successful within a traditional environment. But what happens to our emotionality, our spirituality, our intuitiveness? These are innate qualities in every person and by closing them off we become quite stagnant in our attitude towards work; repression of certain characteristics is not healthy. By breaking down the preconceptions around the corporate self and its values, we can start to open up more possibilities and conversations for a healthier, happier, more balanced working life. The principle of ‘wholeness’ is based on just that – breaking down the exclusive need for rationality and opening it up to more emotionality and intuitiveness. In essence, becoming more human at work.
Laloux coins this as ‘bringing your whole self to work’. This is not to say that there is no professionalism at all in Teal organisations; instead, it focuses on redefining professionalism and shifting attitudes away from ‘masculine’ presentations. Perhaps in an ‘Orange’ corporate structure that is the only option, but this is Teal. Having a healthier relationship with your professional self and your ‘deeper’, truer self will only reflect positively on your relationship to work itself. It allows us to understand our desires, wants, and needs to a fuller extent and we are more in-touch with our mental wellbeing which ultimately helps to prevent the dreaded burn-out. With a level of wholeness, Laloux explains, “work becomes a vehicle where colleagues help each other reveal their inner greatness and manifest their calling”. Already sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?
For wholeness to be achieved, existing practices need to be reinvented and new ones established in order to help us invite one another into the concept, for instance through the creation of safe and reflective spaces. This starts at the recruitment process. Normally, you have to put your absolute best, most professional self forward; you almost have to make it seem like your life depends on the job on offer. This is not the case for Teal organisations. Instead, the recruitment process should be open and professional, where your personality and interests are allowed to come through and be appreciated. For this openness to continue, the community and ‘ground rules’ should be established from the off. If you introduce such concepts later, it may become more difficult to fully accept the values into everyday life. There should be an understanding that there is space for complaints, if there are any, to be addressed properly and appropriate actions taken. Naturally we all have a bit of ego and part of wholeness is understanding when to tame them. Structures can be put in place to discourage or prevent chances for ego-hijacks during meetings, for example, ensuring that everyone is able to have input and subsequently for the meeting to be more beneficial.
Integrity is essential to wholeness and the corresponding company procedures. By creating a more human atmosphere with every colleague in mind, wholeness naturally encourages itself. There is the opportunity and freedom to develop in accordance with the desires of colleagues once the more artificially professional pretences take a backseat. By keeping in check with everyone’s emotions in the company, it creates a far more satisfying and safer workplace. No longer do we have to pretend everything is okay; if it ever becomes too much there is the knowledge that we will be heard and looked after. For this safe space to continue, there has to be a high level of honesty and responsibility within the company. The integrity has to stem, in part, from respect for colleagues and the organisation as an entity.
How Konsileo Does It
Compared to self-management, wholeness is a bit more difficult to pin down in ‘formal’ practices. It is extremely personal and everyone has their own individual journeys. We try to accommodate this through various means, such as the coaches mentioned in the previous blog post. We also have an established recruitment and induction process. The recruitment is handled by our in-house HwR team who understands the Teal environment and knows what kind of personality best fits in with that. During the recruitment process, candidates are involved in a series of confidential chats and interviews where we understand a bit more about you and what your working style is like whilst you also get to understand us. It is a very transparent process, which is exemplified by the fact we encourage potential candidates to get in contact with our existing Client Directors to hear what the company has to offer. By having this open, trusting, and transparent culture we hope that candidates are also open, trusting, and transparent in their approach and themselves.
Another established practice is that of our month-long induction. During this induction, you’re truly introduced to the Teal way of work and see how it operates in the day-to-day company-wide structure. We give you the resources and support, as well as the training, to be able to start straight off the bat. It takes a little while of getting used to as there is a definitive unlearning of the corporate norms. It may even be a bit uncomfortable to begin with, however every one of our Client Directors and Central Team is available to offer support and their own views on the Teal structure. It is also why the induction is a month-long process, to give enough time to adjust and ask questions before truly starting on the journey to become the happiest, best rewarded, most professional risk advisor you can be.
The integrity aspect of wholeness is key within Konsileo. Our structure is based on trust in self-management as well as wholeness. Every meeting that occurs both within the Central Team and Client Directors themselves we have check-ins and check-outs whereby every participant can share how they feel going into the meeting and then, at the end, how they feel coming out. The acknowledgement and sharing of emotions towards the meeting and its content helps establish the tone as well as taking into account any vulnerabilities. The meeting transforms into something a lot less corporate if everyone shares how they feel; it reminds us that we are all human. We also have a mutual understanding during meetings to prevent ego-hijacks. We give time for everyone to share their initial first impressions before moving onto reactions. Once the reactions have been worked through, we then move on to suggestions. By giving mutual time and attention, it enables for everyone to have their opinion heard and for the meeting to keep moving forward instead of going round in a circle. Some practices like this may feel a bit stilted to begin with, but once it is normalised meetings can start to flow a lot more naturally and become more productive.
Another area we encourage integrity is the flexible working structure. We no longer pretend that work is the be-all-and-end-all of life; commitments exist outside of the working day and, indeed, during it. By having this attitude towards personal life, it becomes much easier to share what is occurring and for people to celebrate personal and familial achievements. We have a dedicated Teams channel for more personal conversations, such as sharing a current favourite song or World Book Day costumes. It helps remind everyone that, once again, we are all human and the usual professional pretences no longer exist. People feel able to share the whole of themselves, the good and the bad, leaving them much more satisfied in both personal and professional life.
If you feel like you can’t bring your whole self to work, or are even actively discouraged from doing so, get in touch with Chris Sulman (firstname.lastname@example.org, 07898 210760) or Prina (email@example.com, 07737 603613) for a confidential chat and to learn more about what Konsileo has to offer.