Ian Martin is a 63-year old staffing company and their dream is to see a world where more people are engaged in meaningful work, leading to a better, healthier, and more prosperous society for all, and Edwin and Luz have been working to make this happen.
Living Room Conversations: Luz Iglesias and Edwin Jansen
Heike = Heike Bauer-Brösamle (Host)
Luz = Luz Iglesias (Guest)
Edwin = Edwin Jansen (Guest)
HEIKE: Welcome everybody Heike Bauer-Brösamle and I’m happy to welcome you on our 23rd episode of our Living Room Conversation. We believe that conversations fuel ideas give us all different inspirations and new dimensions in our thinking and actually it just can be place of resonance and connection. And this is what we try to achieve offering this format to you, just giving you these exchange possibilities these conversations to focus on future of work and new ways of working. That is the broad domain we want to explore together. So thanks everyone for joining us today via LinkedIn Facebook or Youtube live and for those who have been with us already in previous conversations, welcome back.
And for those who have not been with us yet I give you a short heads up how this will go. This is meant to be an interactive conversation so please feel free or better feel encouraged and to express your interest and your curiosity and your ideas on the topic but raising a lot of questions and actively using the chats and helping us to make it as well as an engaging exchange on the topic other than being this an interactive event it’s also supposed to be cozy so in a moment you will see me on a sofa sitting in my cozy little Living Room and our guests will join me there going forward so without further ado I’m excited to introduce you to the first of our today’s guest that’s Luz Iglesias director of recruitment of race Ian Martin Group but she is wearing actually three heads the role of the recruiting coordinator the change manager and the organizational designer so welcome Luz and glad having you here with us and maybe you can just give you as a short introduction on your person.
LUZ: Yes thank you Heike. My name is Luz Iglesias. I’ve been at Raise Ian Martin for 10 years this July and like you said I’ve worn a few different hats in those 10 years. I’ve done entrepreneurial work, I’ve done recruitment coordination Raise Ian Martin is a recruiting staffing company and I’ve been a big part of the team that did the Teal or self-organization transformation and I’m joining I’m I live in Canada Raise Ian Martin is headquartered in Canada but I’m joining today from Cancun Mexico. I’m looking out over the sea right now. It’s beautiful and I’m here at a conference of self-organized companies from all around the Americas, Latin America primarily so feeling very inspired and excited to talk about Teal and self-organization
HEIKE: Thank you and welcome here again Luz.
LUZ: Thank you.
HEIKE: and our second guest is Edwin. Edwin Jansen. he is a colleague of Luz he’s from the same company and he is leading the corporate development of the company so maybe Edwin it would be great if you share also a few words with us who you are what you’re passionate about and what you’re up to.
EDWIN: Well first of all I have to admit I’m totally triggered that I was not invited to go to Cancun
with Luz although-
LUZ: Practice your Spanish. [Laughter]
EDWIN: Yeah so based up for before I could say that I think you’ve probably been saying that a lot there in Cancun but Luz and I actually started on the same day almost 10 years ago and we were together we initiated the Teal transformation I think starting about seven years ago at our company and we started it in the business unit that we were working in at the time called Fitzy which had about eight or ten people and then it worked so well it just spread and spread and spread and our company now has 400 employees across you know, North America as well as India Ghana, Philippines and I think now Peru as well so we’re really excited to talk about our Teal transformation and all of the of the value and joy that it’s brought us as far as my job is concerned I work in corporate development which is just a fancy way of saying that I work in the future. I work on future businesses and strategy for the company but yeah let’s have some fun today and I’m not in my Living Room, I’m in my basement Luz’s in Cancun but I think we can make it work.
HEIKE: Yeah that’s why we offer our Living Room for all of us to have a seat on the sofa and have it nice and cozy together. I’m curious to know to know more about it you both said you kicked off this transformation in your company so I’m assuming taking it from there that you have been in the let’s say traditional management role before. So why what was it that made you kick off and starting this transformational journey? And yeah going on this
adventure journey I would say not knowing how this will end up and lead us to so maybe Luz you want to share some of your yeah- ideas, experiences that brought you there, kicking it off?
