Meet Erwin Van Waelegham The Tealspirator

Erwin wears two hats on and off.  A first one as full time police commissioner in the City of Leuven (Belgium) and the second one, with real passion and full dedication, as tealspirator and instigator of several initiatives towards more humane and essential values driven leadership.


What might be your need?

Our world today is certainly VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) and is rapidly changing into a complexity which has never occurred before.   So many things are happening which are threatening the basic values and fundamentals of society as we have known it for most of our lives.  We are no longer in an era of change, but truly in the midst of a change of era, and this is also changing our worldviews.  While devastating incidents create sadness and more negative emotions in all of us, we could also look at things as an abundance of opportunities in the long run.  Together, as a result of our human resilience, we can co-create a better society for all.  

The group of people thinking about and acting towards a sustainable cultural and social innovation, as a next step evolution towards a better society, is constantly growing and is about to reach the critical mass, needed to really become mainstream.

You, as a possible innovator, might be looking for likeminded people, for some support and best practices, for tools you could use towards a pragmatic transformation project, or just for an audience to share your own story and possible pitfalls with.   Or you might just be curious about the current organizational developments.  

Amongst a growing number of social innovative inspirators, Erwin Van Waeleghem, a Belgian police commissioner, has made it his life’s mission to inspire as many people as possible, across the globe, by introducing them to the next stage social innovative paradigm (also known as the Teal paradigm), which finds its bases in the positive essential human values that connect us as a species.  

Erwin Van Waeleghem’s bio and a video introduction provides you with more insight into Erwin’s background and demeanor.

Erwin will be sharing his insights, ideas and life experiences on this topic, also sharing the example of his team’s cultural transformation project within the local police force of Leuven, Belgium.

Join us for a live video webinar on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Daylight Time (= GMT – 7)!

You can click to RSVP with the Portland Meetup Group or send Christine an email ( to receive the link to the webinar (and if full, the recording). You may also send your questions in advance!!

We feel it is time to reach out to pioneers of this new “paradigm,” connect like-minded people who are willing to experiment, and also would like to create communities of practice.


The word ‘teal’ has two meanings.  It is the color ‘bluegreen’ and also the name of a type of duck which holds the teal color in its feathers.  It was the American philosopher, Ken Wilber, who first used the color Teal as a next step in personal consciousness and organizational development, in his own view and work on the ‘spiral dynamics’ ideas of Dr. Clare W. Graves.  

The Teal paradigm refers to the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness. The Teal paradigm emphasizes the identity and purpose of the organization as a separate entity, and not merely as a vehicle for achieving management’s objectives. Teal organizations focus on its members’ abilities to self-organize and self-manage to achieve the purpose of themselves in balance with the organization’s purpose. The hierarchical “plan, command and control” structure, typical of Amber and Orange Organizations, is replaced with a self-organizing network structure consisting of small worker teams that assume all the traditional management functions as well. Positions and job descriptions are replaced with roles, where one worker can fill multiple roles. The organizational structure in Teal is fluid, changing and adapting as circumstances demand to achieve the organization’s purpose.  

The three paradigm breakthroughs, as mentioned by Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations, are:

‘wholeness’: people and organization can truly be themselves, in a maskless and honest relationship,

‘evolutionary purpose’: the purpose of people and organization is constantly evolving through time.  When attention is given to the balance between own and organizational purpose, true intrinsic engagement is a natural way of successfully achieving excellence,

‘self-management’: as a consequence of the first two breakthroughs a much more co-creative working relationship can be established, where everyone is responsible, accountable but also very highly valued and appreciated, for his/her own leadership within the given task frame and role.  

More information can be found on:

These principles and ideas of more participation, more personal leadership and more intrinsic engagement and motivation are not that new.  Even in ancient times, Chinese (Lao Tsu,…) and Greek philosophers (Plato,…) already wrote essays on this subject.  

The current ideas on more human-based organizations also find their bases in the oppositional movement (e.g. Mary Parker Follett, Lilian Gilbreth,…) against Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ and Weber’s ‘bureaucracy’, which started in the early 1920’s, and which also influenced the rise of the ‘human relations movement’ (Elton Mayo, …).

So next to the several great examples described in ‘Reinventing Organizations’, in the last few decades a lot of books were written on other successful cultural transformation examples.  Some titles might help you to get an idea on how this subject has evolved since the last half century:

  • The Human Side of Enterprise  (Douglas McGregor – 1960)
  • Up the Organization (Robert Townsend – AVIS – 1970)
  • Maverick  (Ricardo Semler – Semco – 1993)
  • More than a Motorcycle  (Rich Teerlink – Harley Davidson – 2000) 
  • Good to Great (Jim Collins – 2001)
  • It’s Your Ship  (+ sequels – Mike Abrashoff – USS Benfold – 2002) 
  • The Seven Day Weekend  (Ricardo Semler – Semco – 2003)
  • The Speed of Trust  (Stephen Covey Jr. – 2005)
  • Freedom, Inc. (Isaac Getz & Brian M. Carney – numerous examples – 2009)
  • Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh – Zappos – 2010)
  • Start with Why  (Simon Sinek – 2011)
  • Unboss  (Lars Kolind & Jacob Botter – 2013) 
  • Turn Your Ship Around  (David Marquet – USS Santa Fe – 2013)
  • etc. 

INFO on the International TEAL FOR TEAL Community.

Teal for Teal ( as a community, was founded in May 2015, by Philippine Linn and Ernst Bechinie in Lausanne, Switzerland.  They gathered a number of business coaches, consultants and trainers, to discuss on how to bring the principles of the book ‘Reinventing Organizations’ (Frederic Laloux – 2014) inside the interested organizations and companies they worked for. Soon after Philippine met with Erwin, who founded the Belgian branch of Teal for Teal, but also started spreading the ideas of this community within his large international network. Teal for Teal International now has over 33 regional groups over 16 countries and is constantly growing. As a consequence of his successful work in Belgium, Erwin Van Waeleghem, was asked by the founders to become the third international steward. The initial goal public of consultants, coaches and trainers has since also been opened up towards business leaders, CEO’s, managers and internal innovators.

