A new perspective

Leading scientists believe that the principal science of the next century will be the study of complex, autocatalytic, self-organizing, non-linear, and adaptive systems. This is usually referred to as "complexity" or "chaos theory" (the Teal equivalent to Orange's Newtonian science). But even though we are only now starting to get our heads around it, self-management is not a startling new invention by any means. It is the way life has operated in the world for billions of years, bringing forth creatures and ecosystems so magnificent and complex we can hardly comprehend them. Self-organization is the life force of the world, thriving on the edge of chaos with just enough order to funnel its energy, but not so much as to slow down adaptation and learning.[1]

All stages of organizations prior to Teal have relied on a hierarchical power structure, with certain people exerting authority over others. The concentration of power and decision-making at the top, separating colleagues into the powerful and the powerless, brings with it problems that have plagued organizations for as long as we can remember. Power in organizations is seen as a scarce commodity worth fighting for. This situation invariably brings out the shadowy side of human nature: personal ambition, politics, mistrust, fear, and greed. At the bottom of organizations, it often evokes the twin brothers of powerlessness: resignation and resentment. The widespread lack of motivation we witness in many organizations is a devastating side effect of the unequal distribution of power. For a few lucky people, work is a place of joyful self-expression, a place of camaraderie with colleagues in pursuit of a meaningful purpose. For far too many, it is simply drudgery, a few hours of life "rented out" every day in exchange for a paycheck. The story of the global workforce is a sad tale of wasted talent and energy. [2][3][4]

Earlier stage organizations are seemingly built on the assumption that people cannot be trusted to act in the organization's best interest without supervision. Teal Organizations are built on a foundation of mutual trust. Workers and employees are seen as reasonable people that want to do good work and can be trusted to do the right thing. With that premise, very few rules and control mechanisms are needed. And employees are energized to make extraordinary things happen.