Frederic Laloux

Frederic Laloux

Emerging Organizations Expert and Executive Leadership Coach

Speaker Categories: | Agile Business Practices

Travels From: NY, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $20,001 to $40,000*

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Frederic Laloux Bio
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Books
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Radical Management Innovator and
Executive Leadership Coach

Many people consider Frederic Laloux to be the most influential thinker of the decade when it comes to management and organizational reinvention. His research, writing and speaking has inspired a movement (sometimes called ‘Teal organizations’) of businesses, nonprofits, hospitals and schools taking radical steps towards more powerful and soulful structures and management practices.

A Global Phenomenon

Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations is a rare phenomenon. Self-published with no marketing, it has turned into a global bestseller (in English, but also in German, French, Russian and a dozen other languages) entirely through word-of-mouth, propelled one conversation at a time by readers fascinated with possibilities the book evokes.
Things unheard of in the publishing world happened. Readers in Ukraine and Chile paid for translations into Russian and Spanish out of their own pocket. Readers in the US and Germany offered to record audiobook versions. Forty readers in China crowd-translated the book. Other readers created a knowledge base and further research efforts, and others still established an online news hub about organizational transformation inspired by the book. 

A Hopeful Message

The energy the book unleashed is one of hope. Many people sense that today’s management practices are exhausted. Reinventing Organizations shows how at every major stage in history, humanity has reinvented management in fundamental ways. It appears we are on the cusp of another big leap: the book traces the emergence of a new breed of organizations that no longer operate on the template that’s still being taught in business schools. They have invented radically more powerful and purposeful management practices, and the results they achieve are out of the ordinary. The hopeful message is this: if we know where to look, we can find the next generation of organizations already out there.  The book speaks to a broad audience. It has famously inspired Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh who ordered all managers to read it. It has inspired countless large businesses (Whole Food’s John Mackey is a fan) as well as Silicon Valley start-ups. Schools, hospitals, as well as police departments and government agencies have been inspired to think about management in whole new ways. Leading management thinkers have embraced Laloux’s research. In 2016, the Dalai Lama invited Laloux to share his findings with him.

Self-Management

Hierarchical, pyramidal structures can no longer deal with the complexity and speed of the today’s world. Nor with the aspirations of employees, in particular of the millennial generation. The trend towards self-managing structures is propelled by inevitable forces. Reinventing Organizations documents how self-management can work beyond the occasional agile coding team or small shop floor units. We now know that organizations of thousands or people can operate entirely in self-managing fashion, and Laloux’s research into the practical management processes of self-management (Who can make what decision, if there are no managers? Who gets a salary raise? How is conflict dealt with? What explains the stellar results that self-managing organizations consistently achieve? …) make him probably the world’s number one authority on self-management. 

Wholeness

At work, we tend to wear a professional mask. We conform to expectations, try to look successful and in control, and check out what makes us truly human—our vulnerabilities, doubts, deeper hopes and longings—at the door. Some pioneering organizations have understood that when we hide much of who we are behind a mask, we cut ourselves off from much of our passion, energy and creativity. They have put in place beautiful practices that invite us into wholeness and they have created truly soulful work places in the process. The vibrancy you can sense in these places is incomparable.

Evolutionary Purpose

Increasingly, organizations feel that the painful cycles of strategic planning, yearly budgets, KPIs and target setting is destroying more value than it creates. A number of pioneering organizations have cracked the code to switch from predict and control to sense and respond to achieve their purpose. This, of course, is at the heart of lean and agile management. What is new is that we now know how to scale this to the whole corporation (or nonprofit). The companies that Laloux researched are extraordinarily successful, and yet none of them has a strategic plan or targets! Budgets are inexistent or hold on one sheet of paper. Are they crazy? No, they simply have replaced outdated practices with more advanced ones that allow for dynamic steering.

A Simple Life

Frederic Laloux cuts a somewhat unusual figure among leading management gurus. To cashing in on the success of his work he prefers leading a simple life, spending most of his time with his wife and young children, and in the quiet presence of nature. He is a much thought-for speaker, but travels only a few times a year. His rare talks always leave a profound mark with his audiences, challenging them to reconsider many of the core assumptions they hold about people, work and management and inviting them to see new fields of possibilities. 

A Global Phenomenon

The emergence of a new management paradigm

At every major stage in history, humanity has reinvented management in fundamental ways. Tribal organizations were replaced by organizations of the agrarian age, that were replaced again with the scientific and industrial revolution. With the internet, the digitial revolution and AI, we are entering a new phase in history, and a new stage of management is emerging right in front of our eyes. Mixing story-telling from pioneering organizations and a conceptual framing to make sense of it all, Laloux challenges us to fundamentally rethink how organizations can be structured and run.

Self-management

All complex systems in the world operate based on self-managing principles, with distributed, networked authority. That’s how the global economy works, how the Internet functions, how all natural system—a forest, the bodies or the human brain—operate. Self-managing systems are orders of magnitude more powerful in dealing with complexity than pyramidal hierarchies. A number of extraordinary organizations have cracked the code and found how we can import these principles from nature and operate human work places at large scales without any traditional management and hierarchies. The results they achieve are consistently stunning, in times of booms and in times of busts.

Wholeness

In a personal, Brené-Brown like talk, Frederic can bring the audience to reflect on the cost that comes with wearing a professional mask at work, with trying to build and maintain an image of success and control. Drawing from his research, he shares vivid examples from organizations that have consciously put in place practices that make people feel safe to show up whole, and have created in the process truly vibrant and soulful work places. When we stop hiding much of who we are behind a mask, we recover enormous capacities of passion, energy and creativity. For many employees, it is a life changing experience.

Evolutionary purpose

Everyone has been through the painful cycles of strategic planning, yearly budgets, KPIs and target setting. But is there an alternative? A number of pioneering organizations have cracked the code to switch from predict and control to sense and respond. This, of course, is at the heart of lean and agile management. What is new is that we now know how to scale this to the whole corporation (or nonprofit). The companies that Laloux researched are extraordinarily successful, and yet none of them has a strategic plan, none of them operates with targets! Budgets are inexistent or hold on one sheet of paper. Are they crazy? No, they have simply replaced outdated methods with more advanced practices that allow for dynamic steering.

Reinventing hospitals and health care

Many hospitals have taken to the message of Reinventing Organizations. Through mergers and regulations, but also through inadequate management methods borrowed from the corporate world, hospitals are drowning in complexity and bureaucracy. Doctors and nurses are burning out, and patients rarely feel seen or heard in their humanity. What happens when we cut through the bureaucracy by creating small, self-managing units? What happens when doctors and nurses stop hiding behind a mask of professional excellence and re-learn to engage in deeper ways with patients? How can we stop managing for targets (predict and control), and beat targets by focusing on great care (sense and respond)? Could we turn hospitals, these often-soulless people-fixing factories into truly soulful places that honor the most fundamental stations of the human journey—birthing, suffering, healing and dying?

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