Evolutionary Purpose of Teal for Teal

Our Why, at this moment, is:  To contribute to more humane and human-values-based co-creation within organisations, and in doing this, also have a lasting and big positive impact on a positive paradigm-shift towards a better, more participative and more positive human values based society.”

We try to reach our purpose through:

  • connecting the Teal dots: we bridge the island gaps between the several sectors of society which could benefit from this community
  • establishing Teal for Teal groups locally, regionally, nationally and globally, where coaches, consultants, trainers, internal innovators, CEO’s, managers and facilitators co-create together, supporting their local and multi-local communities to grow towards humane workplaces.
  • inviting people to find ways to share natural resources
  • connect everybody in the Teal world so that it becomes a recognisable movement for the general public


Principles of cooperation help us to know how we will work together. It is very important that these principles be simple, co-owned, and well understood.  Below, you can find some of our main principles:

  • Equilibrity:   All voices in the system have value, so we listen well (with an open mind and heart) to each other. There is no competition, as we keep enlarging the pie for us all and our community will be richest if we let all members contribute in their distinctive way, appreciating the differences in roles, education, backgrounds, interests, skills, characters, points of view, etc.
  • Benevolence:  everything we contribute as participant is open to anybody, we are inclusive and willing to share;
  • Constructiveness:  We do not proclaim a revolution, we do not proclaim to fight the existing “system,” but work from within to build on the good things that our society has evolved towards up to now. Thus, in contributing towards an “Teal” evolution, we will bring humankind back to its essentials.
  • Freedom:  A major principle for the Teal for Teal community is that competition stays at the front door of the meeting location and your education, professional training and model/method/system background does not matter at all, as long as you can execute it towards the higher teal-purpose.

The Teal-paradigm is not  just another “system” or model that can be used as a bundle of “tips and tricks” to make organizations better.  It is a way forward, a basic mindset, a next step paradigm, where methodologies, systems, models such as Holacracy, Sociocracy, Theory U, Lean, Agile, Scrum, etc. (being the tools) can contribute to.

 How do we see the future?

We hope that Teal for Teal International can grow more towards a global community, and in this having a positive influence on the change of era in our society. We are currently preparing to set up a cooperative foundation to strengthen our work in a more structured way, so that renewed organizational culture can become a more tangible catalyst for innovative projects.

Current Target audience:  everyone interested in organizational transformation towards sustainable and social innovation, in an evolution towards teal-principles within work-relationships, based on trust and respect, responsibility, participative policies, self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose

More specifically we also aim at coaches, consultants, trainers, HR-specialists, CEO’s, internal innovators and managers who are willing to learn more about Teal and the purpose of the Teal for Teal community.

You may connect with and track Erwin’s communications at:

We are starting a Teal for Teal Portland (PDX) as a subgroup of the ResponsiveOrgPDX. Please contact Christine Brautigam ( if you are interested in becoming a core team (planning) and/or a regular (participating) member.

Erwin Van Waeleghem (°Brugge, Belgium 14/06/1960) Bio


Erwin wears two hats on and off.  First he holds a full time professional role of police commissioner/criminologist in the City of Leuven (Belgium).

Erwin joined the Belgian police force at the age of 20 and gathered a long number years of streetwise experience on the beat. 

In 2000, after successfully finishing his studies in police management and getting a Masters-degree in Criminology, he became a senior officer in the local police force of Oostende.  

After working as a department  head in several entities, in this rigid, hierarchical and bureaucratic organization, he also spend three years in Spain, on leave of absence, working as a quality consultant in the private sector in Gibraltar. 

His experiences in both private and public sector made him think differently about how organisations, and their most important asset, the people working there, could be inspired and organized for the better.

The second hat he wears, with real passion and full dedication, is that of ‘Tealspirator’, international Teal for Teal-steward and instigator of several initiatives towards more humane and essential values based Leadership.   

One of those initiatives has been starting up a very vibrant and active Teal for Teal Belgium community since October 2015.  In this short time six regional groups were set up in his country, making it the biggest national community within the international community.

His basic strong belief in the leadership potential of every person is based on the holding high of essential human values and strong balance between intuition and rational common sense, we all carry inside of us.

In 2013 he started giving lectures and workshops on the principles and possibilities that Ricardo Semler created in his well known company Semco (Brasil). 

After having read the book ‘Reinventing Organizations’, written in 2014, by his compatriot, Fréderic Laloux, he found a broader base and more collective language that could be used to spread the more humane principles behind ‘Teal’, and thus help other people to bring them inside organizations in any sector.  

Next to this book he also uses similar principles our of other basic management literature such as ‘Freedom,Inc’ (Isaac Getz – Brian Carney), ‘Up the organisation’ (Robert Townsend), ‘More then a motorcycle’ (Rich Teerlink), ‘It’s your ship’ (Mike Abrasshof), ‘Turn the ship around’ (David Marquet), ‘Unboss’ (Lars Kolind), ‘Maverick’ and ‘The seven day weekend’ (Ricardo Semler) and lots of other works.

Erwin internationally gives lectures and presentations on the teal-principles, sharing his own experiences within his own organization and adds introduction sessions on the Teal for Teal community in his role of international steward.  He also has direct contact with people like Ricardo Semler, Frédèric Laloux, Isaac Getz, a.o.

Erwin Van Waeleghem – The Tealspirator

Steward Teal for Teal International