Helping Brave Souls Trek Toward Teal

I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve done it. 

Drawn up a list of teal or teal-like organizations. Described their various affiliations. Noted their industry, size, and location. Named their leaders. Written down why they or others think their practices are teal-y.

I’ve probably done this a dozen times over the past several years. Several times as I co-wrote books such as Lead Together: The Bold, Brave, Intentional Path to Scaling Your Business. Sometimes to help friends and colleagues who can’t stand the idea of working in a toxic, power-over paradigm. Sometimes to help recruit interesting speakers for Teal Around the World. Other times, as I’ve sought to offer consulting services to conscious, purpose-driven start-ups. 

Each time, I get excited, because I see the number of teal businesses growing and spreading into new industries. It makes me hopeful about the future of work and the future of society. 

At the same time, this list-and-describe work makes me nervous. Because I’ve noticed a problem as the teal community expands. 

A Community in Name Only 

It isn’t a community per se. Many of the pioneers creating more human-centric, self-managed organizations don’t know each other or the terrain they are establishing. 

Publications like Corporate Rebels and Enlivening Edge and events like Teal Around the World and Global Teal Meetups have sought to document the evolution of the teal movement and bring players together. 

Yet gaps remain. Leading a teal organization can be a lonely, difficult endeavor, with few opportunities to connect with peers, share common dilemmas and explore solutions together. In working with many teal leaders over the past decade, I’ve heard that refrain again and again: the work is inspiring but also can be exhausting and isolating. What’s more, we still lack a comprehensive map of the teal landscape.

So this time, I’m doing more with my latest list of teal organizations. Along with colleagues from The Teal Team and my consulting firm Human First Works, I’m working to plug the gaps and help brave souls trek toward teal together. 

The Teal Map 

First, we are in the final stages of creating a visual map of the emerging teal terrain. We’ve identified roughly 350 organizations with a connection to teal or similar business models, such as DAOs, Holacracy and Agile. And we’ve categorized them by features such as industry, geography and size.

We plan to unveil this map at the Q4 Global Teal Meetup for the Americas. We hope that seeing the contours of the teal realm will be useful for all sorts of teal-aligned folks. By mapping the teal movement, we hope to improve collaboration and build momentum as potential partners recognize each other with greater ease. 

The Teal Leaders Circle (TLC)

We’re also launching a peer-to-peer advisory group for teal leaders. In the spirit of other executive peer groups like YPO, the new Teal Leaders Circle (TLC) will be a place for the leaders of teal organizations to build relationships with peers, find emotional support, and learn from others wrestling with comparable challenges. 

By bringing together an initial group of 7-12 thoughtful leaders committed to self-management, holism, and evolving purpose, we believe it’s possible to accelerate progress and lighten leaders’ load. 

The TLC will be facilitated by a veteran team of teal-aligned coaches, consultants and practitioners. The centerpiece of the TLC will be a monthly three-hour meeting featuring curated content, interactive experiences and peer-to-peer learning. We’re planning to pick a time that works for leaders in both Europe and the Americas: The tentative time slot is the last Thursday of the month at 7-10 am PT, 10-1 ET, 4-7 pm CET.

Our database of teal organizations is vital to the effort. With the help of the list, we’re reaching out to partners who can help us identify candidates to apply for spots in the Circle. And we’re starting to interview possible members. If you would like to partner with us on the TLC, or want to explore joining the Circle yourself, please contact me

Taking Teal to the Next Level

So my latest list of teal-y organizations feels different. Our work to chart the teal landscape and create the TLC has the potential to take the teal movement to the next level by building a greater sense of community. 

This time could be the charm. But only if you get involved.

2 thoughts on “Helping Brave Souls Trek Toward Teal”

  1. Congrats on all this to you and your colleagues, Travis. Over my 8 years in this arena I have seen a number of serious professional mapping efforts rise, as a natural impulse, and then disintegrate due to two main challenges: the map-making team agreing on and defining the criteria for inclusion in the map, but then the rapid shifting of organizations moving in and out of being qualified for inclusion. It’s a moving target.

    But 350 is definitely inspiring! Do you have a way of keeping your map updated? That’s the trick. I guess another challenge I heard of from mapmakers was making the map actually understandable and useful. Sounds as if you will do well on that.

    Lia Aurami
    Partner, Enlivening Edge LLC

    1. Lia,

      Do you remember any of the people in those map making efforts off the top of your head? I’d love to chat with them and see if there is some way we could amplify their message/work and bolster our own work. Agreed on those challenges. Maybe it’s the startup guy in me, but I’m a deep believer that something published, even with flaws, and even if it might not be scalable, helps you continue to move forward.

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