From TEAL to THE WEEK with Frederic Laloux

February 24, 2023


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Our guest, Frederic Laloux is the author of the book Reinventing Organizations, which took three years to research. It has not only become a global bestseller but is also considered by many to be the most influential management book of the decade, inspiring countless organizations to adopt radically more soulful and purposeful management practices. This is probably one of the biggest inspirations for the founding of LIVEsciences.

Laloux has said, “There’s something that is transformative about these new management practices that they also fundamentally change the nature of the business itself, and the nature of society…” The book has turned into a movement, with many organizations in many different industries deciding to make the leap to “teal”.

After the phenomenal success of the book, Laloux didn’t rest on his laurels – he launched a series of 130 videos titled, “Insights for the Journey” that builds on the book and focuses on the question, “how can existing, traditionally-run organizations make the leap?”

There’s not much we can say about him that hasn’t been said before, but we will say that we’re all excited to hear about his bold and innovative new project – The Week.

We’re extremely honored to have Frederic Laloux as our very special LIVING ROOM CONVERSATIONS guest, hosted by Timm Urschinger.

Pleasure to have you all joining today’s living room conversation as always we’ll have a bit of an informant chat with somebody we met on the streets basically invited over to our little living room and see if there’s anything interesting emerging from the chat um there’s also as always the opportunity if you drop comments and YouTube and Facebook and whatever we’ll see that um and we’ll weave it into our conversation um so yeah today we have Frederick Lalu joining us some of you probably know Frederick um unfortunately his wife Helen is not here but will anyway talk about Reinventing organizations we’ll talk about the week his new project that has just launched and see what emerges so uh Frederick pleasure to have you here um and welcome on the living room sofa today hey this is fun we’ve been talking about this for a while so it’s fun you know the day has come exactly finally so I kind of waited what like two years two and a half years until you finally you’re ready with the week so I could invite you over here right that’s kind of what it was like exactly it’s really great to have you here next time maybe with Ellen um and and you know just sharing a bit more about the week and and what has you know your journey really been so maybe um most of our viewers I guess know you from Reinventing organizations and and the book that you’ve done a few years back and so I guess maybe the first question is what’s happened since you know what’s what’s the what’s the journey allow I mean you know it’s been an amazing an amazing journey right like I um most people would realize this but like I I you know I wrote this book on my own and I self-published it everybody told me like you shouldn’t self-publish it’s a bad idea and I just knew for some reason that that’s what I needed to do I had absolutely no marketing plan I’m not a you know I’m not a marketer I don’t know um and and I was just lucky that this book you know took off on its own for some reason um and and just you know Word of Mouth took hold of it and um and it’s just been like this amazing adventure I’ve met so many interesting beautiful people through this book so many people who’ve become dear friends um I sometimes sort of say jokingly like if you want to meet the best friends in your life like think about something that is really important to you because you’ll attract people you know who find the same things interesting and important and and yeah so this book you know carried me for for a whole while um came The Illustrated version of the book that some of you might have met like it was sparked when somebody introduced me to hm the illustrator and said like you know you should it was somebody who said like for the French translation you should at the beginning of every chapter just have a little image to make it nicer and you know that didn’t feel very interesting to me and at the same time I heard about some companies where the CEOs basically forced everyone to read my book and I was like I hate that like you know it reminds me of school where you had to like read books that you didn’t want to read right so I figured like maybe I can make like a you know a shorter Illustrated version of of the book and and and creatively that was like really fun to do and atien became a dear friend so this was like just an amazing uh fun little thing to do um maybe one thing I want to mention about this for those of you who’ve illustrated book um one thing that pretty one no one noticed but I’m really proud about that book is that it’s sort of this really weird thing which is not a you know it’s it’s not an illustrated book not just text with a few images it’s not a comic book right it’s this weird constantly flows from like text with some illustration to some icons to like a full page Frisk to like a little comic strip and you know I’d never seen anything like this and we would at the end we just had this idea of every time for every single thing that we share we want to think what is the best way to say it is it an image is it text is it a comic book and can we make something that flows and it seems to work so naturally that nobody has noticed it so I I most love it and I’m frustrated like nobody says like hey this is like you know so it’s this object and it was really fun to do so that was you know that was fun to do um at the same time I moved from my native Belgium from Brussels to this Eco village where I live in Upstate New York it’s kind of far from everywhere it’s four hours from from New York City um and I moved with my kids and my wife here and and it’s been amazing and and then came the video series which I’ve been so bad at marketing that few people even know about it um so it’s called you know insights for the journey where I basically figured like I had all these conversations with people who’s started you know changing their traditional organization and came to me and I realized like there were lots of cool things that they had thought about that I hadn’t thought about but also lots of misunderstandings or going down the wrong you know making the same mistakes