LUZ: Yes, yeah! I’d love to so like Edwin said at the time we were working in a startup a smaller business unit inside of the parent company and someone lent us Frederic Laloux’s book reinventing organizations or recommended we read it and Edwin’s always the driving force in
the team ‘hey guys let’s read this together!’ so we did all of us that were working there at the time went away read the book and then came back together to discuss it and to decide whether
there was anything in that book that we wanted to implement for ourselves. And for me and I think for others on the team at the time the experience of reading the book was like I knew there you know, I knew there had to be something like this I’ve just never seen it laid out before. I’ve never seen it described. I didn’t know it was a thing so it was a really it was about profound experience of hearing somebody describe hearing Frederic Laloux describe what we were all longing for more human wor, more meaningful, joyful work, more adult to adult relationships at work and so then we started okay well let’s start by giving up positional authority those
of us that have it. At the time Edwin was say the head of sales and marketing and strategy and I was the head of operations and recruiting and client service. So we gave up positional authority and started making up practices to replace what had been more traditional structures. And probably the process of making up practices took us about you know, six months and it was rocky we had to try different things but after about six months we had enough you know, it wasn’t it wasn’t perfect it isn’t perfect now seven years later but we had enough to say we were a self-organized team and we grew and grew and grew from there. And years later our owner Tim Massen asked whether we thought it was the time was right to introduce those practices to the rest of the company and we did and so now the entire organization is using self-management practices.
HEIKE: And I just listen to you it sounds so easy and it’s smooth and you said like we all would-
LUZ: Yeah you just do it! [Laughter]
HEIKE: Just do it it was like oh we’re passionate about it but Edwin I just have a question was this really the case? So everybody was really passionate about it and like embracing it this let’s say bold step to giving away the the heads of this terror or were there any concerns or fears you had to tackle? To step into this new world?
EDWIN: I had a very similar experience as Luz. So I had tried everything to be the best manager I could be for 10 years. And then I read this book and I realized I that the paradigm I was working in was the problem, not the practices. And so I fully believed in the Teal paradigm you know, that people are resourceful and creative and smart and dedicated and you don’t need to manage them to get the best of the people you need to support and encourage you know, maybe coach and help them right? And get out of their way. And so it was not difficult for me it was not difficult for Luz because we both wanted it and we both believed in it and yeah sure it’s hard you know, we would often say like the first time we create you know, our compensation practice or our feedback practice or our role advice practice it kind of sucks you know, like and then it gets better and then you know, oh this we should change this we should make this better and then it just gets better so that wasn’t hard that was fun.
But where it got hard is when people who didn’t necessarily believe in the paradigm shift or weren’t emotionally bought into the idea that they are not responsible for other people or a whole department of people. And then those people needing to work within the practices without that kind of heart shift, that mindset shift. That’s where it’s hard. It’s hard for them and it’s hard for the people that they work with. So yeah it wasn’t hard for us but we were because we were already there but I think it gets harder as you try to as you try to scale this and you don’t tackle the kind of core beliefs behind you know, Orange and Green versus the core beliefs behind Teal.
HEIKE: A provocative question, what you’re saying like going the self-organized ways of working is only a way to work for a certain kind of people or is it limited to any let’s say characteristics or any cultural background you have to bring with or is it well it’s something anybody everybody can grow into and evolve- yeah could be something or is it- is there a limitation to it from your point of view? Luz is already nodding seems like you want to say something.
LUZ: I think it’s a question we’ve you know, turned over and over for seven years and
i think at the end of the day it’s what Edwin said if you want to do it you can you can learn the practices themselves are not that hard you know, you can grow yes you’re going to experience
pain and difficult situations and conflicts and tensions but if you’re like okay great I want to learn from that I want to become a better version of me you’ll stick with it and if you fundamentally don’t no amount of training or you know, fancy practices or podcasts or sessions or it’s it doesn’t matter so for me that’s where I’ve landed is that the only thing that matters is whether you want to do it if you, do you’ll succeed if you don’t you won’t. And I don’t I mean I’m living this week an example of how it doesn’t matter what culture you’re from what industry you’re from I’m here
with there are nine companies- nine self-organized companies represented at this conference at this gathering in nine different industries, in different countries, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different everything, and they’re all working we’re all working this way
so I don’t think it’s a matter of culture or industry or size of the organization it’s about the willingness of the individual person.
