It’s been a long time since I have given an interview — life is so rich that I keep prioritizing other things. Perhaps because of this silence, I keep getting lots and lots of questions in email and when I meet readers What has happened since the book came out? Did you expect the book’s success? What are you up to? …
Recently, I thought I might take the questions I get most often, and weave them into an interview that would read like a conversation. So here are your questions interviewing me. :-)
Q: Reinventing Organizations came out a few years ago. Can you share, from your perspective, what has happened since?
What’s happened with and around the book has been really astounding. There are so many ways to respond to this question that I’m not sure where to start. Perhaps the most essential answer is this: I believe the book has shifted the conversation, in many circles, from the frustration with all that is broken in management to a conversation of possibility. I think that’s the biggest contribution of the book overall — for many people, the question is no longer how can we fix this or that issue we have in our organization? Instead the question becomes wow, could we adopt this whole new way to structure and run our organization?
Because of this sense of possibility, there are suddenly hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands and thousands, of organizations out there that are making the leap! They take a radical departure from the kind of management that is taught in business schools and adopt the new perspective outlined in the book, plus all the daily practices that sustain this shift.
Continue reading the interview here...
This is an article I recently wrote that is related only tangentially to Reinventing Organizations, but that some of you might enjoy nevertheless.
In the West, a grand experiment has been unfolding over the last one hundred years. For thousands of years, humans had been deeply embedded within a broader net of community life — fitted within the spheres of family, social class, faith, and work. But then we shed community and embraced the nuclear family as the container for our lives. We believed this small, isolated structure would allow us to create the lives we really wanted, unencumbered by the demands of extended families, meddling neighbors, and social pressures to conform.
The demands of the collective gave way to the liberation of the individual as, at the turn of the twentieth century, rural dwellers piled into crowded cities seeking jobs. By mid-century, a post war economy made a new exodus possible, and life in the suburbs became the new ideal. Citified folks were now moving out to expansive green lawns where splendid isolation was the new dream for modern life.
More recently, hip urban centers with lively cafés, cool cultural centers, and app-reviewable restaurants have captured our collective imagination as the best place to live. Young adults, in particular, are flocking back to cities. Despite skyrocketing rents and increasingly tiny apartments, these are great places to experiment with identity, seek out one’s tribe, and eventually search for a life partner. And it’s all quite wonderful — until perhaps two people meet, settle down, and become parents.
Continue reading here ...
by Chris Clark
Republished from Enlivening Edge.
Frederic Laloux is not doing what he’s supposed to do. It could drive a person crazy.
This summer, his hugely successful book Reinventing Organizations metamorphosed into a new form: a wiki, distilling and transposing the book’s contents into an online format. More than a hundred writers and editors were involved in the project, which essentially open-sourced and liberated the content from its author.
Cue the record-scratch what the…? moment: Creative Commons? Not the typical next move of a successful writer.
We’re more familiar with this story: book blows up, writer embarks on speaking tour, publisher solidifies the brand, author writes the sequel. And in the case of Reinventing Organizations that story would be justified. I’ve met a handful of strangers in coffee shops because I saw them reading the book and felt compelled to start a conversation. I’ve spent the last year helping guide the Whidbey Institute through their own transition to Teal (the new organizational paradigm described in the book) because of these kinds of chance encounters with a whole community of enthusiastic change agents. That teal butterfly on the book’s cover has become ubiquitous. It’s one hell of a brand.
Originally published at Enlivening Edge.
Co-editor Matthew Kálmán Mezey interviews Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organizations, about his journey – inner and outer – to writing the book.
MKM: Frederic, after your talk at the RSA, a few people walked up to you to engage in a conversation. One of them asked you to share how you got to write the book Reinventing Organizations. I found your answer as inspiring as the talk, in some ways. Would you share that journey with our readers?
It’s interesting you ask this, because I don’t find my journey to be very remarkable. Reinventing Organizations was something that wasn’t planned, that just happened, and in many ways happened rather effortlessly. But then again, I’ve sometimes heard people who had done something that felt like work of their soul say that when they look back, it almost seems like everything in their life had prepared them for that work. That is somehow how it feels for me when it comes to this book. So perhaps that’s what I can talk about.
