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on 24 February 2015
I was ready for the concepts and ideas that Frederic explores in this book. I had so many moments when things 'clicked into place' that I lost count. If you are at all interested in how the work place is changing and long for a more human touch then this book is for you. If you are locked into the way that corporations currently operate (viewing organisations as 'machines' to be controlled) then much of what the book explores will seem very alien. A few people (from all over the world) have become sufficiently aware of their connection to other human beings that they take a very different view of how organisations should be run. There are practical reasons why the existing hierarchical organisation model is failing - namely that the world is getting much more complex and hierarchy is too slow, and there are human reasons why our current thinking needs to change - mainly that people want to be recognised for whom they are and are no longer prepared to be treated as 'cogs in the machine'.
The beauty of this new way of working is that everyone benefits so much more. Businesses achieve great success not because of a competitive strategic plan but because they allow people to bring all their energy to work and deliver services or products that serve the greater good. Please read this book.
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on 19 April 2014
An excellent, thoughtful, really well researched book, which makes its case lucidly.

I rate it so highly in particular because:
- it is genuinely holistic (it looks from multiple perspectives at organisations). In general even the better books about organisations tend to focus on just one aspect (say leadership, or purpose, or culture) - precious few are anything close to being holistic;
- it includes really detailed and useful case studies. I have a long-standing interest in what I think of as new paradigm organisations (ones that are compatible with things like complexity theory and quantum mechanics) and I hadn't come across any of these companies before. What's more, it is unusual (and really valuable) to be able to read in such detail the mechanics of how such organisations actually work. After all they don't generally have publicity departments pumping out information about how they are run;
- it is very readable. Organisations are really, really complex and it is easy to get lost in the complexity. Frederic has made this a relatively easy read while managing to convey really complex stuff.

If I were to be picky, I would say that the book would be more complete if it had included reference to some of the remarkable "unorganisations" that have formed thanks to the internet - I am thinking Wikipedia, Linux, Apache, Flickr, Couchsurfing and many others. There is definitely a strong link to be made between, on the one hand, plain ordinary businesses that find better ways of organising themselves (this is the territory of this book and of the likes of Ricardo Semler), and on the other hand businesses that are so networked that they are hardly recognisable as businesses at all (written about in books like "Here Comes Everybody", 'We:Think" and "Wikinomics" . It seems to me that these new ways of organising are all manifesting at this time due to: a) a rising ecological consciousness; b) an increasing move for self actualisation (self-empowerment), fuelled by modern communications technology and c) diminishing global resources and rising population, encouraging us to explore ways of sharing more.

Some may consider the book too unquestionning, glossing over or overlooking some of the no doubt turbulent events in the history of these organisations that led them to where they are. After all, most of the information comes from the organisations themselves - they are not likely to emphasize the struggles and arguments and dark nights of the soul that no doubt played their part in their emergence. One of the mysteries of such organisations is how they come to be created at all - it is often a series of seeming chances or miracles that leads to them coming into existence. There are many stories to be told about this.

But if you see as a resource book and a source of inspiration for anyone wanting to create dynamic, innovative, wonderful places to work, then you will find it hard to beat.
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on 24 February 2015
Almost a year ago, I was looking for a book that would provide some sense that we are not the only ones trying to build this sort of open culture. With incredibly luck or serendipity, I stumbled on Reinventing Organizations and read it cover to cover in a very short time. The book is a gold mine of practical ideas and concepts that can be applied to your business. Derived from actual companies rather than theoretical frameworks, it really presents some very solid foundations on which to build an open culture. We have since bought over 20 copies, and most people in the company have read it, and we have applied several key concepts from the book and it is providing us with guidelines for what to try next. It is incredibly that so much value can be derived from just one book. I cannot recommend this book enough, for all founders and culture-builders out there. If you’re trying to create an open company culture, this is worth its weight in gold.
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on 16 October 2015
It's tough to write a leading-edge book. If it is ahead of its time, there will not be all the evidence yet. It is also a hostage to fortune - as we learn more, we may find it is not entirely correct.

If Teal organisations were long-established this book would be pointless. Laloux deserves to be read in the context of where we are. His examples are by and large new and different. The principles he offers are interesting and worthy of exploration. Some my be inspired by the vision of what is possible. Other may look at how far most organisations are from this possible future, how many constraints there are that will prevent change, and how it is unrealistic to even consider it. Reviews sometimes say as much about the reviewers as the book in question.

Laloux makes use of a simplified version of Spiral Dynamics integral as the developmental scaffolding for this book. He does not explain that theory and his presentation is necessarily an over-simplification. To do otherwise would have cluttered the story he is telling. But as one who knows what lies beneath, I encourage readers to trust that there is more here than is being supplied. According to that theory, books like this would be showing up now because our life conditions make it necessary that we find such solutions. It is my belief in the validity of the underlying theory which makes me confident that Laloux will turn out to have got a great deal right, and to have signposted the future with some accuracy. Time will tell.
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on 31 January 2016
I approached this book with a degree of scepticism which, I must say almost won out as I read through Part 1 on “Historical and Developmental Perspective”, which didn’t really resonate with me, but I’m truly glad I persisted.