EDWIN: Yeah I would totally agree with that I would just add to it what I have noticed is that it’s the beliefs about people and working that that’s like Teal is not a fit for people that believe that people need to be me in order to get the most out of people they need to be managed right for people that believe that humans are complicated knowable compensation systems if we could just get the exact perfect compensation system people are coin operated they will produce the best outcome right? And so like but I’ve seen people’s beliefs change as well so someone could have you know, set A beliefs and then you know, we encourage them to try it a different way and then they see it and then it tries and it works so much better and then they the belief behind what they were doing before changes right? So I agree with Luz anyone can do this but what is it that you believe about people and how to best work together? And I’ll give you an example
right now I’m facilitating a challenge between two groups in our company. And the one group is saying you guys made a big mistake and here’s all the evidence of how why this was a mistake and you should change that decision because look that was a that was a mistake. You did
that wrong right? And they and they’re really angry and really like you know, pointing and blaming and saying like you’re not accountable and we need to hold you accountable and like when are you going to do this and this is how you need to do it and I’m furious right? And then the other group is like of course they’re in defense mode and they’re like oh my god oh my god how do I right and they’re paralyzed with with fear and so what’s actually the root cause
problem here we’re not causing cancer like you know, we’re in recruiting it’s like it’s we’re talking about a process decision.
The actual problem is when you come at someone with that like fear begets fear right so how do we help people to work together? We’re on the same side we’re on the same team we have the same goals here’s my experience that you don’t haven’t seen and I think if you were to see it that would be good information for you to design this process in a different or better way. How could I help and support you to do that? Right so if you present it like that then it’s an invitation let’s work together let’s solve this awesome we can do this but if you come at people with the pain you’re you’re just gonna make it worse right? But so how do we practice so I can say to someone what do you believe about people and they would say I believe this and that but then the way they’re coming at them shows that they believe the way to get someone to do something is more through force than through love right?
HEIKE: Yeah and this also fits into what I experienced that a lot of people get excited and think oh this is this is a great going self-organized ways and working and this as a leader will give me a liberation of all these burdens I have on my shoulder and the next sentence that they often say like but it doesn’t work with other people and I mean this is exactly what you are you what you are more or less referring to so yeah the in this case I mean as long as they have the power the leader have to really go into this somehow mindset shift and have a different view on their people that they are capable of.
EDWIN: If you believe it’s not going to work with our people you are absolutely right you’re totally right! [Laughter]
HEIKE: But it might be not with our people it might be a little bit because of you and your mindset; so-
EDWIN: No, entirely because of you. Yeah, entirely because of you.
HEIKE: In German we say-
LUZ: -And we both- oh sorry! Go ahead.
HEIKE: No, go ahead, go ahead.
LUZ: I want to know. I want to know ‘in German we say…’
HEIKE: In Germany we said the fish stings from the head so this is the expression this is sometimes it gets true in this one you just said like building the bridge or making it easy for the people to yeah to work towards this set organization working are there any let’s say roadmap sounds so like straightforward. Are there any experience you can share with us how it is easy to- or easy it’s not easy but a good way to step into this to move forward?
LUZ: I think from the beginning letting people develop the practices or experiment with the ways of working that are meaningful to them. So don’t come in with a roadmap and say okay this is the right way to do self-organization we have to start by organizing roles or making circles or
chartering teams or start by asking the team like okay what’s our biggest tension or what problems and opportunities are we experiencing what do we want to do about them so that from the very beginning, you’re modeling that whatever we face we’ll just figure it out together. And like Edwin said earlier our entire system we grew that way we never used sociocracy or holacracy or any software or any consultants that came in and told us do it like this we just every time we faced a problem we invented some solution and every time that solution wasn’t good enough we improved it and we’re still in that process seven years later like our we call it our Teal operating system it’s not done it’s constantly evolving to meet the needs of the of the real human beings and the real business and the real market factors that exist in the present so there’s not there’s not one way just to start with what your team needs.
HEIKE: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, this probably is the hardest thing to find out in the first place what is really needed at the moment and but you said like and I think this will be an endless journey to I mean this system will never be finished and this journey will never be over. But
i mean you said like you set up a system in a way so what is key about this operating system you know, in a sense that’s saying okay, these are like key elements or yeah practices we implement so we can call us a self-organized company what what you say like- what it would be a sign to saying like okay now we’ve come a good pop-up way so now we tackled it and moved away from the old paradigm and yeah we can now color them let’s say to your company, Edwin?
EDWIN: So I was just looking at the comments. It looks like we’ve got some questions there if you want to look at that but yeah-
LUZ: I want this one! [Laughter]
EDWIN: [Laughter] Okay oh you go, you go yeah.
LUZ: I’m interested in what everyone has to say too but in the Brave New Work podcast that’s hosted by Aaron Dignan and I forget Rodney’s last name-
EDWIN: Rodney Evans.
