Reinventing Organisations - Notes and Yearn Food for Thought

By glennherriott | glennherriott | 23 Mar 2022

I thought i'd go through the book and write notes, including how the books material applies to Yearn, to help encourage conversation as we do the book review and to help those without the time to red.

How can Yearn act with a sense of radical abundance, as if Yearn were overflowing with goodness, truth, and beauty?

Aim for contributors to be truly inclusive with a non-marginalizing level of human consciousness

Integral stage is where we are at now, its pioneering

Mindsets, culture, behaviours and systems are intertwined. A change in any one dimension will ripple through all the others. So this could mean how do Yearn contributors approach their work, do they enjoy it? For culture, this refers to how well individuals feel they fit in, and get along with each other. For behaviours, how much work do people do, are their contributions recognised? For systems, this includes how work and individuals are organised. For example, the onboarding process.

Laloux's book shows that organisations operating at the integral or teal stage no longer work with dominator hierarchies, the boss-subordinate relationships that are pervasive in organisations today

In teal organisations, any person in any team can make literally any decision for the company. This makes each team, and each person in the team, much more integral - they can operate on any level in the hierarchy they are capable of, as long as they consult with those who will be affected by the decision.

The power games, the politics, and the infighting end up taking their toll on everybody - at the top and bottom of traditional hierarchial pyramid organisations. 

Lots of organisations do teal, non-profits, profits, those with hundreds of staff, and those with thousands

Impulsive-Red organisations people fight for survival (i.e. street gangs and mafias), conformist-Amber organisations are hierarchial with workers in need of direction and judged to be lazy. Workers in orange stay in their defined roles (i.e. Catholic church and military). Achievement orange is modern global corporations (i.e. walmart, Nike or Coca Cola) where more is considered better and we effectively live in the future consumed by mental chatter about things we need to do to reach goals set. Where Amber relied only on sticks, Orange came up with carrots. 

Pluralistic-Green strives for bottom-up processes, gathering input from all and trying to bring opposing points of view to eventual consensus. Green leaders should be servant leaders, listening to their subordinates, empowering them, motivating them, developing them. In green organisations promoting the culture and shared values is of primary importance. 

Should Yearn do 360-feedback? A green initiative.



If we look at an organisations structure, its practices, processes and its cultural elements we can generally discern what worldview they stem from (i.e. orange/green/teal for example?)

Should Yearn have a simplified mission statement? Beyond what's in the blue pill. Does Yearn have one already that I can't recall? Could this be summarised in a couple of sentences perhaps? 

Could Yearn donate X of profit to charity? via Givewell? as part of a mission to help bank the unbanked?

The shift to evolutionary-Teal happens when we learn to disidentify from our own ego. By looking at our ego from a distance, we can suddenly see how its fears, ambitions and desires often run our life. If we go Teal, then instead of setting goals for our life, dictating what direction it should take, we learn to let go and listen to the life that wants to be lived through us. As human beings, we are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold.

Corporate ills affecting Yearn: information hoarding and secrecy (maybe there should be a place where all contributors/doers share what they are working on so the rest of the organisation has visibility), ignoring problems away (does Yearn need to do more to help the DeFi industry grow? especially if we are in a bear market), silos (not all teams share progress/have visibility with other teams)

Important to remember that Yearn moves at the speed of trust

As people in Teal are busy exploring the calling in their lives, they are likely to affiliate only with organisations that have a clear and noble purpose of their own. Does Yearn? Is the aspiration to grow the DeFi industry and help people go bankless strong enough to attract Teal people?

Purpose is the guiding principle for teal organisational decision making. Also teal organisations will strive for wholeness and community, and will be places that support people's longing to be fully themselves at work, and yet be deeply involved in nourishing relationships.

Teal organisations talk about their org as a living organism or living system. Change in nature happens everywhere, all the time, in a self-organising urge that comes from every cell and every organism, with no need for central command and control to give orders or pull the levers

Teal organisations operate with a system of peer relationships, without the need for either hierarchy or consensus. Individuals have self-management

Teal organisations have developed a consistent set of practices that invite us to reclaim our inner wholeness and bring all of who we are to work (warts and all)

Teal orgs have an evolutionary purpose. They have a. life and a sense of direction of their own. Members listen in and understand what the organisation wants to become, what purpose it wants to serve. (Advice for new Yearn contributors: spend time in the various groupchats listening, on calls listening, and then find a task/issue you can work on using your skillset)

Meetings at Yearn when decisions are to be made have a facilitator who helps group decision making. Every voice heard and collective intelligence informs decision making. Like the Product calls on a Monday

In Teal, learning to lie with the amount of freedom and responsibility can take some times, and there are often moments of doubt, frustration, or confusion. 

