For the EVOLution of Business

Self-Managed Teams That Scale Culture and Maximize People with Bruce Peters of Beyond Teal

Episode Summary

Bruce Peters has spent the last 15 years living and helping create organizations that have a strong sense of purpose, want to achieve self-leadership, and can quickly adapt and respond to the surrounding environment – in a word, TEAL. He has designed a unique process for getting ‘beyond’ where you and your business are, into the creation of what’s next. It starts with the question of ‘what is the difference you want to make?’ When Frederic Laloux began research for what became the groundbreaking book "Reinventing Organizations," he wondered: “Can we create organizations free of the pathologies that show up all too often in the workplace? Free of politics, bureaucracy, and infighting: free of stress and burnout: free of resignation, resentment and apathy; free of the posturing at the top and the drudgery at the bottom?” Bruce combines Laloux's research with his own experience for a unique approach to the EVOLution of teal organizations at his company Beyond Teal.

Episode Notes

[1:45] What is teal?

[4:00] Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations

[6:45] Jerry Harvey's Abilene Paradox: "Organizations frequently take actions contrary to the desires of any of its members and defeat the purposes they’re designed to achieve."
See Bruce's blog on the Abilene Paradox here:

[8:50] Changing the business name from CEOhq to "Beyond Teal" - When he asked Frederic if he was infringing on copyrights, Frederic's response was "I'm more interested in making a difference and making a movement than I am in trying to own anything."

[13:00] The three principles of teal
1 - Evolutionary Purpose - beyond profits
2 - Wholeness - "How do we maximize individuals in the context of how we work and play together?" Integrating individual and organizational purpose
3 - Self-Management / Self-Leadership / Self-Organization

[15:00] The challenges of helping leaders to EVOLve from traditional hierarchical organizations toward teal - "Even the people that agree with the change will resist it"

[18:00] How Bruce started bringing Frederic LaLoux's research to life in his client companies.
Learn more about holacracy here:

[22:00] Identify what is going right and figure out how to get more of that - Experience at Optimax - Hiring great people and getting the hierarchy out of the way
-"Where is the value being created?"
-"What is in the way of you doing more of that
-"Where are you making mistakes? How can we catch those mistakes earlier?"

[25:45] Forbes feature article on Optimax:
“We’re getting better and better through continuous improvement to minimize future risk. This system gets us there,” Optimax CEO Rick Plympton said. “Over the past 15 years, we’ve worked with a consultant, Bruce Peters, who uses a modified version of Teal management principles. Since we started, our revenue has risen from $3 million to $40 million.”

[30:00] How self-management can help you scale your culture and maximize your people...and the difficulties for leaders in letting go of control

[32:15] Assessing adult levels of development - The benefits and potential drawbacks

[35:00] How Bruce works to EVOLve leaders toward a teal mindset - "In this day and age, with the speed of change...the organizations that are going to survive and flourish in the future are going to be the organizations that are functioning in this self-organized way."

Charles Darwin "It's not the strongest or the smartest that survive, it's the most adaptable"

[40:30] Buurtzorg - 100 nurses to 13,000 in 11 years - everything is done in "circles" of 12 - corporate headquarters is less than 30 people (and can't tell a "circle" what to do)

[42:30] People in teal companies have lower stress levels because people feel like they have autonomy in their lives

[43:30] How Bruce measures success in his clients - living wages and increasing the amount of time employees are spending aligned with their higher purpose

[46:00] The difference between good stress and bad stress
(The book "The Upside of Stress" that I mentioned is by Kelly McGonigal)

[47:15] "We are leaving so much on the table as a society. We are leaving so much human potential on the table. We have to stop calling it 'anti-poverty' programs. It has to be 'unlocking potential' programs. What we're doing as a society is taking 15-20% of our society and their potential is not counting, we're not adding it to the sum....What a disservice to them and a disservice to our society and to the rest of us."

[48:30] "The business that do teal are providing a model for the rest of us, and hopefully the people that are doing that can take back into their schools and other places in society."

Read "The Future of Management is Teal" by Frederic Laloux for an introduction into the framework:
...or pick up his book "Reinventing Organizations" for a more in-depth overview and several case studies

Learn more about Bruce and take a teal readiness assesment at