On 6th December 2018, Lou Close, Karen Mason and Jacqui Sjenitzer were delighted to be co-hosting their first ever Teal Fest event together.

The day was held in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria at the inspiring Rheged Discovery Centre.  Attracting forward thinking leaders from across the UK, the day was filled with deeply engaging discussions around cultivating healthy ways of leading our organisations.

Welcome and Introductions

Karen started the day by welcoming everyone to Teal Fest… sharing a little of her own story and the origins of Teal Fest.

How from working in a very traditional command and control, orange style, organisation, she left 11 years ago determined to discover more effective organisation models. This quest led her to the work of Frederic Laloux which has provided the opportunity to explore his principles for “teal” organisations. Intuitively, Karen believes his principles feel like a better way to organise and worth exploring more deeply.

Karen is working alongside Jacqui and Lou, bringing teal thinking to curious clients who are ready to turn these principles into action. Teal Fest is just such an opportunity to be curious and experiment.

Lou then introduced herself and started to engage the group, facilitating personal introductions.

Each table was asked to share their responses to introductory questions with one another…

“What are you bringing with you and
hat hare you hoping to take away?”

On completing introductions, Lou explained the session format and our intention for our specially designed learning logs.

Lou finished with an overview of the rules for Open Space, encouraging everyone to use our “Questions” flip chart to capture emerging questions for the Open Space discussions.

Jacqui was up next to introduce herself…

…and then facilitate an activity, inviting everybody to share how they want to be together today.

David Marquet

We were delighted to share a special shout out message from David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around!

… taking us to our first coffee break.

Open Space Session 1

After the break we moved straight into the first Open Space sessions. The 3 topics being explored were:

1.      Exploring evolutionary purpose, with Karen.

Why does your organisation exist?

What difference does your organisation make in the community in which you operate?

Why does being clear about your purpose matter?

2.      Creating courageous leaders with Jacqui.

What are our ‘arenas’ and what is our personal relationship with vulnerability (uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure)?

How do we handle tough conversations?

How do we build cultures built on trust, and accountability?

How do we choose what’s right, over what’s fun, fast, comfortable, or easy?

How do we rise after our falls?

 3.      Whilst Lou facilitated the first emergent topic.

“How do we inspire leaders and team members to take action,

be “activists” in creating more human organisations?”

Message from the Corporate Rebels

A personal message from Pim de Morree co-founder of the Corporate Rebels took us up to our lunch break.

Open Space Session 2

After a delicious lunch we moved straight into our second Open Space session. The three topics for exploration included:

1.      Understanding wholeness in the context of work, with Jacqui.

Let’s talk about the enormous energy that’s set free when we finally drop the masks and dare to be fully ourselves.

How do we create safe spaces for speaking our truth?

How do we reinvent familiar processes and practices?  e.g. performance evaluations, meetings, perceptions of working hours.

2.      Creating conscious capitalism, with Lou.

“How do you square the circle of making a profit with delivering wholesome workplaces
which nurture workers and honour customers, whilst treating partners
such as suppliers and the community in which your organisation sits,
as equal stakeholders?”

3.      Space for the emergent topic was held by Karen. 

“How do we engage more compassion for self and others in the workplace?
What impact might this have?”


Open Space Session 3

Following refreshments, we moved into the final Open Space sessions of the day. The three topics being explored included:

1.      Developing self-managing teams with Lou.

What does it take to truly devolve power and control over your product or service to the people responsible for delivering it, and indeed, why would you want to?

How do people self-organise and self-manage in a safe and sustainable way which allows them to flourish and delivers excellence to your customers, without compromising quality or raising governance issues?


2.      Creating inspiring thinkers with Karen.

As leaders, how do we let go of control and encourage independent thinking?

How does encouraging people to think for themselves enhance engagement and performance?

3.      The emergent topic was hosted by Jacqui.

“What stories are your workforce telling about your leadership?
How would it be to find out?”

It was fascinating to observe how each session attracted a good mix of interest. People grew in confidence to use the Law of Two Feet and as the day went on felt quite comfortable moving between sessions to where they wanted to be. All the discussions were engaging and enabled fresh thinking and insights for those participating.

Closing Message by Henry Stewart

Our closing guest message of the day was from Henry Stewart of Happy. Henry shared closing thoughts taking us into a final plenary session where we gathered emergent thinking and reflections from the day.

Closing Plenary

Lou invited everyone to pair up pair and to share with one another

“What has emerged for you today and what do you plan to do with this?”

Jacqui invited freshest thinking into the room and we asked people individually to appreciate, in a word or short phrase, their experience of the day. There was a wonderful buzz as we worked around the room, hearing from everybody.

Postcards were handed out, and everyone asked to write themselves a message, which will land on their doorstep in one month’s time, reminding them of what they hoped to have done by now.

The day closed with a huge “thank you” to everyone for participating and making the day such an incredible success.

The buzz continued for a short while as people prepared to leave the special space they had created. Posting cards into the bucket on their way out, knowing our link to the Teal Fest web page, with all the lovely goodies we want to share, is on its way!


Book list and references
Reinvention of ELCAP paper by Lou Close
There were so many fabulous ideas emerging from each of the Open Space discussions. Here you can read our separate post, “Turning Teal, 45 Emerging Ideas”, where Karen, Lou and Jacqui share highlights from each session.

Teal Fest 2019

We appreciate that ideas about about the next stages of organisation development, and Teal thinking, is continually evolving. So we’d love you to join us to share fresh thoughts at Teal Fest 2019. This event will build on our learning from 2018 and will be held on Thursday 6th June.

Register your interest to be kept informed.

One last step...

Please enter your details below and wait for the next page to load where you'll get access to the private Facebook group for the challenge.

You have Successfully Subscribed!