There are so many concepts and ideas that I would love to see embodied more often, not only in organisations but in life beyond, but some key ones are:
- Working in an environment of trust and mutual respect breeds hard work and responsible behaviour and limits the need for top-down control
- People will perform well if they are engaged with the overall purpose
- Defined and rigid role and organisational structures limit potential – in a self-managing organisation an individual has the opportunity to follow their interests and talents and shape their work accordingly
- We should embrace “wholeness” at work rather than presenting a facade
- Making profit should not be the sole objective but is likely where an organisation performs well, and efficiently. This is made more possible when team members organise themselves and are thoroughly aligned to the purpose of their work
- Our anxieties about the loss of work due to automisation should be reshaped to see the possibilities that freedom from routine tasks can bring. Innovation will bring about the need for new expertise.

So far, so “Pie in the sky” one might think, but what’s so special about this book is that these concepts are demonstrated through practical, living examples. As Laloux himself writes in his final sentences “We are not dealing here with a theoretical model or a utopian idea…”.

It was uncanny how many times I had a niggling question “but how would x work?”, which was then tackled in short order. Indeed, I even began to think about the potential to work across organisational boundaries and then found a small section in the final chapter on just this concept.
Admittedly, there are clearly many challenges for those wishing to implement the concepts of self management – for me the key ones are around financing and external regulatory structures. A widespread change of mindset is required before the type of organisations described are likely to begin to gain significant transaction. However, as Laloux demonstrates, over time there have been huge shifts in the way societies organise themselves and their work. Some pioneering organisations are already successfully following a self managing model, so the seeds are sown. It remains to be seen how, and how quickly they will grow.
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on 7 January 2016
Reinventing Organisations
by Frederic Laloux 360 pages Nelson Parker £14.95 in paperback

This very worthwhile book sets out a new framework for understanding the stages through which organisations have evolved and where they might go next. It describes interesting examples of organisations operating at the leading edge. Laloux backs this up with a supporting developmental philosophy. He spells out why his exemplars are different from the mainstream and how such evolution might be taking humanity towards a more sustainable and healthy way of organising.

There is much useful material and some surprises, especially when compared with the mainstream perspective on organisational change and management development. Of course, development is never as easy as mimicking how someone else gets great results in their specific circumstances. In spite of some critical comments (there are plenty of ‘non-believers’) rather than simplistic quick-fix solutions you will find here much to reflect upon that will stimulate enquiry and experimentation. It will strike a chord with many people in management. Some will react strongly, seeing the ideas it presents as a threat to their world view, whereas many will welcome it as offering hope for a better, more wholesome future.

Particularly telling is his remark “the level of consciousness of an organisation cannot exceed the level of consciousness of its leader”. (Or as we might say in other circumstances, a bunch of losers is unlikely to make a winning team). At Centre for Management Creativity we have consistently worked on changing the level of consciousness of client groups, many of whom were leadership teams in major companies. Unless those with overall responsibility are evolving, they are unable to guide the evolution of people throughout their organisations and hence the organisations cannot evolve.

Although maybe a little long and self-indulgent, the book can be mined for ideas and techniques as well as many colourful stories from real life. It is highly recommended.
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on 2 December 2015
This is a very timely book and one that everybody who works in enterprises in which people need to organise, collaborate and compete really should read. I hesitate to use the word 'should' but as we collectively continue to march into the future blind to (or in denial of) the consequences of our current organisational ways of doing and being, and deaf to the voices of those calling for ways to engage the energy, creativity and good sense of millions of workers, it would be dumb not to at least grapple with sound arguments for change.

Frederic Laloux's book is exceedingly well researched and presented. His arguments cogent and compelling. There is some repetition it is true. But this is actually an important element as few people are likely to read the book cover to cover as I have. More likely they will dip in to it to find what is pertinent to their situation and explore more deeply from there.

The book's contents have been well documented in other reviews on this site so I won't duplicate them. What I do want to mention though is Laloux's powerful use of effective imagery and metaphor to illuminate and reify his meaning. Not only does this make the book very readable and immediate, it also makes the ideas seem very sensible and indeed do-able. Why would we not want to shift from the worn out paradigm of the organisation as a clock to be wound up and set in predictable motion to the paradigm of the organisation as a natural living system engaging the intelligence, creativity and awareness of all those it touches enabling them to deal with real issues as they emerge in real time?
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on 28 April 2015
Having set up an organisation that has tried to do things differently, we were struggling to fit into the healthcare world that we are in. This book given us an understanding of why it is a challenge to be different, but also shown that there is another way of doing things.
The book contains many practical help and ideas, is well written and an intelligent read.
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on 29 March 2015
I think this is landmark book which clearly points the way to a future where organisations can truly be forces for good in the world. I can't heap enough praise on this book. Pay attention to the brave subtitle: "A guide to Creating Organisations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness." I found the book thorough and rigorous and laden with practical illustrations and examples. It presents a credible alternative to our present day, fear driven, measurement and control approaches to running and leading organisations. It manges big picture perspectives and fine detail coverage. It turns on its head most conventional and business school wisdom about how to run successful corporations. If you have lost hope in our organisations, read this and be inspired.
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on 12 February 2015
I found Part 1 so helpful; it shone a bright light on why past projects I've worked on have gone really well and why others didn't.

I like the way the book describes how in practice the breakthroughs of self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose show up in different organisations around the world. The getting started section was also helpful.

I was left wondering what those with power to change an organisation in ways that would harness these breakthroughs, would think about giving their power away to achieve this. I found the framework in Part 1 to be a very useful framework to provoke discussion that helps them decide.

I'm grateful for this book and hope it helps to change how people experience their life at work.
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