LUZ: Evans. She said in an episode I heard recently that if your idea of who is right hasn’t changed it’s not self-organization or self-management. And I thought like that’s it she’s she’s got it if your idea of who is right in the organization the right answer the right solution the right whatever if it hasn’t changed call yourself self-organized you haven’t got it yet. And we both personally went through that and you know, are happy to tell our embarrassing stories of how at the beginning of self-organization we just it was just a different set of tools to get what we wanted you know, we had to go through the painful personal process of realizing that we were just using a different set of forceful tools to get what we wanted. But now it’s not that way now it’s like well sometimes I get what I want sometimes I don’t sometimes I don’t even know what I want sometimes like you get to the point where you don’t even know where the ideas are coming from because it’s so collaborative, it’s so integrated. So that for me like we could talk about the specific practices but if your definition of who is right in your organization hasn’t evolved keep going. Like you’re not you’re not close.
EDWIN: Yeah. I would add to that. I wrote an article a few years ago about something that I’ve noticed, which is how Teal gets adopted by people in the organization and I call it the transition between a head, heart and habit. So you know, really you shouldn’t come and work at our company until you understand intellectually the paradigm shift of Teal and how the practices work and that you think it sounds better and that you want to try it so that’s the head stage. Really is just grasping that this is a completely different way of working it’s a completely different paradigm then there is the messy middle that everyone has to go through, myself included like lou said in somewhat embarrassing ways and that’s the heart phase. That’s the emotional face where you get some kind of tough feedback, Luz gave me some feedback that had me questioning my entire like value as a business professional and how I operated. Or you’re in some kind of a conflict like this one that you know, that I’m facilitating right where you think
you’re right or someone thinks you’re bad at something right? Or there’s some kind of like really- and you’re emotionally triggered and when we get emotionally triggered it’s fight, flight or flee right? And what that usually looks like is it’s everyone else but me because I want to protect
myself it can’t be me it shouldn’t be me right but then everybody hopefully gets around I like to say personal development is a team sport at our company. Everyone gets around this is
what happened with me Luz gave me some you know, really tough feedback basically said that you know, in certain meetings I was like way too pushy and dictatorial and like trying to railroad everyone into my way of thinking right? And then everyone gets around and says like yeah that’s true Edwin, you do that. But not all the time and we love you and we think you can
change and if you change it’ll be better for you and for everyone like you don’t to get all crazy about it. Like yeah you did that in these three meetings and it would have been better if you didn’t. [Laughter]
Like that’s it there’s not some conspiracy, you’re not a bad person, this is- we’re doing this because we care about you we believe in you right? But the problem is that for me that was a really harrowing you know, because I was like this is how I’ve been operating for 15 years and I
thought it was like a strength, I thought it was a good thing and now you’re telling me that it’s a bad thing and that had me questioning all like my entire value and everything right so we tell ourselves these stories then that makes us ‘oh I got to feel like I got to protect myself’ because in an orange organization you do, right? Because if someone, if your manager gives you some tough feedback I might get fired, or I might not get the raise I gotta you know so it’s just a different scenario but wow when people go through the heart phase and what it felt like to me was I used to be responsible if the team made the wrong decision, according to me who’s right me, then it’s on my shoulders right? So this belief that’s behind what Rodney said like who’s right in your organization? Well who’s right in the Teal organization? The collective is right. the collective is always smarter than any individual provided that the individual’s voice is heard in the collective decision.
And so that, for me, is what I had to internalize. Is that my responsibility is not for the team to make the right according to me decision. My responsibility is for my voice to be heard in a psychologically safe way and for me to invite all the other voices and to make sure that the team has stewarded a good smart, safe decision like the process right? And even if that decision in the future ends up not being the right or best one well the team gets to learn and the team made that and whatever right? Like how are you ever supposed to know what the right thing is we make mistakes all the time. What that felt like for me was I’m responsible for everyone and everything to I’m only responsible for myself but it’s a radical responsibility that I have for myself and my impact on other people. Which is a completely different kind of responsibility but it’s very liberating. Because feeling like you’re responsible for other people that you can’t control, that’s a really hard thing to feel responsible for.
HEIKE: That’s a really hard thing, yeah. And I mean you just mentioned that like this hard stuff is really I mean it puts you really back to yourself and you’re struggling with it it’s a very emotional situation and challenging the situation you are in and you also said like it’s a team effort to yeah more or less to get people out of there so I would be curious to to hear like how do you for example examine whether a person stuck in this midst of this struggling and not being able to address the fears or risk going back to the old paradigms and how can you and this is also a question from the from from the chat here, how can you get the people to show this vulnerability, to open up to step into this personal development that’s needed to move forward on this is… Luz, you want to go for this one?
