How we're tracking with Teal

Courtney Dutton, 3 min read

How we're tracking with Teal

At Yarno, our sagacious MD, Lachy, is steering us towards working in self-managed teams, and ultimately, towards becoming a fully 'Teal' organisation. We've talked about this a bit already, but in short, 'Teal' organisations are the next evolutionary step in how organisations run. Instead of strict hierarchy, where everyone reports up the line, and decisions are made down the line, Teal organisations work in self-managed teams, all making decisions about their own area of expertise. It's premised on logic: the person who is closest to the consequences of a decision is tasked with making that decision; decisions are made based on who has knowledge in a particular area, rather than according to the (at times arbitrary) parameter of who is highest in the chain of command.

In the interests of transparency and keeping-you-in-the-loop-edness, we'd like to share with you a couple of the new Teal-developments at Yarno. Here we go!

Decisions, decisions

Lachy has done it again. He's turned something that often eludes us into a process that can be easily and endlessly replicated. What? Decision making. How? A decision template.

I know, you must be jumping out of your skin in template-induced excitement. But it is actually pretty amazing - it's a process that even the most procedure-deficient person can stick to. You can read all about it properly here, but basically, it's a cheat-sheet for making the right decision every time. The decision template:

  1. Empowers anyone to make a decision.
  2. Ensures that proper thought and research has been put into any decision.
  3. Allows for conflicting views but doesn't require consensus.

A note on consensus

Ultimately, decisions at Yarno require consent, not consensus. This means that while everyone is entitled to weigh in and add their opinion to the decision, the buck stops with the person who drafted the proposal. Unanimity is a fantasy, there will always be disagreement. So, while we need others to weigh-in, we don't need their absolute approval in all things.

Goodbye, managers

We're not there yet, but we're getting close: we're looking to eliminate traditional "manager" roles completely.


Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. We want to allow every Yarnoer the freedom to make decisions and take initiative, while also requiring them to take responsibility for the outcome of those decisions, and management of Yarno as a whole. So, we don't simply eliminate traditional managerial roles - we doll out managerial responsibilities to everyone. In this way, everyone is a manager, and everyone is a boss. We're responsible for our actions, and everyone is accountable to one another.

How does this work in practice?

Well, through the decision template as we've already discussed. But, more holistically, by dividing up managerial roles between ourselves. So, instead of one person being a manager, we all take on some form of the managerial function. How do we do this? Well, instead of hiring a 'manager' we broke the manager role down into functions and divided those functions between team-members. Here's some example of functions:

  • Anticipating: Everyone can anticipate the future, but some teams might find it useful to have one person dedicate time to anticipate the need for long term changes.
  • Planning: This may be resource planning based on upcoming campaigns or development work.
  • Recruiting: Taking the lead in the recruitment process of new Yarnoers.
  • On-boarding: Taking the lead in organising the on-boarding of new Yarnoers.

This is just a taste of managerial roles of course, there's many more. Through thinking of managing as a function rather than a role, we're able to divvy up those functions between ourselves. Spread them out, making sure nobody misses out. And through this, we take responsibility: for our decisions, for company strategy, and of course, for the future of Yarno.

Next steps

As I mentioned, we're getting there, but we're not fully Teal...yet. However, this year is set to be the year. Right now, we're working on a product ideas strategy session whereby we can all submit our proposals of where we want to steer the Yarno product-ship. Developers, marketers, sales - we all get to put in. And from there, we discuss, collaborate, and of course, move this ship forward.

Courtney Dutton

Courtney is the face behind the Yarno blog. She’s our fact-finding expert, Instagram connoisseur and the only person we know who can write 1500 words and fix a fence in the same half hour.

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