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Is Teal Organizational Structure The New

Way To Innovate?
Article By: George Hill- innovation officer- 25th April

The concept of a teal organisational structure is not particularly cutting edge, but is one that most
people will not have heard of. Many of those who have heard of it believe that it is the next
natural evolution in the ways that businesses are organized, others believe that it is simply a
hippy concept that has little impact in the real world. However, the success of many companies
who have implemented it, both in terms of employee happiness and profits, suggests that it is a
concept that has legs and could be the next big shift in corporate innovation.

A teal structure is one that follows on from red, amber, orange, and green structures that have
come before. Red structures are almost like dictatorships, with a single leader directing
everything that happens, like a king or gang leader. Amber structures have strictly formal roles
within the organization which allow for stable, repeatable roles and tasks, such as the Army
today. Orange structures are the kind that we see in large multinational companies today, where
the goal is always to beat the competition through hierarchy and where professionalism is a key
driver, people should have a work self and a home self. Green companies focus on culture,
employee development, and empowerment of stakeholders, both internally and externally. This
would be companies like Starbucks and Ben & Jerrys who aim to be sustainable and project a
message of empowerment for their workers and customers.

For the majority of us, this sounds like hippy rubbish, everybody holding hands and hugging in
the office, but this isnt the case and many of the companies who have adopted it have found
success. For instance, Patagonia, one of the best known climbing brands in the world who sold
over $10 million of clothing on Black Friday in 2015 (and donated every penny to charity).

Their innovative approach saw them double their size of operations and triple its sustainability
under CEO Rose Marcario, who moved from corporate banking to the company after having an
epiphany in the back of a limo following a frustrating incident involving somebody crossing the
street. All of this has come from them very literally telling people not to buy their products, with
their dont buy this jacket ad or taking out Black Friday ads saying dont buy our products.
Their approach to business is very much the opposite of orange companies, with the company
not looking at maximizing profits, but instead looking to maximize their impact. For instance,
rather than saving money they invested huge sums in a documentary, DamNation, which
discussed dam removal - a contentious subject. In an interview with Fast Company, Marcacio
said of it that this documentary took on an issue we didnt feel that anyone else could take on in
the way that we could. Any fight worth fighting is the sort of attitude that we take. The cause-
first approach is a major element of a teal structure.

Breaking away from the norms of how businesses have been run for decades is never an easy
thing to do and in the case of teal organizations, requires a huge amount of trust in those working
at the company. However, when the huge successes of companies like Patagonia are down to an
approach allowed by the teal model, perhaps it shows that adopting a new mission and flat
hierarchy based model can really reap rewards.


Teal organizations had three main breakthroughs compared to previous models:

Self-management: Teal organizations operate effectively, even at a large scale, with a system
based on peer relationships. They set up structures and practices in which people have high
autonomy in their domain, and are accountable for coordinating with others. Power and control
are deeply embedded throughout the organizations, no longer tied to the specific positions of a
few top leaders.
Wholeness: Whereas Orange and Green organizations encourage people to show only their
narrow professional selves, Teal organizations invite people to reclaim their inner wholeness.
They create an environment wherein people feel free to fully express themselves, bringing
unprecedented levels of energy, passion, and creativity to work.
Evolutionary purpose: Teal organizations base their strategies on what they sense the world is
asking from them. Agile practices that sense and respond replace the machinery of plans,
budgets, targets, and incentives. Paradoxically, by focusing less on the bottom line and
shareholder value, they generate financial results that outpace those of competitors.

These three key elements of a teal structure are key drivers of innovation, creating an empowered
and excited work force who are working towards common goals beyond profit making. If every
person knows what they are working towards and each has dominion and ownership over their
own areas whilst still feeling valued, they are going to work passionately to improve the
company and its goals.

Teal takes the next step, essentially removing the hierarchical elements of a company and
empowering people to not only do good (as with a green company) but to be themselves and
work towards a shared purpose beyond competition.

