I’m returning to our shared interest in Teal, and how that ties in with Dadamac’s Big Vision, as described in Practical 21st Century “Big Vision” and #Dadamac.
I’m going to explore a few aspects of Teal organisations that seem particularly aligned with Dadamac, either as it is now or how it will become as it expands and reaches its critical mass.
Front line decision making is very Dadamac
One important characteristic of Teal organisations is that the people at the front line make their own decisions. The Dadamac Big Vision brings together creative, self-starting change-makers who are working independently of each other, on community issues, in different locations.
The current, initial Dadamac change-makers are people who are Working (for no pay) with organisations they have founded or co-founded. (NB – I sometimes use the convention of typing “Work” with a capital letter to signify Work people are doing in a way that is unpaid because they are passionate about it, not as their paid work.)
Dadamac change-makers are finding that it is beneficial to have the connections and additional visibility and support that they have through Dadamac. These change-makers are highly creative problem solvers, totally front-line, totally focussed on making the best decisions they can.
Over time we can expect to connect with more people who are in relevant roles in change-making organisations. These people may not all be founders. They may even be properly paid instead of Working sacrificially. Whoever they are, they will be front-line, independent decision makers.
The point I am making here is that the current Dadamac change-makers and their organisations are only connected with each other through their shared connection with Dadamac. They didn’t come to Dadamac first, and then become change-makers. They are very independent, and they make their own decisions.
Bringing a greater number of such independent front-line people together within Dadamac both as co-creators and as beneficiaries of the Big Vision “information commons” could be thought of as Extreme Teal.
Note, Dadamac bring together key people, not their entire organisations. It’s not a take-over. It’s a collaboration that brings new benefits to the people in leadership positions in their organisations and hence it benefits their organisations and the people they serve. Organisations we work with my have flat or hierarchical organisational structures.
A flat structure fits our local and global reality
Another important Teal characteristic is the lack of supervisory and management roles. There is a flat structure.
As I understand it, a Teal organisation has its purpose (which originates with the founders and continues to evolve) and there are people working together to achieve the purpose. This fits comfortably with the way Dadamac is evolving. Dadamac has a vision, which has emerged through years of working on a small scale. Its vision and purpose continue to evolve through the overlapping visions and purposes emerging amongst the founders and the people subsequently involved.
The idea of a flat organisational structure fits well with Dadamac because of the way that it is both local and global, with nothing in between. Traditional organisations tend to be geographically defined. As they grow they expand from local, to regional, to national, to international, to global. Dadamac is simply local and global. People I connect with in my Dadamac Work are connected with specific local places or projects. The Dadamac Change-makers are currently in the UK and in locations in sub-Saharan English-speaking Africa, and we connect with people in many other parts of the world regarding ideas and sharing information.
We don’t Work across any whole country in which we are active, but neither are we constrained by the physical boundary of any country in which we are active, and we are scattered around the globe. We also do our Work in the context of global policies, ideas, and organisational change. That is what I mean by local and global.
Thriving in a rapidly changing world
One of the benefits of Teal organisations is their ability to respond quickly to changing situations.
I’m attracted to organisational structures and processes that are fluid, responsive to change and able to be proactive. This ties in with my interest in systemic change, the Internet and what it means to the way that information flows and what that, in turn, means to how people connect, interact and develop new ways of doing things together.
These are ideas I’ve explored elsewhere including:
- Time Travellers All (on Dadamac Connect)
- The Invisible Revolution (in “Despatches from the Invisible Revolution”)
Dadamac is an emerging organisation that could not have come into being before the existence of the Internet. Its future shape will emerge through the online platforms we use and the resultant information flows.
My understanding of Teal organisations, along with my experience of UK-Africa collaboration and Dadamac, leads me to believe that our emerging future will have many more Teal organisations and Dadamac will be one of them.