um and and so I I didn’t have the courage to write a book at the time and so I figured like let me just put a camera in front of myself and make short videos and with every time with one learning that I had from these conversations and it turned into this series of 130 videos um and so yeah if you haven’t checked it out you know I think it’s still good and relevant so it’s called insights for the for the journey so basically Reinventing organizations carried me for um for a few years and and felt really really meaningful um until yeah that you know the week came up and and sort of a whole new adventure started and I felt like it was time to to close that chapter for me I mean the book is still doing really well and you know I just signed a contract to translate into Iranian and you know so the book is still doing like you know interesting things around the world um but for the last few years I’ve been really focusing on the weekend nice by the way Frederick I don’t know if you know that when we when we co-founded uh life sciences me and the other two guys I actually made them read the book as well so it was it was it was not like we had a hierarchy or anything of course but I was like read this book and then you know we talk about that so I was I was one of these bad guys who made others read it like in school I guess yeah yeah good than that um so I think the video series indeed was was really great you know the 130 videos so what you see below here is also that video is linked there so since Frederick’s bad at marketing and we got a good team behind the scenes who’s actually good at marketing Mary put the link here exactly and then maybe somebody will have a look at it um I I do use it for all sorts of you know leaders especially the first part I do like you know the few videos on what does it mean as a leader you know embarking on that Journey because obviously everyone’s like of course we want Innovation and motivated people and empowerment and whatnot but nobody really recognizes what the Traders are right so as I think it’s actually really nice videos that you did there yeah I you know sometimes when I speak with like senior leaders and they seem to be on the cusp of like wanting to try something you know new they feel like attracted to it but they’re also not so sure right I I I asked them I said you know like how many years have you got left in corporate life how old they are you know they might have 10 12 15 years something and then I I often ask them to transform my company I need to like work on myself rather than seeing it as like just this great adventure of like you know I have 10 12 years left I can’t do them in a traditional way we all know what that one looks like we all know that at the end of it I will be pretty exhausted I will be like okay yeah it was good you know or you can just decide like wow you know we’ll we’ll try you know a whole different management style and different management approach and it will turn me into probably a different perception because in in the little Community you know uh that’s there’s this conversation like has covet had or accelerated some of that you know recognition that there’s something else needed that there’s a different way of running organizations might be needed that there’s a different kind of leadership needed so is is there anything that you’ve seen in the past you know three years that that’s been changing um I mean to be honest in the last two years I I’ve been focusing more on the we’re all currently quarantining with covet so my children are up here as well so we might get some interruptions too it’s really bad I hope they feel better soon and there’s there’s one question because obviously on on LinkedIn you know we I I posted that we’ll have this conversation and and there was a few people commenting how happy they are but it was actually a really good question as well which was you know in the light of covert also just you know in the last you know seven eight years after the everyone I think in 20 somethings uh living room conversation episode Peter was here on that sofa as well so we talked about the sauce and actually an interesting topic because um we we had the conversation as well you know there’s three co-founders of of Life Sciences so and Peter’s pretty pretty uh kind of uh there’s one source right and not three sources kind of story so it’s actually an interesting conversation around that yep I mean maybe very quickly for those of you who know the story side because I think it’s it’s who you are what your business is but I would totally trust you um to discern you know into what that is because it could be so many different things right maybe what you’re fundamentally meant to question is you know your business model of like you know what we’re part of normal destructive economy and you know we need to completely shift this thing maybe that’s that’s your thing you know maybe your thing is to just completely change the inner culture of the organization and just meet each other as you know as these magnificent can recycle a little bit more I don’t know yeah he gave himself a crazy objective which was he said like the only business that was worthwhile for him doing was a business that would take nothing from the earth that isn’t renewable right and that in the process would do nothing that would harm the Living World of biosphere and what was then even more impressive for me is that he talked about this with his management team and he made his management team deeply uncomfortable they’re all like they didn’t even know like how do you and so we were so inspired by these friends who were willing to be uncomfortable and really find out that my wife and I said okay you know what we’re let’s stop with pushing the bad news away and let’s actually really find out what’s going to happen to us in the next 10 20 30 years what’s going to happen to our children what’s going to happen to everyone we we love endless accept whatever emotions show up you know we imagine that there might be whatever fear anger sadness whatever despair shock you know feeling use to address crisis she doesn’t talk about climate she does she talks about like AIDS and teen pregnancy and and team smoking and like all of these we’ve used a Playbook which is give people the facts and they will wake up and act right and this Playbook doesn’t work has never worked well right and it’s still the Playbook that we use because for those people who really grappled with this they go like it’s so