Shrinking Organisational Structure is it real?

Article By: Mika Nevasuo - April 28th,2016

Have you ever worked for a company without a Managing Director? Or have you ever worked in
a department without a department manager for more than 1 year? Can the company live
successfully without a manager? My clients experience tells Yes.

In recent years Ive seen some international companies in Baltic Countries that decided to
decline their organisational structure and lay off Managing Directors in all companies in Baltic
region without replacing them after some time. This happened at companies in B2B sales,
production and services industries.
Redesign Your Organisation

Deloitte recently released their report Global Human Capital Trends 2016. It surveys 7,000
people in over 130 countries around the world. Nine out of ten executives in this survey rated
organisational design as top priority. Almost half of respondents reported their companies are
restructuring or planning to do so..

Hierarchy its about the past organisations

Jacob Morgan, keynote speaker and futurist is telling about 5 types of organisational structures.
One of them is traditional hierarchy which is well known, seen and experienced by most of us.
This is still the structure which exists in most organisations. No brain is needed in the lower
layers of structure. The Managers are deciding and employees are executing. But the decision
making process is quite slow, innovation stagnates, dissemination of information is slow.
Therefore many companies are thinking how to flatten organisations, how to diminish
bureaucracy and number of layers in the structure.

What are the options and how to flatten organisations?

Flatter organisations. It means fewer layers in hierarchy, faster communication, all

employees are involved in planning, cooperation between different layers and
departments is crucial, the same person might be involved in several roles. Many
companies are moving from hierarchical structure to flatter structure and my examples of
organisations given at the beginning of this article confirm this tendency.

Flat organisations new type of organisational structure, already in action and getting
more popularity. Flat means no position names, no managers, all employees are equal,
everybody can join to project team he is interested in, and some non-formal hierarchy
may appear based on seniority. The most known examples of flat organisations are Valve
Company from gaming industry and a pioneer of flat structure The Morning Star
Company, from tomato products industry.

Flatarchy some companies are choosing the combination of hierarchy and flat
structure. In this case company is acting within hierarchical design, but also has a flat
organisations structure for certain departments dedicated to innovation and new product
development. Examples of flatarchy are Google and Linkedin.

Holocracy no position names, no departments, there are groups you may join and
become insider and to do some job there. Every person may work in different groups at
the same time. The goal is to include every individual in decision-making and give
everyone the opportunity to work on what they do best. There are just few organisations
working under holocracy structure and best known of them is Zappos, from e-commerce


Companies are striving to adapt to fast changing environment, want to be more customer-focused
and shifting their structures from traditional models toward flexible teams. Organisations are
decentralizing, empowering teams, starting to operate as a network of teams in order to be more
flexible and dynamic.

As many futurists point, we are moving to freelancer economy, employees will work more and
more on project basis in the future, so the position name or big office space wont matter much
in the future. Employees will have the possibility to work from different places and have flexible
working hours. The technology allows us to do it even today. Organisations must be agile in
order to survive and prosper in spite of coming changes.

3 Models of effective sales team organization

Article By: Steli Efti

our products taking off. Youve got traction in your market, and youre looking to go even

further. Your self-service SaaS model has accomplished wonders for your business so far,
but after weighing the various factors involved and taking a close look at the market, youve

decided to start building your sales team.

Now what?

This is a critical juncture for many startup founders, and one that people often struggle with. We

like to paint a picture of salespeople as cowboys, who walk in with guns blazing. The best

salespeople are go-getters, who seize initiative and take charge. You might think that its best to

just hire amazing sales talent, and let them hit the ground running.

Youd be wrong. A Harvard Business Review study shows that 50% of high-performing sales

organizations have well-documented sales processes that are explicitly structured, compared to

28% of under-performing organizations. You cant just haphazardly start hiring sales reps, and

expect your business to grow automatically.