LUZ: I don’t know. I don’t know the answer if Kate does, please find me on LinkedIn and send me your wisdom. Some of the things I’ve noticed like Edwin said, it’s a team sport you know, you sort of have to surround the person with love and maybe my approach wouldn’t work with you, Heike but Edwin’s would. You know, maybe I’m the one that challenges and he’s the one that supports and encourages so it’s a team sport I agree with that. And I had another thought that evaporated I’ve got to go back to it.
EDWIN: I’ve got a good thought or I’m right I know the ‘right answer’ [Laughter] to this question.
HEIKE: But he told me that is the old paradigm I don’t know-
EDWIN: Oh wait, wait. Sorry, sorry, sorry I’m adding the collective intelligence here. So as Luz said we have this what we call the Teal operating system and it’s online if you wanna if you wanna look at teal.ianmartin.com is where it is and it’s basically all your practices. How do you change your role? You do a role advice process. How do you change your compensation? You do a compensation advice process right? How do we resolve tensions or conflict or miscommunications? We have a facilitation process.
What each of these things have in common is when you go through a role advice process you have what we call a peer-mentor and the facilitation is used as a trained facilitator and I think this is this was a beautiful design element is because these are the times often okay I’m doing a role advice process and I’m getting all this tough feedback right or I’m in conflict with someone
and ah I want to get out of it okay I can use a facilitator so we actually have trained coaches
that can help you through they’re actually assigned to help you through because going through a compensation advice process, having half dozen people weigh in on what they think you’re worth and why, can be an emotionally taxing situation but you have your peer mentor there to help if you’re triggered help you know, walk you through it right? So I think that’s a really key thing is to have you know, player coaches that that are helping you and we actually for some of them we train and there’s a formal training program that you go through but you anyone can be a peer mentor for a wrap. So it’s actually some career development for people too to learn how to be coaches and so for everyone is both you know, receiving and giving coaching all the time.
HEIKE: Sort of kind of reluctant that you are taking care of this spread and nobody stays in this emotional state forever and you cannot go from there so good.
LUZ: The other thing I- it came back to me the other thing I’ve seen is powerful is your presence. So even in Edwin’s story of you know, I came to him and pointed out some things that I thought you know, were holding us all back and then I s you know, and then I stayed I’m here with you or you know, or in reverse if you had to point out something that’s not so awesome about me that I’m here with you. You know, we’ve been together 10 years and that feeling of we don’t withdraw our presence from someone just because there’s a conflict or some tough feedback or something that we’re learning, I think is a very comforting and powerful thing. So sometimes the only thing that you have to offer to somebody is your physical or you know, virtuals and as good, but virtual presence of saying I’m here with you and we’re both flawed and it’s okay. Like let’s just help each other get better for me that I’ve seen that really take the edge off of people’s experiences of difficult feedback or conflicts or tensions.
HEIKE: And I’m just- I want to bring a different aspect to this like we talk about like the leaders going into this into this new ways of working and they have some emotional, also intellectual hurdles to overcome probably in the beginning. But when they’re in this situation, I mean, when they really embracing these new ways of working I was wondering how they really approach to this like shift they have in the power dynamic. How they can deal with it. I mean you mentioned, Edwin, for in the beginning you’ve been used to be this manager type and now in this new organizational setting that the power dynamic is totally different. I mean how do these formal managers more or less cope with this? And then yeah and on the other hand if you just give away power somebody has to pick it up in a way. So they’re both sides to it and yeah maybe we can also elaborate a little bit on this one how we can tackle this power dynamic. The power shift in going that way. Edwin, maybe you want to go?
EDWIN: Yeah. I call this the final frontier. This is the biggest, hardest and I think unfortunately for us last thing that we’re tackling – formally or informally and I actually have some regret around that. I think we should have done it sooner and earlier. Lalou talks about you know, there’s only whatever two things that you absolutely need for Teal and one is like the board you know, the you know, the ownership or whatever and the other one’s the CEO and I think he’s right when he says it’s like whoever ultimately holds the power is the necessary and critical place to start.
