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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Oct 2, 2020

Dan is excited today to be joined by his guest, Simon Holzapfel. Simon is the founder and Executive Director of Copper Beech & Company, where they provide financial literacy for high net worth families. He is also an educator, agilist, and learning innovator. He has dedicated his entire adult life to equipping young adults with the knowledge and skills they require to work, think, and live well.


In this episode, they will be exploring the topic of the Teal movement, Agile organizations, and education during the pandemic. Simon thoroughly explains what the Teal movement is, why it is important, and what it looks like when applied to a variety of organizations. He also shares about a unique project he is a part of and what they’re doing to bring authentic agile to the world.


Key Takeaways

What is the Teal movement?

A reference narrative for how the world of work is, how it has evolved, and where it is going

It is a navigation tool to understand how you can achieve the next level

Laloux (the founder of the movement) proposes that there is a concentric circle to how organizations have developed over time

Red: Command authority, division of labor, power, fear, and chaos (examples: street gangs, mafia, tribal militias)

Yellow: Hierarchy, stability, control, formal roles, long-term perspective (examples: traditional churches, governments, public schools)

Orange: Competition, accountability, meritocracy, objectives, profit (examples: public universities, large corporations)

Green: Delight customers, shared values, engagement, stakeholder balance, culture over strategy, empower (examples: Ben & Jerry’s, Southwest Airlines) — This is where agility tends to live right now

Teal: The next iteration of agility into antifragile organizations, built around higher purpose, self-management, distributed decision-making, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose

Laloux is not saying other colors other than teal is bad; he is saying that all of the other colors are instrumental and getting to where we are now — but they’re cruft

Laloux recommends, as a society, we shed these other colors as best as we can

Recommended further reading: Reinventing Organizations, by Frédéric Laloux

Where this movement connects to different organizations:

Teal education: Students are encouraged to ‘pull’ information into their lives rather than be pushed into learning (Examples: eduScrum, Montessori education)

Teal manufacturing: self-organization, teams pulling in work (as opposed to work being pushed on to them), and bringing your whole self to work (Examples: Morning Star, Buurtzorg)

What Teal organizations look like/involve:

A healthy bottom line

They are incredibly efficient at generating value

Employees are far more productive because they are listened to, encouraged, and engaged

They foster more active engagement which, in turn, creates better results and outcomes

It’s not about no rules or no structures; it is simply a different set of principles (by and large, the agile mindset)

Involves intent-based leadership

Trust is incredibly important without it, everything will fall apart

Everything is visible and transparent (visibility is the trust builder)

The leaders or teachers create a feedback-rich environment so that the employees/students can learn quickly

About the BU Agile Innovation Lab:

The goal: Bring authentic agile to the world (including college students by meeting them where they are with the interests that they have)

They want to complement schools and not compete with them

They are striving to create a more open ‘meta’ that creates more equity

Authentic agility + trying to introduce more Teal structures


Mentioned in this Episode:

Simon Holzapfel’s LinkedIn

Teal Model (Image)

Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, by Frédéric Laloux

Boston University Agile Innovation Lab: Agile in Education Conference (Oct. 23rd–24th)

Morning Star


Montessori Education

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by David Marquet

Willy Wijnands | eduScrum


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