Here are the three basic sales team structures that you can use to ramp up your sales game and

start off on the right foot.

(Note: We've put together a complete sales management toolkit for you: checklists, onboarding

plans, meeting agenda's, comp plan calculators and more. Download your free copy now!)

The island

The island model of sales organization leads to a more traditional, sell-or-die environment that

people typically associate with sales reps. Theres actually very little organizational structure that

goes into it. You provide your team with some basic back-end services: some training, a range of

products they can sell, a commission structure, maybe an officeand thats it.
In this model, every sales rep is essentially responsible for each step of the sales process on their

own. They have to generate leads by themselves, qualify them, and close them. Reps within this

framework tend to be more aggressive. Theyve got their elbows out in fierce competitionnot

just with the larger market, but their own teams as well.

Each member of your sales team essentially becomes their own entrepreneur.

This model dominates traditional sales operations, like real estate or financial services. Think

about your average real estate agent. Shell walk into her office each day, and nominally

represent a larger real estate agency, like Coldwell Bankers, or the Corcoran Group. But shell

promote her listings mostly on her own, by posting them online, calling prospects on the phone,

and running open housesall in hopes of a close.


Very little managerial oversight required on a one-on-one basis

Good for simple sales processes, like a one or two call-to-close product


Creates a very aggressive sales environment

You have much less control over how your brand is represented in the market, because its

highly dependent upon each individual reps style.

Because everyone does everything, its difficult to keep track of key sales metrics and



The island model isnt great for most startupsits too aggressive, and too competitivebut

theres always exceptions. It typically suits companies that work in established markets, with

high levels of competition. The island model works best for low complexity, high-transaction

sales processes. Sometimes, simplest is best.

The assembly line

The assembly line drove the Industrial Revolution, and built Fords famous Model T. It

essentially specialized the labor force, and sequentially arranged production processes for max


You can apply the assembly line to your sales team. Your raw materials are essentially your

prospective customers, who are cultivated and refined during the sales cycle. The assembly line

typically breaks down a sales force by function into four different groups:

Lead generation team: Responsible for developing leads, and gathering names, phone numbers,

emails, and data.

Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): Also commonly referred to as

Qualifiers/Prospectors. SDRs reach out to prospects and qualify them by asking questions that

focus on customer needs, and identify the decision-making process.

Account Executives (AEs): Responsible for closing the deal. They call up qualified leads, give

demos, manage objections, move the deal forward, and ultimately try to close the deal.

Customer Success team: Once a deal is closed, new customers are passed on to this team.

Theyre focused on account management and keeping customers happy, increasing lifetime value

(LTV) for each customer. They also help upsell customers to higher plans.

If you want to more help managing your team better, download our free sales management


In his book, Predictable Revenue, Aaron Ross breaks down one assembly line model you can use

to structure your sales team:

The assembly line allows your sales team to specialize among different functions and roles. Each

step of the sales cycle has a dedicated team. As customers walk through the funnelfrom leads,

to qualified opportunities, to new customerstheyre passed on to the next team.

Because each unit of the assembly line is so specialized in function, you can hold each team

accountable to the various sales metrics theyre responsible for.

By specializing your team, it becomes much easier to isolate bottlenecks in your funnel, and fix

them accordingly. For example, perhaps you set an overall sales goal of closing 12 deals out of

every 100 leads sourced. If the results youre pulling are five deals out of every 100, you can

look closer at each stage of the funnel to find the friction. You might look at your AEs and see

that theyre closing an acceptable 25% of qualified leads, but your SDRs are only managing to

qualify 20% of raw leads.

You can dive right in, and see whats up with your SDR teamwhether an individual member of

the team simply isnt converting quality leads, or whether its a more global problem. You could

institute further training and data-driven coaching, to boost SDRs up to 50% of leads qualified

rate, and hit your broader sales goals. Looking at the segmentation of your funnel is one of the

most powerful ways to fine-tune the engine of your sales machine.