Because there are no hierarchy of bosses over subordinates, space becomes available for other natural and spontaneous hierarchies to spring up

There are fluid hierarchies of recognition, influence, and skill. Some relationships may rely on one individual sharing their expertise and the other following the instructions. Another may rely on an inexperienced member expressing a clearer way of doing something (i.e. how to onboard new contributors), that isn't as apparent to the more experienced employee

At Yearn, onboarding team play a role of coaching self-management amongst new employees. What about existing employees too that may need/request it?

Regional coach can give advice or shared how other teams have solved similar problems. The coaches role is to ask insightful questions that help teams find their own solutions 


At Yearn, a regular task could be checking in on different teams asking how its going with project X, what do you think about Y, etc, perhaps every 2 weeks for each team

In Teal, the absence of rules and procedures imposed by headquarters, and lack of centralised staff functions (such as HR, strategy, legal etc), creates a huge sense of freedom and responsibility throughout the organisation.  Although there is less economies of scale because small teams each carry out their own recruitment, solve problems etc, there isn't the diseconomies of motivation when many tasks are centralised and controlled. Economies of scale is given up for unbridled motivation. 

Teal organisations built on foundation of mutual trust. Workers seen as reasonable people that can be trusted to do the right thing. With that premise, very few rules and control mechanisms are needed. People work with their natural rhythm.

When organisations are built on structures and practices that breed trust and responsibility, extraordinary and unexpected things start to happen. (Example given is a operator on a assembly line seeing a defective piece, owning the problem, driving 8 hours to Volkswagen to inspect all other shipped pieces) 

In teal orgs, project teams form organically and disband again when work is done. A huge amount of time freed by dropping formalities of project planning - writing plan, getting approval, reporting on progress, explaining variations, rescheduling, and re-estimating, and politics. 

Self-management brings the principles that account for successful free-market economies inside organisations.

In Teal orgs the job emerges from a multitude of roles and responsibilities an individual picks up based on their interests, talents, and the needs of the organisation.

In teal orgs anybody can put on the hat of the boss to bring about important decisions, launch new initiatives, hold underperforming colleagues to account, help resolve conflicts, or take over leadership if results are bad and action is needed

Rather than decisions through hierarchical authority (someone calls the shots, but many people frustrated) or consensus (slow) the advice process works better. Everybody with a stake has a voice and people have freedom to seize opportunities and make decisions (while taking into account other peoples voices). Advice process helps create community, humility, learning, better decisions, and fun.

People at Yearn should feel empowered to ask colleagues for advice and then get started on a project that is interesting to them that adds value 


^ Can think the same for contributors of Yearn. We're not going to have managers setting tasks and goals for contributors, instead contributors thought of as adults who can do this themselves


Shop floor is considered the strategists, everyone else serves to support them perhaps? Or does Yearn have another purpose?

Self-managing structures and the advice process build up over time a vast, collective reservoir of trust among colleagues


How can information flow be improved at Yearn? Easy access to team group chats for new contributors / people who want to join. Stewards creating a summary every week/month on work being done / opportunities for contributors to help with / problems being faced

Would a survey sent out to contributors at Yearn every few months help with direction we're heading?

Do contributors feel confident enough to hold fellow contributors to account if they disagree with something, or a colleague isn't carrying their weight? How can this be encouraged?

Morning Star encourages colleagued to write a personal mission statement and spell out all of the roles you commit to in a document called Colleague Letter of Understanding. Perhaps this is something Yearn could do to increase transparency across the organisation about who is doing what? For each role, you specify what it does , what authority you believe you should have, what indicators will help you understand if you are doing a good job, and what improvements you hope to make on those indicators.

In Teal orgs, people don't compete for scarce promotions. You can broaden the scope of your work and increase your pay if your colleagues are ready to entrust you with new roles.

At Yearn if you see a problem or an opportunity, you have an obligation to do something about it, and most often "something" is to go and talk about it with the colleague whose role relates to the topic

New people at Yearn encouraged to be proactive, show initiative, and be trusted to shape their own journeys

What prevents teams from getting complacent if no boss setting targets, pressuring to cut costs/do quicker? Intrinsic motivation, calibrated by peer emulation and market demands

In teal orgs, all employees are powerful - not just the bosses in trad orgs. Employees encouraged to grow into the strongest, healthiest version of themselves.


