When Teal meets B Corps: a match made for transformation?
What happens when you bring together leaders involved in two of the most transformational movements in business and organisations?
On the 16th May 2016, in partnership with B-Lab UK, we hosted an evening to explore this question.
We brought together representatives from purpose-led organisations that stand for reinventing success in business, B-Corps and those who are redesigning organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness and are characterised by the 3 principles of self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose, often referred to as “Teal” organisations as first outlined in Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organisations.
We see a huge potential for mutual enhancement between the Teal and B-Corps movements and believe that by offering platforms to increase their awareness of one another we can accelerate the pace of transformation.
Teal & B-Corps: shared potential for transformation
To kick the evening off, we wanted to share our sense of why Teal and B-Corps have shared potential for transformation. Whilst we felt a strong intuitive knowing around this, we wanted to explore the underpinning rationale and inquire into this with those who attended the event.
What is teal?
The basis of Laloux’s book is that society at large is on the cusp of an evolutionary transition to the next stage of our human evolution ( colour coded as teal). As a result of this our existing organisational structures are no longer working for us and these two need to evolve to the next stage. Read more here.
When working with Zappos, an organisation pioneering in this space, we were challenged to summarise what it takes to lead an organisation towards “teal” in 10 words. Our colleague George Por came up with :
“Sensing, thinking, acting from beyond the smaller self with increasing frequency.”
Corporate Responsibility 2.0, B-Corps and Teal
We looked at the different mindsets or paradigms driving a company’s approach to corporate responsibility (pre-compliance, compliance, beyond, compliance, integrated strategy and purpose/values driven). Unsurprisingly these do reflect the different stages of societal/ organisational development outlined in Laloux’s book.
The purpose-led or values driven mindset is often described as corporate responsibility 2.0 because it is this mindset that marks a significant departure away from essentially self-interested rationale. The B-Corps is a movement for purpose-led organisations, based on a rigorous certification process and which requires the company owners to enshrine the needs of all stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, the environment, communities) in the legal articles or constitution of the company alongside the responsibility to the financial bottom line. As such, the decision to become a B-Corps is an act of teal leadership that comes from ‘beyond the smaller self’.
Real examples from the field
This stuff can get a bit conceptual, and is often the case with new ideas and concepts. Our intention was to host a real and practical conversation between people who are pioneering new approaches in their organisations. We touched on real examples of organisations such as Patagonia, Etsy and Wholefoods who are leading the way in both of these transformational movements, and were joined by representatives from organisations such as Escape the City, Folk, and Neo who, like us at Future Considerations, are exploring new ways of organising.
Nicole Bradfield MD of Neo a ‘brand and communications agency for the world we want’ who is leading the way both internally and with their clients, and Andrew Timms of creative agency Folk, joined us to share their own stories of being on the B-Corps and Teal journey.
If you are curious to hear more about the organisational transformation stories shared on the night, participant Lisa Gill eloquently captured the highlights in her Medium stream.
This event is just the beginning of our inquiry into the potential for mutual enhancement for teal organising and B Corps.
If you are a B Corp company and intrigued to explore more, please email me your burning question.