And so as we mentioned like when we started in the small business unit Luz and I were the only two people who had the formal power and we wanted to give it up. But in the rest of the case yeah but in the rest of the organization that hasn’t been totally true. And so I think the first step is to actually talk to the people with the power and show them – not tell them, but show them
have them spend time with Teal leaders and have them understand what the reality is going to look like for them in giving up power. Here’s how I used to operate and here’s how I will need to operate. And have them like deeply understand what it is that they’re signing up for and then actually say yes and I want to do that or no I don’t really for whatever reason, totally cool, but then you shouldn’t stick around because you’re going to be miserable and you’re going to make other people miserable. Or you’re going to make it harder for people to step into their power because they’re going to be afraid right? and I haven’t done a good job of it. Like reading the book isn’t enough because you could read the book and get it in your head but not in your heart. And then also saying like okay read the book you want to do this yeah I do and then let’s wait until you get some tough feedback or you’re in a conflict and then let’s help you get through it well in a way like there you know, what if what if that’s a disaster right? And what if they don’t get through it what if they actually don’t want to work like this so I don’t think it’s fair. I think we have to have empathy for the managers and to say like this is a hard thing it’s an amazing thing but only if you want it like Luz said. And actually help them help them to make that decision and I don’t want to still lose thunder but she just did a Teal reading week and read all the Teal books and there was only one that really was talking about this and that’s Lisa Gill and Karen’s book around mooseheads on the table. I’m reading it right now and it’s amazing because it’s just stories of managers grappling with how do I give up power and it’s hard and it’s difficult
but I think that as a Teal world that’s what we should be focusing on right now.
HEIKE: Yeah. You want to add something to this, Luz?
LUZ: I don’t think I- like Edwin said, it’s something that we’re actively trying to figure out right now so if there are people listening that have done a great job of this look us up share your wisdom because we’re still in it.
HEIKE: Yeah. And we have- I mean and as Edwin said like it’s not the right place for everybody and yeah. So it’s a journey but we we should make it easier for others to step in by showing examples, giving them the opportunity to experience and exchange with others on this journey and like as you said like bringing this into into the conversation that this power shift is something
not so easy to deal with just also makes it easier for others to maybe address it and elaborate on it and exchange and yeah on the on the fields they face going that way-
LUZ: And I get- oh sorry- I’m bad at interrupting. This might be abstract but I’m going to try it. I think if we have to learn to receive, to give and receive love directly between us. Directly from one human being to another and to even I wonder like do we even know what that feels like to be loved, accepted, included, to feel valuable as opposed to looking at external symbols and hoping they represent that?
So looking at the corner office or the parking spot or the big paycheck or you know, I show up in a room and say stuff and everybody does it those are like shadow substitutes for the real feeling of connection and love and we just we’re just not at least in our culture like North American culture, we’re just not talking about that it’s we don’t even have the vocabulary. The vocabulary to talk about what it would feel like to just show up at work or in our communities or fall into where wherever and to just feel loved and accepted exactly as we are and not because we’ve accumulated you know, fancy stuff or titles or so I don’t know if there’s a way for people to
check into that and just you know, be present with themselves and each other at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. The rest is just stuff.
HEIKE: Yeah and if you can create this feeling of belonging, being right, feeling yourself whole in a sense I mean then this naturally comes to the second part of my question where I’m saying how do these employees step into this new powerful role? How do they take on responsibility and start leading things? So probably this will then also become a kind of a more or less natural thing I would say or…
EDWIN: Yeah. Can I just add, build on what Luz said? Let’s talk about love. Let us talk about love. You know when you get like in a you see an idea or whatever and then you see it everywhere? This is the thing that I see everywhere right now. Every thought, every action, every decision, showing up in a meeting, you’re either in a place of love and abundance and
positivity and belief and trust and optimism or you’re coming from more of a place of fear and scarcity and lack and striving and missing and doubt or cynicism right or distrust in people and fear begets fear, typically. Or it’s hard if I come at you with something fear or scarcity right it’s hard for you to rise in and respond from a love and positive place right? And I think Luz said something really powerful which is like first we gotta talk about it, be conscious of it and then try to get there.
And so today it’s so interesting at our company. We were on the Teal around the world a few weeks ago, Luz and I and we shared this story. Our company after the pandemic our business was down and our job orders were down 70 percent right? Because no one’s recruiting after the pandemic starts. And our entire industry responded with fear and scarcity. We’re gonna do layoffs, we’re gonna do hiring freezes, salary reduction, salary freezes right? That’s what everyone responded with – contraction and fear. At our company you can’t get laid off right? We could decide together to take a salary reduction or to do layoffs but you know, we would decide this together right? Things can’t happen to you.