Ideas: values day (through playful and introspective activities to revisit the orgs purpose and values), values meeting (every 2 months people can bring up issues they have encountered with values in the workplace and suggest changes to values), annual survey (to cultivate discussion about values and ground rules)

Teal orgs believe we need integrity and wholeness to transcend the primacy of profits and heal our relationship with the world

Maybe dev people should do onboarding for devs? That is what it is implied a teal org does, since its team members that do the interviewing not a recruitment dept.


Fundamental question in the recruitment process for both interviewer and interviewee: are we meant to journey together?

Confused about what holacracy is. I know its an org that brings in teal perspectives to the workplace for others orgs


How can Yearn team members be trained in self management? How do you problem solve and what are meeting practices? You reach out to people, you organise a group chat for something. For problem solving, you come up with ideas and share these with other contributors, and seek advice

How can people show up more authentically to Yearn? Use of social channel to talk about the good/bad parts of life perhaps. I think the People of Yearn series sharing individuals hobbies can help people build relationships with fellow contributors

New contributors can be invited to reflect on their personal calling and how it resonates with the broader organisational purpose.

How can the purpose be simplified at Yearn so that new recruits understand it quickly? This would be without changing our manifesto/blue pill. Just thinking how could we best explain our purpose to new contributors

People who have made it to coordinape could share some information about their journey to get there, the experience in the org so far, alignment with purpose, good/bad things 

the fortnightly new contributor call a form of 'training to establish a common culture'?. Can cover topics like organisational purpose, values, decision making mechanisms , and how to get things done without hierarchy

Having an absence of job titles, and being known as a contributor, means we are more likely to see each other as human beings first, who just happen to put our energy into specific work roles during a period of time

With no job descriptions in teal orgs, no one telling us how to do a particular job, we might as well do it from our own selfhood, and infuse it with our unique personality and talents

Creating a bounty board for non-dev tasks could be a valuable way to keep new contributors

When talking to potential new contributors, these are questions I want to seek out about people's current work, so I can say for Yearn you can find the answer to these:


In teal orgs, performance management becomes a time of inquiry and celebration, rather than judgment and control. 

Potential questions to include in People of Yearn:


Thinking about giving feedback to existing employees, once a year could have a meeting with their peers where each of peers answers about the person in question: 1)what is the one thing i most value about working with you, 2)what is one area i sense you could change and grow

What questions could be asked in onboarding to learn whether someone is a good fit for a self-management, wholeness workplace?



Yearn (maybe) needs a mission statement that everyone knows, and it directs their work everyday IMO. This would be an energy that inspires and gives direction. Shows we are purpose over profit - perhaps? If we're all about decentralised banking, maybe it can be about helping people in low-income countries to use crypto (africa for example? how can we bank the unbanked? is there a way people could spend Yearn vault funds with a IRL debit card in developing countries? People could earn funds online and then spend IRL, would help people out of poverty perhaps, what about for the people in Philippines who earnt through Axie)

Maybe targeted DeFi guides for different countries/regions. How can people find their place / their community in crypto to help them live a more purposeful life?

We help people get returns on their cryptocurrency, so they can spend more money on the things that matter to them - not a bad mission statement, but can we go deeper?

One company in RO actually never wrote down its purpose in the form of a mission statement. The employees talk about it all the time, but they find that keeping it oral keeps it alive, and prevents it from becoming constraining. By not writing it down it allows the purpose to be evolutionary.

People seek when coming to work at Yearn: 1) what is my calling? 2) what is truly worth achieving?

'Profit is like the air we breathe. We need air to live, but we don't live to breathe'

Teal view of business is that we are coming together as a community to fill a human need and actualize our lives

Questions to find Yearn's evolutionary purpose: "what is this organizations calling?", "What is this life, this living system's creative potential?"

In teal orgs, there is no strategy in the form of a document that charts out a course. Instead, people in these companies have a. very clear, keen sense of the organization's purpose and a broad sense of the direction the organization might be called to go.

With regards to budgeting, instead of trying to predict and control, teal orgs try to sense and respond. Important consideration since if funds were more widely available to contributors at Yearn to issue bounties to new contributors, then perhaps more could get done, we could move faster at the speed of trust.

We could look far ahead when deciding the projects for Yearn, but plan only for the next days/week. This is because there is so much change into the future it is difficult to plan ahead

In self-managing orgs, people can choose to set themselves targets when they find it useful.

