Three steps to get started with Teal

Wendy van der Klein helps organizations discover and realize purpose. Purpose-led companies put purpose before profit. They have lower staff turnover and increased productivity. People working for these organizations are more engaged, creative and happy.

Most questions raised during our latest webinar “Are you ready to make the leap to the next stage of management”? centered around the question: “How to get started with Teal”?

Worldwide people are inspired by the book Reinventing Organizations written by Frederic Laloux. However, translating Teal into day-to-day practices at work can be a challenge and a bit overwhelming.

Transforming an existing organization

Laloux points out two necessary conditions that need to be present to avoid wasting your time and effort on a Teal initiative:

  1. Does the CEO “get it?”
  2. Do the members of the Board “get it” and support it?

When both the CEO and the board look at the world through Teal lenses and are personally excited about it, just get started. It is as simple as that. The Teal initiative you start with does not have to be the perfect solution. Look at it as a next, workable step. You don’t have to know the full path ahead.

“If your CEO and Board don’t get it, you can still explore and implement Teal practices, be it on a team or department level. Take into account the existing framework of rules and processes within your organization, and strive for a healthy way of working in the area where you’re responsible”.

Step 1: Discover where your organization is today

Observe, observe, observe current ways of working and exchange views with colleagues mapping the beliefs, behaviors, culture and systems at play. The Teal Reflection Tool inspired by Ken Wilber can be used to look at the current reality of your organization from four different perspectives. By considering all quadrants of the model, you acquire integral knowledge about the current reality of how your organization functions.


Teal Reflection Tool


When you have a map of current practices, these observations can be linked to the developmental stages of organizations described by Frederic Laloux. Reflect on each practice and become aware from which predominant frame of reference your organization operates. Is it Amber, Orange or Green? Followed by the question: “What would this practice look like from a Teal perspective”?  For example, training from an Orange perspective often refers to fixed trajectories designed by HR with a focus on development of skills. Training from a Teal lense could be that people have personal freedom and responsibility for developing their own training program.  The book Reinventing Organizations has a list of Teal structures, practices and processes in appendix 4.

 Step2: Sense the next step

Gather your team and invite people to become (more) present in the meeting room by doing a check-in or a short meditation. Start a conversation about current perceived issues in the organization per quadrant of the Teal Reflection Tool. A very practical and direct way to dive in is to invite people to look at tensions as fuel. Where we normally try to avoid tension because it doesn’t feel good we now use tension as a source of energy to detect the next step.

To give everyone a space to express him/her self and avoid endless discussions it is helpful to pinpoint a facilitator to lead the conversation. When a list of real tensions has come up the team can sense which tension it wants to start addressing. Try to address one tension at the time. What practice/next step could work? What would such a next step look like from a Teal perspective?  Keep in mind it does not have to be the perfect solution. As long as it is workable.

Joris Engbers on working Holacracy based @ Spindle:

“We have the enormous benefit that every great idea from anyone in the organization can be acted upon immediately. We will have tried ten new things and succeeded only once, before any traditional organization has had the third meeting about the first idea”.

 Step 3: Start your first Teal experiment!

Simply, just start a first experiment with the practice the team has come up with. For example, a tension has been brought up: “New employees are hired by HR and often there is no real fit with the existing team”.

A Teal practice could be that instead of HR, colleagues become responsible for doing interviews and hiring the right person to join the team. What you start is a learning experiment. The team starts a period of selecting people they want to work with and by doing so data will come up that gives the organization valuable feedback. Is the team more or less satisfied with people they have hired independently? Is it easier or harder for new people to join the team because of the new practice? What happened to the original tension? Is there still an issue? Have new tensions arisen? Like: “It costs way too much time to interview applicants next to our day-to-day job”.

At the end of a pilot period working with the new practice, gather your team to evaluate the benefits and concerns of the practice. Answer questions like: “Shall we continue the practice or stop with it or does something needs to be adapted?” Use this opportunity to also sense the next step and continue with it. Welcome to the world of evolutionary Teal where change is a constant.

I look forward to connect! Contact the author Wendy van der Klein at

Hungry for more?

  • Join our free webinar “How to get started with Teal” on the 26th of May. Explore the dos, don’ts, pitfalls, and challenges when implementing Teal practices in your team or organization. With 2 special guests who will share their personal experiences: Allard Droste ( & Matthias Hallmann (
  • Or join the Teal Summer Journey at Nyenrode Business University this summer.
  • Dig for more information on the Reinventing Organizations Wiki