So the way that we decided to respond initially was not from a place of fear and contraction but love how okay our customers are not hiring but lots of retirement homes and hospitals and healthcare like they need to hire like crazy. So we pivoted our entire company, pivoted to try to help the companies and the organizations who actually were hiring so we responded with love
and that was the Teal OS that did that. Because we didn’t have to wait for the managers to say okay we’re going to do an org design we’re going to do a layoff here and we’re going to shift our
business or whatever within a month we had completely pivoted our business and now two years later we grew by 650 percent. Okay, we are over six times more profitable than we were pre-pandemic okay, the most amazing success. But in our organization right now there
is still a whole bunch of fear. We’re doing better we’re a 63 year old company we’re doing better than we ever have in 60 years by far we just had the most in Canada we call it hockey stick
growth right? Like, ridiculous right?
HEIKE: Yeah, it’s really close to the sky, yeah.
EDWIN: But still, somehow, people are telling themselves the story sure we got problems and things can always be better but we’re telling we have people telling themselves a story that ‘this really bad! This is really bad and we have all these problems!’ so to me, it can always come down to in every situation and every conversation in every everything atomic unit are you in a place of love and positivity and or are you a mindset of fear and scarcity? And both you know, what story are you telling yourself about what’s happening here and to me like that’s the thing. That’s the thing we’ve got to put our finger on. Individually and as groups.
HEIKE: Yeah. You just made an interesting remark like saying you’ve kind of stayed in this state of abundance even though you had this pandemic facing you and really pulling away the base of your business more or less overnight and then you said something like looking back after two years, you’ve been really prosperous going through this and you’ve been very successful.
Because like what I hear sometimes from the outside saying like ‘oh this is something nice and yeah it sounds interesting it sounds attractive but these guys are just talking away forever and no work gets done.’ and so is it really a way of being a profitable organization? Is this really a way how we can yeah, earn some money, on a good living for all of us? Or is it just something that we do like as a well as non-profit selfish stuff. What would your answer to those people?
EDWIN: Luz, you take this.
HEIKE: Yeah. [Laughter]
LUZ: I mean I guess I would show them our results we’re more profitable and productive now during self-organization than we you know, have been in our history. I think I would also refer people to the work of Gary Hamel and Doug Kirkpatrick and others who are talking about the management tax and just how expensive actually hierarchy is. You know, if every 10 people need a manager and then you grow and you have 20 people well now you need two managers but you also need a manager to manage them and so there’s sort of this exponential addition of cost that if you can learn to live without it, you’re just it’s just more productive it’s just more efficient in addition to being more loving and fun and meaningful and adaptive.
HEIKE: So yeah so maybe take it from this controller ice view like saying like if you take out layers and people and bring them into different ways of working you will benefit so we’ll see.
EDWIN: And yeah I would say if someone whatever I would point them at yeah the books the literature whatever, and if you read that and you still don’t believe like whatever man, I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t have time for you. [Laughter]
Because if you don’t- if you don’t intellectually after you read these fantastic argents and all of that agree with it I’m not going to convince you and you’re certainly not going to be go through the heart phase so like I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for you. But if you if you read it and get it and you’re like ‘this sounds like it makes sense and I get it, and I like it, but what about this? And what about this?’ okay that’s a really like what about compensation and like so you have a lot of people say wouldn’t people take advantage of it no actually we have the opposite we made it an advice process that the person’s own decision that no one has to consent to because people were not paying themselves enough. Because people take that response oh my god I like we’ve seen the opposite, right? So and then go and spend some time with some Teal leaders and see how this works or try instead of you hiring this person or telling them what their job is, have them do a role advice process and give you a proposal about you know, and then like that’s that’s what convinces people is seeing how it works. But if you read the books and you don’t believe it whatever.
HEIKE: I mean the books is maybe something to get it curious but then you probably have to get the people into experiencing and getting the emotional part to it. And I mean we have enough work to do probably for the one who are attractive to this idea and we should not waste
I mean that’s also my opinion should not waste time on convincing people who are not open for it because they will sooner or later follow and it’s not wrong being there so they just have to
you have to start from a and if- they are probably at a different point in their life in their situation and yeah, they will sooner or later stay somehow in this conversation and get attracted to it and then it’s like the gravity law. It’s a broader piece that will pull everything towards it and as larger this community grows, it will get more and more attractive to people around us in this sense.
We have covered a lot of topics and made a long journey going through this so I would give you the chance to really like express both of you after each other what has been the let’s say the most eye-opening, deepest, emotional experience you want to share with us? And yeah being on this journey? We haven’t repented so… [Laughter]
LUZ: I think I’ll start. I’m making this up as I go but the feeling of belonging to and being loved by a community of people who are on the same journey.
