Book: Teal Dots in an Orange World

This is the synopsis for the sequel to “The Responsive Leader”, the follow-up that needs to be written: Teal Dots in an Orange World – how to organize the workplace of the future.

The title?

The title refers to the work done by Frederic Laloux in his book “Reinventing Organizations”, where he describes five organizational stages (Red, Amber, Orange, Green, Teal): Orange being the classical corporate structure; teal being the modern team-oriented organism.

The content and message of the book reflects my observation based on at least 15 years of working in corporate enterprises: Tactical and operational work gets done in small teams only, NOT in large operational structures. This observation is uncorrelated to the size and impact of the work: Success is not an attribute of corporate collaboration, but of small self-managed teams in a teams-of-teams structure – hence teal dots in an orange world: Self-propelled teams in a universe of minimal corporate support.

Where “The Responsive Leader” set the scene, describing the paradigm shift towards the future organizations, “Teal Dots in an Orange World” will address how to create that structure:

  • The design of teal dots (small teams)
  • The design of the orange world (the minimal corporate support)
  • How to distribute projects and activities in a new way
  • How to redesign feedback loops
  • How to redesign the corporate rhythm
  • Which corporate skills and capabilities that are needed
  • How to design the change and execute it
  • How to use digital tools to support and augment the leaders
  • And thus: How to handle tactical execution in an ever-changing world

It also builds on the term team-of-teams, coined by Deloitte, and on the work on Gary Hamel, aiming at removing corporate bureaucracy.

Other key words are: “From Distributed Leadership to Distributed Decisions”, beehive intelligence, dataflow to and from the teal dots, data generation in orange and in teal, data processing in orange and teal, algorithms, and decision making.

Two vital components of the future

Getting things done in a future world heavily influenced by two movements: Technology and humanity. The goal is to describe tactical execution in a changed business world, where the debate of design and mindset HAS taken place, and where we need to get the gears going. The content will circle around two themes: High tech, and high touch.

High tech, both exploiting digital advantages in research, collaboration (also with external organizations and more vaguely defined groups online), and communication, using tech to ensure tracking, performance, and value creation, and covering artificial intelligence in leadership. A special chapter will be devoted to Augmented Leadership, using the 4-5 different approaches to AI in leadership.

High touch, focusing on a genuine caring for employees, for customers, and for the planet, using emotions and humanism to get the right balance of privacy and professionalism. Understanding sustainable leadership and serving the need for people, planet, purpose, and profit is essential here.

Publishing date:

UK: November 2019
US: February 2020

Approximately 40,000 words, illustrated

Teal Dots in an Orange World cover 3d

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