Even with only two sales reps, you can still start specialization early. Have one focus on

prospecting new clients, and the other on closing deals, based on their natural abilities and

talents. Use the 80/20 rule to determine when to build new stations on the assembly linewhen

your reps spend 20% or more of their time on a secondary function, it might be appropriate to

pass that role on to a specialist.


Creates predictability for your business

Makes it easy to isolate sale problems in the funnel, and laser in on them

More specialization = more efficiency


When youre starting out with two sales reps, its difficult to split them into four different

teamsyou just wont have enough manpower for the job.

By splitting up the funnel into different stages, there can be friction between the hand off of

customers as they travel through the funnel.

Because teams are highly specialized, each team member becomes increasingly disconnected

from the overall business goals of the company. Theyre focused on their own specific numbers

and metrics instead.


Most startups will find that some form of the assembly line will work best for them. Its great for

reducing the complexity of your sales cycle, increasing sales efficiency, and scaling your team.

Your sales cycle is probably relatively complexand will grow more complex along with your

business. The higher your annual customer value (ACV), the more important it is to have

specialized sales team members dedicated to each part of the customer journey.

The power of the assembly line sales model lies in creating a reliable and repeatable process for

nurturing leads. In doing so, it takes your funnel and transforms it into a revenue powerhouse as

you build your business to scale.

The pod

A pod works along similar lines to the assembly line model of sales, but instead creates focused

tight-knit groups, or pods that are composed of team members that play different roles. A

podular organization is customer-centric.

For example, a six-person sales pod would be composed of three SDRs, two AEs, and one

Customer Success rep. Instead of having large teams, you create little pods of specialized roles,

and each pod is responsible for the entire journey of specific customers.

Dave Gray, author of The Connected Company, provides this diagram of the pod model:

You still utilize the specialist roles we outlined above, with SDRs, AEs, and Customer Success

reps. But instead of having all of your SDRs or AEs compete against each other, with a podular

organization of your sales team, pods compete with other pods. Each pod works together to win

the customer, and keep them happy afterwards. Theyre more fluid, and come up with ideas

With the pod, you build a more modular and flexible structure than the traditional model. Since

success is measured by pod, each member of the sales force has a larger, more holistic view of

the entire company. Pods build more meaningful connections between people who are working

together. You can specialize pods based on different industries, verticals, or countries.


Because pods work in close-knit teams, your sales team doesnt just care about their own step in

the process, but about the entire customer journey.

High empathy and understanding within pods, less friction and better communication

Pods are more flexible and agile


With the pod structure, theres less opportunity for your individual sales reps to compete and

grow, and push each other to excel

Less specialization with each role, as each member becomes more of a jack-of-all-trades


The pod structure of sales management is essentially a refined version of the assembly line. Its

perfect for more mature startups trying to optimize existing sales resources to tap into new

markets and verticals.

If you work in a competitive industry, with aggressive companies cranking well-run assembly

lines, it can be hard to compete with a pod modelthe pod trades efficiency for versatility. But

if youve established your market, and have significant traction, organizing your teams into pods

creates a highly flexible, agile sales force, ready to meet a variety of challenges, and pounce

upon new opportunities.


Its our responsibility to choose the appropriate organizational structure that fits your business

and your culture. In doing so, youll cultivate a high-growth environment that will allow your

sales force to truly shine.

Theres two simple goals you want to meet when it comes to organizing your sales team:

1. Drive maximum results.

2. Create the best cultural fit for your organization.

As We structure our sales team, whats most important is finding the right fit that will

drive the results Were looking for.

Its critical that We constantly ask yourself: What kind of team are we? What kind of

culture are we trying to create? The team you build and the way you structure it in the

early-stages of your startup will leave a huge footprint on your sales process, as you

further grow and scale your business. Dont leave it up to chance. Choose the sales

model and team that works for you, and youll build a sales machine capable of

sustaining long-term growth.