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Reinventing Organizations summary

Frederic Laloux

A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness

4.4 (165 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux explores a new way of organizing work that is more aligned with our current state of consciousness. It offers practical insights for building self-managing, purpose-driven organizations that foster employee fulfillment.

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    Reinventing Organizations
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    Human organizations have transformed in stages over the course of history, and continue to evolve.

    Think how much we have advanced in the past 10,000 years. From scattered groups of hunter-gatherers, humans now live in booming, crowded cities organized in nation-states.

    A similar transformation also occured on the level of organizations. And in fact, psychologists have identified concrete stages, organized by color, describing how this occurred.

    Our ancestors existed in the RED stage. During this period, organizations were small and violent, based on fear and an “I want it, so I take it” philosophy. A leader of a RED organization constantly needed to assert his power and dominance over the rest of the group, as if he showed any sign of weakness, someone else would take his place.

    The development of agriculture led to the AMBER stage. During this period, planning became increasingly important but the rigid hierarchies of the past remained.

    For instance, the Catholic Church was founded on dogma and strictly guarded hierarchies, oriented toward consolidating and holding power at the top. This structure was considered God-given, which is still the case today; while heretics are no longer hanged, the pope’s status is still unquestioned.

    ORANGE organizations came next, somewhat looser to foster innovation and creativity. Many of these organizations operate according to the principle of management by objectives, meaning that leadership doesn’t care how you do something, as long as objectives are met.

    Although the ORANGE model is common at big, multinational companies, GREEN organizations have also emerged. GREEN companies break hierarchies down even further, centering work around a strong shared culture.

    For example, at Southwest Airlines, staff are encouraged to make the company a fun place to work. To that end, one stewardess brings her hobby to work, playing the harmonica to entertain customers on board.

    But the process doesn’t end here. There’s an even more progressive stage of organization, the TEAL organization...which you will learn about in the next blinks.

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    What is Reinventing Organizations about?

    Reinventing Organizations discusses why companies around the world are getting rid of bosses, introducing flat hierarchies and pursuing purpose over profit. And ultimately, by adopting a non-hierarchical model, these organizations thrive.

    Reinventing Organizations Review

    Reinventing Organizations (2014) is a thought-provoking book that explores a new paradigm of organizations for the 21st century. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a compelling vision of organizations that are more adaptable, purpose-driven, and human-centric, offering a refreshing alternative to traditional hierarchical structures.
    • With its extensive research and numerous real-life examples, the book provides a wealth of evidence that supports the effectiveness of these new organizational models.
    • The book challenges conventional wisdom and calls for a fundamental shift in how we think about and approach work, making it a fascinating and thought-provoking read.

    Best quote from Reinventing Organizations

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein

    —Frederic Laloux
    example alt text

    Who should read Reinventing Organizations?

    • Anyone studying leadership or management
    • Employees and managers fed up with hierarchical organizations
    • CEOs who want to change and modernize their company

    About the Author

    Frederic Laloux is a former strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company. Today, he advises companies on how to adopt new organizational structures and practices.

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    Reinventing Organizations FAQs 

    What is the main message of Reinventing Organizations?

    The main message of Reinventing Organizations is that traditional hierarchical models are outdated and new ways of organizing are needed.

    How long does it take to read Reinventing Organizations?

    The reading time for Reinventing Organizations varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Reinventing Organizations a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Reinventing Organizations is worth reading as it explores innovative organizational practices that can lead to more effective and fulfilling work environments.

    Who is the author of Reinventing Organizations?

    The author of Reinventing Organizations is Frederic Laloux.

    What to read after Reinventing Organizations?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Reinventing Organizations, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Wise Company by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
    • Negotiating the Nonnegotiable by Daniel Shapiro
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    • The Grid by Matt Watkinson
    • The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg