Reinventing Organizations Book Summary - Reinventing Organizations Book explained in key points
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Reinventing Organizations summary

Frederic Laloux

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

4.4 (138 ratings)
18 mins
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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.

    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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