INTRO PART 1: Seven Stages of Self-Organisation on the Road to Liberating Wholeness & Evolutionary Purpose

Nick OsborneArticles

Transitioning an organisation into Teal—truly, deeply, and completely—is easier to read about, understand, and be inspired by than it is to actually do. This is new territory. It can be confusing, messy, and is littered with roadside casualties. I’ve been on a personal and organisational journey through this territory over the last 25+ years, in many organisations. It’s been interesting, to say the least! 

On reflection, I can identify seven distinct stages through which two of Laloux’s Teal management breakthroughs can be developed and deepened. Through these stages, Self-Organisation matures and Wholeness becomes more, well . . . whole. I’ve crashed into and been injured by invisible obstacles at the transitions between stages on this journey, and through healing my wounds I identified new distinctions which clearly and specifically equip us for the next stage of growth. I learned how psychological safety and interpersonal trust are critical prerequisites for Self-Organisation and Wholeness. I experienced the deepening of psychological safety and interpersonal trust that occurs at each stage. Fitting together these pieces of the Teal puzzle creates the conditions for liberating the third of Laloux’s breakthroughs: Evolutionary Purpose. 

My story uses Holacracy® as a self-organisation practice because that’s the journey that I’ve been on myself, but I think the pattern I describe also applies to other Self-Organisation practices; whether they be systems like Sociocracy, S3 or the Viable Systems Model, adaptations of these, or custom approaches as described in Reinventing organisations. This story is as much a conceptual journey in understanding layers of increasing depth as it is a portrait of my battle scars. Some of what I have to share may be familiar from your own journey. Maybe we can help one another along the way. 

Here’s a short summary of the journey as a whole before we dive in. It terms of psychological safety and speaking truth to power, it’s worth noting that I consider Stage 5 the core part of the journey; where the real in-depth work lies of developing relational wholeness through actively building trust and safety using a relational practice like the  Matrix Leadership framework.


An Opportunity with Matrix Leadership

UK Workshop, London April 2nd-5th 2020

I took the Matrix Leadership Essentials for Professionals course in Boulder in January 2019. I was so deeply impressed by how it builds a strong relational infrastructure in the matrix of interpersonal relationships in a group and the impacts that has, that I decided to bring this workshop to the UK for the first time. I believe that it is sorely needed to address gaps and failures in organisations struggling to transition to Teal ways of working. I’ve invited Amina Knowlan, co-creator and Trainer of the framework, to come to London to co-deliver the 4-day Matrix Essentials workshop from April 2nd to 5th, 2020. This is the first (and perhaps only) such workshop being offered in Western Europe. 
Find out more and book here. If you are involved in self-organisation, I hope to see you there. I am convinced of this work’s value and am investing my personal time and energy into hosting this workshop!