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  • Dean Williamson

What colour organisation do you have?

Updated: May 22, 2019

There are lots of ways of looking at organisations. I've been trained and accredited in several organisational tools over the years, but found many of them limited in their dimensions - they never really felt like they got the 'whole' of an organisation - they just chose some random bits to try and assess in fairly interchangeable ways.

One of our values to our Human Systems Co. clients is our systems thinking - seeing the whole picture. I think that anything that unnecessarily oversimplifies the complexities of the world can be downright ineffective. I see lots of money wasted on consultants providing overly simplistic solutions to inherently complex problems.

We believe fundamentally in Integral Theory and some downstream work by Frederic Laloux called Reinventing Organisations. Its central premise is that our organisational models have developed over time to suit our needs, and as we move from stage-to-stage of our evolution, our organisational models change to suit these general stages. Laloux notes shifts from dominating hierarchies (think Game of Thrones - the strongest, most ruthless, most feared survive) to much larger hierarchies which can span continents through rigid structure and bureaucracy (think the Catholic church), through achievement-oriented organisations with devolved leadership.

Colours are used to describe the stages of development - red being the impulsive end, progressing through amber and orange to green and teal. Each of the stages has conditions in which it has strengths and thrives, and conditions in which it casts shadows or is unsuited.

The piece that drew me to explore the book was an assessment map that has been developed by Szabolcs Emich and Karoly Molnar via Circle 43.  Initially I found the scale and complexity of the map almost overwhelming. However, as I went on in my coaching practice, I found myself associating more and more organisational behaviour with the stages of red through teal.

At Human Systems Co., we undertake organisational exploration and audits using the Map. Regardless of the colour of your organisation, the 20 lines of development are extremely helpful for setting out goals for any organisation.

Send us a message if you'd like to talk any of the above through? We love talking organisational dynamics!

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