Teal Organization Vs French Laws – Round 1

I am currently reading the very interesting book from Frederic Laloux: Reinventing Organization, thanks to some Start Up CEO’s I have met a few weeks ago.

A lot to say on the book, and I will definitely have the occasion to write more about it, as if you really decide to read it, with an open mind, it leads you to a lot of introspection about your HR practices and about your vision of Labor within people’s life.

For today, I had fun reading a specific part of the book meanwhile French Government and Labor Minister, Muriel Penicaud, and Unions are trying to change the French Labor to more “modernity” (No judgment so far…).

For those not familiar yet with Frederic Laloux’s work, he is defining a new area of business organization, yet to come, the TEAL Organization, coming after Red (Authoritarian) (Yeah “Bossy one”, sure you know about it), Amber (Pyramidal) Orange (Meritocratic and taget oriented) and Green (Collaborative)… (Oh ! Go get the book guys, too much to sum up in one sentence!)

One of the three main real breakthroughs in TEAL Organization being “Self-Management”. Yep, no more managers or hierarchy, seem crazy, I know, but still an idea to think about…

One of his example about the greatness of “Self-Management” takes place in a French Brass Foundry called FAVI. A very early freedom-form company (or F-form company) were there is no Hierarchy or direct management, not even from the CEO. (Paradise or Hell, you choose! probably depends on your CEO…)

However, Frederic Laloux gives an example about a Friday when the CEO was traveling and away from the factory. Team members received a request for an extra order from a customer to deliver on Sunday. Double of the habitual size order. He describes how the employees without even asking the CEO (and managers, rember they is no Managers, please stay focus !) have decided to add 3 shifts on Saturday and Sunday, ask for volunteers and made it possible. No one asked to be paid extra time, they have just organized themselves to take some extra leaves to compensate the work.

Inspiring moment indeed. What Macron’s Government (Emmanuel Macron being our current French President), Muriel Penicaud and Unions need now to figure out is the number of Legal Risks this decision could have trigger in this company or another depending of the Collective Labor Agreement and/or Specific Agreement in place in a French company.

Quick laundry list:

  • Violation of the legislation on Sunday compulsory day off. (Working on Sunday can only happen under very specific occasion and areas)
  • Violation of the maximal working hours in the week if some volunteers had added a shift on Saturday and one on Sunday.
  • Concealed employment for not paying the extra time of work. (Criminal offence, if convinced guilty, employer will have it on his criminal record)
  • If any injury had happened what about the company liability?
  • CEO direct responsibility to assume in very impacting ways, a decision he was not aware at all.

Understand me correctly, I am not saying that the Team members made it wrong, neither that FAVI team members are trying to make a leaving dream happen.

I am not judging at all the situation or Frederic Laloux’s book, it is way to soon for me to have an opinion on it yet.

I am just underlining, emphasizing, sharing, the gap that we still need to fill out in France to be ready to take the risk for CEO’s or Employees in looking for a new way of organization and the mountain that our French government and Unions are facing now.

However, I’ll continue reading the book and revisit my practice while discovering the amazing example provided in it.

After all; “One need not hope in order to undertake nor succeed in order to persevere”




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