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Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come


It's not through technology that we will achieve breakthrough - but by taking the next step in (organizational/ behavioral) evolution

In my last blog "You don't see things as they are, you see them as you are", I promised to share what evolutional level most of today’s organizations are at and what it takes to get to the next level. 

A number of pioneers work with new structures and practises and they deal with complexity in very different ways. They make most of today's organizations look quite outdated.

In developmental theory the idea is that human societies grow in stages of increasing maturity, consciousness and complexity. As you see in the chart below, human collaboration takes different forms of organizational models, different ways of decision making and rewarding systems

Let's start with the predominant perspective of most leaders in business and politics today: The Orange paradigm, as Frederic Laloux describes it in 'Reinventing Organizations'.

Effectiveness replaces morality as the yardstick for decision making: The best decision is the one that gets the highest reward. The goal in an Orange organization is to succeed in socially acceptable ways, and to best play the cards one is dealt.


Further elements to describe this paradigm:

- concept of innovation (R&D, product management, marketing, project teams, cross-functional initiatives)

- accountability: Give people targets to reach, using freedom and rewards to motivate them (management by objectives, budgets, KPIs, yearly evaluations, bonus systems, stock options)

- meritocracy: anyone could rise to any position based on his or her qualifications and skills

The transition to Orange from Amber brought a new prevailing metaphor. A good organization is not a wolf pack or army, but a machine. Corporate leaders adopted engineering terms to describe their work: they designed and re-engineered companies, using inputs/ outputs, information flows, bottlenecks.

In just two centuries, these developments have generated great levels of prosperity, added decades to human life expectancy, and reduced famine and plague in the industrialized world. But as the Orange paradigm grew dominant, it also encouraged short-term thinking, corporate greed, overconsumption, and the reckless exploitation of the planet’s resources and ecosystems. Increasingly, whether we are powerful leaders or low-ranking employees, we feel that this paradigm isn’t sustainable. The heartless and soulless rat race of Orange organizations has us yearning for more.

All organizational paradigms coexist today. As a result we show in a dominant orange paradigm also behaviours such as command and control as well as empowerment and social responsibility in our interactions. 

In my next blogpost you will read how we can open up to the next step of consciousness, deal with higher levels of complexity and experiment with new structures and practises.

Let there be Teal: 21century's most legendary breakthrough

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