How To Create a Teal Organisation in 26 Weeks (Week 10) — The First Draft proposal to the employees

(This is the 10th article in a series about changing Podsystem to a self-management organisation. Please click here to see all articles.)

With a lack of proposals from others, I had little choice than to push forward with setting out my own ideas and hoping that other people did as well (as you will discover in subsequent weeks — they didn’t!).

However, before setting out my ideas it was clear that a negative feeling was brewing about this process and some of the changes that I was suggesting. The main concern appeared to be around salaries and a concern that this process was being done to reduce salaries. I felt I was stuck between a rock and a hard post as I didn’t want to get involved in the everyday conversations (as this would then appear that I was trying to force my views), but on the other hand my words were being taken out of context and from the outside it sounded like the worst was always being assumed.

Anyway, I ploughed on and sent my colleagues my proposal which I had created using a mixture of methodologies from Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations, Ricardo Semler and my own mix.

So here it is (very summarised):

There are three values that I think should be remembered when going through this process:

1) People are assumed to be good (reliable, intelligent, self-motivated, trustworthy, honest)

2) We spend at least a third of our day at work, we should enjoy it

3) Value is created by maximising what we can do

So here are my suggestions on each issue that we need to address:


Decision making by consensus is dangerous as the end decision is a mish mash of people’s opinions. Without a clear path consensus decision removes responsibility from everybody. Individual decision making by a manager relies on the skill of the manager and is not ‘owned’ by the person who has to implement the decision.

Therefore, the middle ground is to allow anybody and everybody to take individual decisions. As the decision maker, you can decide on ANYTHING which includes decisions that will cost the company money.

However, it is expected that you seek advice (advice not a decision or resolution) from colleagues who may have experience or an opinion. You should seek the advice or opinion of EVERYBODY who may be affected by your decision.

For those people whose advice is sought, they MUST NOT give a decision, but rather give advice.


Conflict will normally arise due because you have not honoured your commitments or you feel somebody else has not honoured their commitment. Here are the suggested sequential steps for resolving this:

1) Sort it out privately.

2) Nominate a colleague as mediator.

3) Panel of topic relevant colleagues convened as agreed by both parties.

4) CEO might be added to panel. Again the CEO is not expected to provide an answer but rather to help find a resolution to the conflict.

Role allocation and definition

A fundamental part of Teal, and something that I know many of you don’t like, is to remove roles. You should be doing tasks, not roles. Roles lead to ‘territories’ and ‘its not my role’ etc. Tasks are things to get done by the most appropriate person or people.


In all companies that have practiced Teal practices, employees who do not work well in this environment almost always leave of their own accord. However, if you feel that somebody else should be dismissed from POD then you need to go through the conflict process as above.

Pay & Bonus

One company has a wonderful practice that evaluates each person’s value within the company according to every other person’s opinion. Every quarter you are asked 2 questions of everybody else:

1) This person contributes much more or much less than me (1 to 5)

2) The person has a good basis to evaluate me (scale of 1 to 5)

From this an anonymous value can be affixed to each of you, including me. One of you clever people would need to write a program to take all scores, keep them anonymous and spurt out the results.

From this 360 degree evaluation, each person will have a score. This score is from 1 to 5. You can ignore it — but I would find it useful to understand what other people in the company think my value to the company is. It would certainly help me choosing my salary.

We could also add a place where comments can be added voluntarily to the survey anonymously, answering the following three questions:

a) where could colleagues do more of the good things that they are doing,

b) what other things could they do to improve their work,

c) what things are they doing that they should stop doing.

Armed with the above information and pay scales of similar jobs in your location (supplied by HR), and information about the financial position of the company (available on the intranet and explanations to be given by accounts each quarter you:

- decide your salary and submit this to our HR guy (Haris)

- If it is perceived to be too low or too high compared to what other people have asked, Haris may suggest that you would like to review it.

- You decide whether you want to change it or keep it

Whilst I know a few of you are against this (and please question yourself as to whether this is just because it is unknown) in order for the above to work, it is necessary for salaries to be transparent and available to everybody.

This is necessary because:

1) It is not possible to let people choose salaries without the peer pressure to ensure that they are reasonable (both too high and too low)

2) If we are transparent on all other financial details, why not salaries? There will be occasions when we need to know other people’s salaries in order to make a business decision (e.g. bringing on a new person, evaluating whether it is better to outsource a project or keep it internal etc.)

3) It has been proven in multiple studies that companies that are transparent with their salaries create a better environment and enjoy greater success than otherwise. Not disclosing salaries WILL lead to inconsistencies of salaries (a problem we have now), and unnecessary suspicion. We have already seen that without information people in POD HAVE ALREADY made assumptions that were completely wrong about other people’s salaries — which created bad blood. It is pointless to create suspicion. The only reason not to disclose salaries is because you are worried about your value.

Onboarding & Training

You should choose their own training (this will always be limited by time available anyway), but you can use HR as a resource to find you the course you want (not to decide on what training you should have).


It would be good if we can sort the calendars out so it is possible for everybody to see what meetings are taking place. Unless there is a specific understandable reason against it, and this needs to be accepted by the person who wants to join, everybody should be free to join any meeting they like.


The value process listed under salary above will provide an extremely good 360 degree appraisal from colleagues. However, the following 4 steps could be added in an appraisal. At each new appraisal, the previous results can also be reviewed.

1) Review the comments made on the quarterly 360 degree appraisal

2) Ask what contribution you have made to POD

3) Ask what contribution you would like to make at POD

4) Ask how POD can help you


Sam has been harking on about creating PODs (teams). I agree with this, but haven’t worked out how to do this. It is not vital yet, but teams of 10–12 people work best.

Growth Objectives

We don’t need budgets and we don’t need targets (they are artificial anyway and people are not going to work harder because they have a target). However, we do need to decide how much we want to grow and how much investment is required to reach this.

One way to do this is:

a) Each of us to stipulate how much more you would like to earn in 3 months.

b) We add all of these sums together — this is the additional amount of net profit that we need to generate.

c) We multiply this by 10 to reflect the additional revenue required or the reduction in costs required to cover this additional cost (assuming a 10% net profit ratio).

d) We can therefore provide this through (for example) more SEO activities or reduction in charges etc. and each team or individual knows what we are aiming for.

(these growth objectives will need to evolve!)

Creating Pots

I would suggest that we split the pots after net profit as highlighted in my original presentation.

How do you find the proposal? I would love to hear your feedback, feel free to comment it below…

Originally published at May 25, 2017.