Reinventing Organisations

Author: Frederic Laloux

In his book ‘Reinventing Organisations’, the author seems to kick against holy houses. ‘Why do not we need this vertical structure?’, ‘Why, we can trust the employees in the workplace?’, ‘Why, the first value is not the maximization of profit for the stakeholders?’, ‘Why a machine worker can do a quality check within the perimeters of the customer? “,” Why, budgets should be discussed in team? “,” Why, the employees can learn from each other? “,” Why, we do not need a zilion hierarchical layers of control for efficiency gains, on the contrary? “,” How does the power belong to the employees? “,” Why, the employees can be smart, think problem-solving, spontaneously work overtime to get a piece of the job done, consult each other and feel involved in the work ? “,” Why, the latest generation of young people communicate differently, and how this can be accommodated with a horizontal organizational structure? “,” How the communication is many – to – many and not more one – on – one, and how, can Facebook – like communication within an organization help? “.

These are some of the first objections that are raised in this revolutionary book. This work is divided into three parts. In a first part, the author first discusses a history of organizational structures, from red to amber, orange, to green and finally cyan (turquoise). The author shows how this was appropriate for the zeitgeist and does not always have to be inappropriate in later periods. Some organizations are simply made to be hierarchical. In the army there must be discipline. In times of crisis, there must be a crisis management structure. It is not for me to say that the latter must always be hierarchically orange or amber or red, but may evolve into green or cyan. What these colors mean, for that I refer to the book, which goes deeper into it.

In a second part, the author delves deeper into structures, practices and cultures of cyan organizations. In doing so, the author goes deeper into all layers of the organization, not just processes, machines and projects, but also people and cultures. Very important here is the search for wholeness and the team structures, extensively illustrated by the organization ‘Buurtzorg’ in the Netherlands. Such types of teamwork are more attuned to the communication habits of youth, who are our future, who communicate many – to – many on the internet, and who for the most part no longer feel at home in a vertically structured hierarchical organization.

As proof of this, and for the fact that it works, the author quotes a series of organizations and their ‘personal’ stories about how they fared, how they performed well in the last decades, and even in the depths of the global crisis periods.

In a final part, the author talks about necessary and sufficient conditions for working a cyan organization, as well as addressing the setting up of a new or transforming an existing organization into a cyan organization.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields. Since 2012, he has been working at the Crisis Centre of the Flemish Government (CCVO), where he has progressed in BCM, risk management, and crisis management. Since August 2021, he has been a knowledge worker for the CCVO. As of January 2024, he works at the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of the Flemish Government. Here, he combines BCM, risk management, and crisis management to create a tailored form of resilience management to meet the needs of the Flemish Government.

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