Through time we have embodied a common fear-based approach on how we see the world. We see it as a dangerous place where competitors are assumed to steal from the company at any moment. Furthermore, they must be fought to ensure the survival of the company by seizing every opportunity to grow or to make a profit despite the environmental or ethical aspects of our actions.

By transitioning to Teal people are learning to control and tame the fears of their ego. Deeper questions of the individual and collective purpose and meaning are expected to arise, now that there is room for them due to the foundation built on self-management and wholeness practices. Survival is no longer a fixation – what truly matters is the founding purpose. The purpose should give energy that inspires and gives direction to everyday operations, instead of being just empty words in a mission statement no one remembers.

Evolutionary Teal restaurants are seen as living systems with their own identity, energy, creative potential and a sense of direction. Every member of the team works as a sensor, helping the venue to grow and thrive naturally by listening to their true purpose and calling. Money and limitless growth are not the end goal, they are the by-product, the sum of all the others.

I encourage you to let the self-management practices work their magic and to practice sensing which things are working and which are not. Already now at work we are sensing all the time, everywhere, but in traditional organizations the information is often filtered out or watered down. Workers on any level should be able to suggest an improvement idea instead of limiting it to be solely the managers responsibility (who many times have to act based on distorted, far from reality, info they get).

Just like in nature, innovation doesn’t happen centrally. It happens all the time at the edges when organisms sense a change in the environment and tries to find a suitable response by experimenting. Some experiments fail and others spread widely across the whole ecosystem. Strategic work at bars is sometimes just simply a matter of trial and error. Seeking advice, making a calculated decision and then failing, should not be punished. Mistakes are like conflicts – great opportunities for learning. By letting your staff try, you build trust. It’s a natural way of learning, as adjusting to obstacles covid has imposed on us during the past year.

Sensing is followed by a response. Being agile and adapting to the surrounding environment is an essential skill needed in a modern bar. The “Good Enough for now, Safe Enough to Try” (GESET, a concept stemming from Sociocracy 3.0) is a good mindset to remember. There is not always time to make perfect decisions and it might be better not to get stuck in the details, to trust each other and give each other the freedom to act when needed. Sometimes it’s even the only way to move forward, since there might not be any similar examples on how to approach the situation (again, lessons were learned due to covid). Adjust your route on the way, don’t rely blindly on the directions you got years ago.

Strategic movements happen organically all the time as people are encouraged to sense and respond, to try out different ideas in the bar. What results is a bar based on collective intelligence. Feedback for the decisions and outcomes comes from reality, not from guesswork or the ivory tower. Reality works as the referee, not the boss, the board or the CEO.

About ten years ago I saw a BBC documentary “The Code” explaining the hexagon shape and how it appears in various parts of nature. Bees build their honeycomb from numerous hexagonal cells to use as little wax as possible to divide a surface into regions of equal area with the least total perimeter, making it the most efficient and strong storage for honey.

The hexagonal columns of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway (UNESCO World Heritage Site) have been shaped naturally through years due weathering. The shell of a turtle optimizes material use for a curved surface via hexagonal shapes. The formation is the result of millions of years of evolution and presents a natural solution to the mathematical and physical problem of creating a dome-like structure that is both strong and lightweight.

Even though the back of a turtle is not a perfect combination of hexagon shapes, that’s sort of the intention. It’s purpose is to shape itself to be as strong, resilient and efficient as possible. Similarly, bars are evolving and aiming to create the most efficient, strong and resilient bar model there could possible be.

My goal is to be the best version of me and I feel that these Teal practices give a great framework for pursuing that. Teal might sound like a utopian neverland at the moment but that’s where we are heading, naturally. It might take some time and we might not be perfect, but that should be our lifelong goal. At least for me it is.

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Mika Ammunét Written by:

Bar Manager, Future Bar Owner

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