I could go back all the way to my early childhood to find the earliest strands but that might end up being a long story (laughs), so let’s start with my professional life. I worked for 10 years with a large consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. Starting in my mid-twenties, I was exposed to a great number of organizations, a great number of leaders, of executive committees. In many ways, I could not have written Reinventing Organizations without this broad exposure. I’ve had insights into the dynamics of business and of people that I would not have had if I had worked in just one or two large corporations and climbed the ladder there.
At the same time, during those years at McKinsey, I always felt conflicted. On the one hand, the work was playing to many of my strengths and talents, and I enjoyed it. On the other, there was always this lingering sense of “What am I doing here? What is the purpose of it all?” I never really fully fitted in. Every morning when I put on a suit and tie, I felt like I was dressing up and looked like a penguin (laughs). When I was at the airport or checking out of a four star hotel, there would be business people in suits all standing in line, and I wanted to tell them all: what are you doing? Get out of that suit, get a life! The irony that I was dressed just like them, doing just the same things, was only half lost on me. I always knew I didn’t want to become a partner at McKinsey. For a long time I thought: I’m going to do this for another six months, until I figure out what I’m really meant to do. It just always took me longer than six months to figure that out.
So begins a great article in the Guardian (http://bit.ly/1DlL6rT). The journalist picked up the story of Buurtzorg from the book “Reinventing Organizations” and wonders if it heralds a fundamental alternative to the story that we are doomed to reduce public services to reduce costs. I hadn’t quite looked at it that way, but I find it a very powerful thought.
Buurtzorg’s case shows that sometimes we look for saving in the wrong place entirely. The real savings in home care comes not from shaving of 1 minute of changing a compression stocking. It comes from giving such great care that patients heal faster or become more autonomous, and so come out of care much more quickly, reducing care by hours, weeks or years, not minutes. And that the key to that is small, autonomous teams that aren’t prevented to give good care by well-meaning but flawed centrally-designed procedures, policies, bureaucracies… I’m convinced this applies to all of health care (think hospitals!), not just home care.
Un update on the last few months
“Reinventing Organizations” came out half a year ago, and I want to share with you a bit of the wonderful and unexpected journey it has been. The book got a furious reception! So much so that I have been overwhelmed and have failed almost completely in keeping the blog and the facebook page alive.
Here is an update, in random order, of the many wonderful things that have been unfolding. This post is also meant as an invitation if you want to participate and contribute in one way or another.
A personal post
Researching and writing "Reinventing Organizations" has felt like work of the soul to me, something much in my life has prepared me to do. In many ways, the process has been wonderfully easy. We often hear from people saying how writing a book or getting it published has been a painful process. I was blessed that everything just seemed to flow (even though it was of course a lot of work), an indication perhaps that this was work I was meant to do.
And yet, there have been much personal learning for me in the process. For instance, I've learnt (well I'm still learning) to say "no" to many of the demands I get for connecting with readers, giving talks and doing consulting, simply because the numbers of request exceed what I can offer. Saying "no" has always been difficult for me, and now life has brought me to a place where I simply have to learn to do it, and learn to do it as gracefully as I can.
One type of learning I wasn't expecting was that I'd become fascinated and learn to work in the gift economy. Hey I didn't even really know about the concept (I got a crash course reading Charles Eisenstein's book Sacred Economics). The idea, to oversimplify, is to live from abundance, from a place where you give your time, your skills, your passion, and others give back (in money or otherwise) whatever feels right to them. No more contracting, no more fixed prices. Instead, much more love for the work and deeper connection between people.
This is a post written by Tony Chamberlain, author of "The Congruence Framework". It gives a wonderful overview of what the book is about, and so I'm delighted that Tony agreed for me to publish it here. It is based on a piece Tony wrote a few weeks ago, where he contrasts the findings from my research with his own "Congruence Framework)