HEIKE: Anything unexpected you experienced really, on this one?
LUZ: I mean all of that, yeah, all of that. [Laughter] Edwin and I started for example our owner Tim had this vision of hiring both me and Edwin to work together and anyway the story is messy but the fact is he and I started on the same day sitting in side by side desks and it was just like instant friendship, camaraderie, connection, support because we were fundamentally even if we didn’t have the vocabulary for it at the time, we were fundamentally on the same journey of personal transformation, of trying to do meaningful work, of trying to do loving work, of trying to find truth of trying to make the most of the very short lives that we have. And you know, so that first day was July 2012, there were two of us and then there were three and then there were four and then there were five and then there were six and I’ve just had over that 10 years. This profound feeling of belonging to existing with being accepted by the people that like you said gravitated towards the same ideas and values and beliefs and quests. That’s a really- that’s a lifetime high for me.
HEIKE: Short quotes from your side Edwin?
EDWIN: As if that’s possible. [Laughter] One of my favorite quotes is we don’t get work done through people we get people done through work. And not to say that our work isn’t important, our purpose is to connect people in meaningful work. But to me, you know, business is the most powerful institution in the world and 70 percent of people don’t love what they do. So imagine if 70 percent of people love what they did and we’re working within business right? To be more purposeful and impactful and I think that’s obviously a huge global problem but I’ve gotten to work on that problem and actually nail it at our company and the personal development journey that I’ve gone through and the growth by getting all this tough feedback and whatever and I know I’ve been out a catalyst to help other people with their growth and there’s nothing more meaningful or emotional for me.
HEIKE: Thanks for sharing. And yeah maybe one day we have this oh thank god it’s Monday attitude for everybody so not going like really embracing going to work every yeah beginning of the week or the next day we come. So thank you both for being with me! The hour flew by more or less it and it was very insightful what you shared with us there a lot of yeah experiences and stories we can build on and I saw there are some questions on the chat like tricks and tips and tricks and really going into this Teal OS system and elaborate on more on this and elaborate more on the practices and for those guys I would recommend you going to this leader more
forces chat you had with Lisa Joe some time ago maybe we can put it somewhere here in the in the chat later on because there you covered a lot of these practices about like how do you hiring how you yeah deal with the tensions, how to make decisions. So this has been covered somewhere on air more or less so I think it’s it has been worth spending time on other topics rather than doing this again and again. So especially Keith, we will direct you there and you can get your questions answered in listening to this podcast.
Okay I think with that we are well, close to the hour so thank you again for being with me in this cozy Living Room. It was a pleasure and time flew by as I said and before we close this event, I have the pleasure to make you aware of some events coming up with us so yeah we have a the next Living Room Conversation. If you love this format, I’m so happy to have you with us here. Yeah, it’s a next week already, I would say. So coming up soon and then we have the Teal Network Global Team meetup for the European Area coming up soon as well so would be a pleasure for us to have you there.
And before we stop, any final words from your side? Luz first and then Edwin with the closing remarks to this event.
LUZ: Thank you for having us and both Edwin and I are easily findable on LinkedIn and other social media so if you want to ask any of these specific questions or continue to talk about these things we love it. We love this stuff so find us and let’s carry the conversation on.
EDWIN: Yeah, I ditto that and then I would say there’s a lot of Teal enthusiasts you know, probably who are listening to this and they’re saying how do I do this at my company? How do I and you do it the way Luz and I did it started with two, then it was three, then it was four don’t talk to the people who don’t believe, talk to the people who already believe what you believe and build it together and then it will go so you can do this. It will work. This isn’t crazy we’re living testament to it and it was well worth all the effort we have put into it in the last seven years so I just want to you know, encourage everyone to keep pushing, keep moving forward, keep inspiring.
HEIKE: Thank you. This was really a yeah an encouraging last note to us so. I myself I’m only just like for a few years on this journey and sometimes struggling and sometimes feeling comfortable so this is yeah just good to know that there are other people out there being in the same situation but that it’s worth doing. Putting all the effort in this, yeah sometimes you can’t follow the intellectual with the heart and the beliefs so yeah it’s good to know that there are some people out to give us support and to stay connected with us in this journey, it’s great to hear. And with that, I say thank you again and to all the people listening to us I wish you a wonderful rest of the day and I hope we see you soon on one of the next Living Room Conversations we have. So bye everyone!
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