In teal orgs, people are free to act on what sense is needed, they are not bozied in by static job descriptions, reporting lines, and functional units. They can react creatively to life's emerging, surprising, non-linear unfolding. Change is a given, it happens naturally, everywhere, all the time, mostly without pain and effort.

Interesting idea:


Great questions to ask potential new contributors:


I think at Yearn it could be cool if once a new contributor has chatted with onboarding team, they then have a chat scheduled to talk 1-1 with a team member from the team they're joining. No longer than 15 minutes. I think if Yearn contributors not willing to do this, then perhaps we should reevaluate whether we are really desiring/in need of new contributors. I think it would be a good way to help integrate new contributors

Yearn about helping people find their calling in the world, not just to grow DeFi. The sweetspot is the intersection between individual calling and Yearn's organisational purpose

Achievement orange is shareholder model of profit, pluralistic-Green is about serving different stakeholders, evolutionary teal perspective views org as an energy field, emerging potential, a form of life that transcends its stakeholders. Contributors are merely stewards of the organisation, the vehicle that listens in to the organisations deep creative potential to help it do its work in the world (confusing / revolutionary at the same time - not sure how I feel about this)


Culture shouldn't be forced. It should emerge


A good activity would be to evaluate how Yearn performs on the 4 quadrants in relation to whether we're orange/amber/green/teal

Behaviour - friendly, get work done, maybe don't interact cross-team as much, maybe not as transparent between teams/of work done as Teal would encourage, not enough people involved in onboarding new contributors perhaps

Mindset - committed to DeFi, creating a place where users earn returns on their crypto, committed to Yearn, at one with their purpose? Difficult to say

Culture - people are friendly, helpful, their is regular discussions in the social channel on telegram, #enlightened chat on discord helps foster a social element there too

Systems - buddy system, integrating new contributors to join new groups and chat, the welcome message on SSE are all good Teal things. Think more bounties important to help us grow and pay contributors fairly in their first few months important




Would be interesting to see how a textbook teal org as described above compares with Yearn, i.e. what parts do we differ on and why?

These are the ways to develop a culture:


So at Yearn employees could be encouraged to challenge their personal beliefs about the purpose/values to bring up questions so values/manifesto/blue pill aligns well. With role-modelling new employees encouraged to have a buddy to help them settle into the culture. In terms of structures/processes/practices, having an onboarding process whereby only the right people who show a fit to the org make it through to be added to relevant group chats

Role models crucial so other people can see how self-management, wholeness, purpose works in practice and copy/follow.

At Yearn leaders expected to show energy of action: "what we do and how we do it". Also relationship, refers to the energy brought to the interactions: what we say, how we say it, how we relate to each other. Context in turn is the energy of meaning and purpose, of connection with a larger whole. 

Could Yearn leaders/role models/doers do more to talk to new contributors? I think if somehow we could make doers less busy/less stressed in their roles this would be good, and would provide room for them to step back and look at bigger picture of where Yearn is going

How connected is every Yearn leader with the meaning and purpose? Pretty connected I think. Difficult question to answer

What assumptions do we have about contributors at Yearn? I suggest: people are considered to be good (reliable, self-motivated, trustworthy, intelligent); there is no performance without happiness

In teal orgs, everybody, not just a few at the top, is vested in his or her work, the organization's purpose, its culture, its results, its reputation, and so on. Called "psychological ownership"

Intrinsic motivation that their work and the organization's purpose inspire in them can help people operate at the top of their game. Peer emulation and pressure from the market can play a part too

I wonder if Yearn could do an internal hackathon, thinking about all the different ideas we could do to take our org to the next level, would spark peer emulation 

In terms of evolutionary purpose, it's not about crafting a soon-forgotten mission statement, or what you think the organisation should be or should do. Instead, it's about you and your colleagues getting a sense of the unique purpose your organisation wants to manifesst in the world. It's about looking at your company as a living organism with a soul and a purpose of its own.

For Yearn, how about connecting all parts of the world with finance.

For a teal org, to measure success the interesting question is: to what extent do the organisations accomplishments manifest its purpose? 

With Yearn this could be about how we have 5b in locked value, with users from all over the world. It would be good to know stories about how Yearn has benefited people though, perhaps providing a safe place to store wealth in difficult parts of the world




Next reading? Lands of Lorecraft Zemm shared on the 13th March in the marketing and growth chat

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Passionate about the environment. Hobbies include supporting Arsenal and playing video games (warzone / fifa)


Blockchain, Climate Change

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