obvious if I just tell people then they will wake up and they will act except that that’s not sports club or a new church or whatever is your you know social groups that you belong to so you don’t do it alone you get together three times during a week and every time we create an experience for you where you watch a one hour episode of a documentary um and then you have a 30-minute conversation or 45 minute conversation that we set up for you sort of guided conversation um and the three episodes you know we’ve written these films sort of to lead you very beautifully very lovingly very precisely through this new people who have had the courage to go through their own New Journey and it came out of it um with their life actually much richer richer in in meaning and clarity about what was important in having found a group that does really interesting stuff and feeling like you know I’m doing my part and you know I’m part of a bigger movement that’s doing their part and so people come out of episode three generally like super fired up super right um and one of the things that we hear most often is people say like you know you know what are the deeper assumptions behind it and and what came up were often really ugly assumptions right which is like workers are thieves that why we lock up you know you know the the room with the spare parts and you know that’s why we have you know five signatures to do anything right um or whatever only people with an engineering degree are allowed to do this or that or like there’s so many assumptions right and they found that for people to really Embrace sort of teal forms of you needed to go to that level of we’re seeing we talk about the week in different contexts we talk about the week and the week at home the week at work the week at campus for universities do we get Faith for face-based groups and and we’re seeing um really a lot of interest with the week at work we’re seeing you know some organizations that are rolling it out to everyone inside the organizations because these deep conversations I mean for what and they really create team building in a deeper way because there’s these but it it helps organizations to suddenly have everybody be at a whole different level when it comes to you know their transformation in terms of sustainability and and the environment um and and so yeah if you if you live you know if you live inside an organization you know feel free to take it test it and we’ve seen different models we’ve seen models where it sort of spreads grass roots of the organizations we’ve had organizations where it’s the CEO or the head of sustainability that rolls it out or the head of internal training that sort of makes it a formal program um and and we also welcome any coaches Consultants trainers who want to use the week um and you can just yeah basically make it part of your offering uh the group’s sort of self-facilitate but then beyond that you know groups often decide okay let’s meet a fourth time to decide where do how does this link to the broader sustainability agenda of the organization so you know feel free to include it as part of your offering if you want to absolutely and and you can save thousands of dollars walking over coal and whatever kind of stupid things right and you have much rather better team building by the week so this is definitely something you know um before I go to one last question there’s you know there’s the advertising block that I have to do as well so there’s there’s another living room conversation coming up next week with Keith who is the creator of liberating structures so some of your liberating structures an incredibly interesting conversation as well I’m sure um and then you know they’re still around the world coming up obviously in two weeks March two and three so Frederick will be back on stage certainly talking more about the week and also the very interesting things and then there’s 50 more storytellers so you shouldn’t miss that one for sure um and by the way besides the storytellers there’s an incredibly amazing community that you can use this is a similar idea to the week just bringing people together who are like mine and want to make a difference and then after that the week after so in three weeks there’s Nikola um who is sharing a story from you know how to create a movement in a big scientific Pharma organization and really make a difference as also Devin I can I can definitely recommend um and with that Frederick we’ll I will have you again in two weeks obviously until around the world which is exciting um but maybe for for today you know as a closing question I was like and I’m pretty sure that you don’t like that question from what I know so far but anyway I’ll ask it which is you know what’s your what’s your wish for the audience what you would wish us or the world to do after this conversation I think I will just repeat what came up for me with from um which is uh you know if we’re not bound by by some limiting belief of who we are or some fear that we should have all the other you know what is life really calling us to do right each one of us you know I think that most of us have a sense um that there might be a bigger Adventure out there than what I get to live right now right I think quite a lot of us feel sometimes a little bit cheated in terms of like you know wasn’t there supposed to be more I think a lot of us have that sense I’ve certainly have that sense you know many times throughout my life um and then I was lucky at times to have like well no now I don’t have that sense like I feel like you know this is what I was really meant to do um and and so if you have that my invitation would be you know listen to it even if it’s a little uncomfortable and and you know what what would be a really bigger meaningful Adventure uh for you and um and try to follow it even if you don’t know where it will lead you or if you don’t have all the answers nice thank you for that Frederick I think that’s a that’s the best closing we could get there’s also a ton of interesting comments in the chats where I was watching maybe you have a look at the comments as well there’s really good conversation and really good suggestions so for today uh that’s it thanks a lot Frederick for taking the time uh pleasure as always um thank you everyone for joining we’re looking forward to the next living room conversations to deal around the world and uh unfortunately we have to close it for today so thanks very much thank you thank you for everything you do