With wars, deforestation, pollution, natural disasters, obesity and addiction all contributing to GDP growth, the relevancy of this indicator as measure of development and well being of a nation is being questioned.
The Androgynous Organisation (T.A.O.) is a pioneering research initiative dedicated to exploring how to re-align growth with “meaning” (or values that really matter to us).
Our aim is to help leaders and organisations practically embody this balance, acting as a catalyst for societal and global transformation.
This project serves as a guide for teams seeking to scale their impact without compromising on their core values.
Androgynous comes from the greek “andro” (man) and “gyné” (woman).
Like an androgynous person, an androgynous organisation has the agile capacity to adapt its shape in function of the context. More specifically, its mode of operating : centralised (top down-directive) versus decentralised (bottom up-participative).
At the individual level, an androgynous leader has the emotional agility required to lead or follow, direct or listen, step in or step back, open or close in the right way and in the right context, at the right time.
The main exploration question is the following : how to “take the best and leave the rest” of both centralised/directive & decentralised/participative models ?
A new story
I’ve been working for the last 10 years with many decentralised, self managed and “non-hierarchical” forms of collectives.
Cooperatives, networked organisations, DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations), communities and start-ups using participative modes of governance like holarchy & sociocracy.
Beyond the numerous positive aspects these models provide, I’ve also witnessed some unhealthy patterns, repeating again & again.
I felt it was time for a new horizon.
One that can address the root of these blindspots without falling back into old ways of leading & organising.
From reaction to response
I realised most of these blindspots come from a reaction against the “old world” : hierarchy, patriarchy, capitalism… And from a desire to build something radically new & different, often in direct opposition with the old model, hence still defined by it.
We can’t build a new world from a blank slate. The way humane societies have evolved since the dawn of times is to take the best (and leave the rest) from the past, and build the future on top of it.
This requires a more complex approach beyond black or white. But without loosing the capacity for black or white!
That’s the primary intuition for T.A.O. : what if we could bring the best of old & new organisational/leadership models together ?
T.A.O. level 1
Hegelian dialectics (thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis) is my favorite model to look at the future of organisations.
- Triangle : centralised, top-down, directive
- Circle : decentralised, bottom-up, participative
T.A.O. level 2
This model goes one level deeper by differentiating 2 types of masculine & feminine polarities, the yin aspect representing the more receptive side and the yang, representing the more active one.
The classics :
- Masculine Yang: Assertiveness and conquest, often linked to aggressive dominance; shadow side is blind destruction.
- Feminine Yin: Embodying nurturing and intuitive care, akin to motherly qualities and life-giving surrender.
The twist :
- Masculine Yin: Represents order and a grounded, supportive presence, fostering growth and providing a balanced, resilient foundation.
- Feminine Yang: Embodies life force energy (childbirth), overcoming barriers with uncompromising intuition, creativity & power.
Innovative, Structured, Impactful, Collaborative
- Radical Innovation : creative purpose in service of life.
- Clear Structure : natural hierarchy with clear boundaries & direction.
- Impact at Scale : competitive, high-technology & impact at scale.
- Culture of Care : collaborative, participative & psychological safety.
Every organisation already embodies these 4 dimensions to a certain degree. The goal is to integrate each dimension more and learn how to dance between these polarities. In this case, the capacity of the founder to embody these dimensions is critical.
Vision, Order, Action, Care
The 4 roles of “androgynous” (or emotionally agile) leaders :
- Vision : connect to your source and define the next steps.
- Order : ground, set boundaries & direct the vision.
- Action : act decisively & manifest the vision.
- Care : feel, listen & develop your team.
The capacity to dance between these roles in the right way, at the right time and in the right context is an art. An art that a leader or founder must master if he/she wants to unlock the androgynous capacities of his/her organisation.
Shaman, King, Warrior, Lover
I use archetypes (inspired by Robert Moore) to work on these 4 roles.
- Shaman : invoke vision, transform reality, master the unknown
- King : stable kingdom, ensures order, embodies authority.
- Warrior : fight bravely, defend fiercely, drive action.
- Lover : connect deeply, nurture souls, radiate compassion.
♀ : Witch / Queen / Warrior / Mother
Each of these archetypes can be divided in 4 sub-archetypes to identify more specifically where to focus your energy & attention and maximize impact/change.
To go deeper on the meta perspective and spiritual roots, check out my presentation from the Science of Logic conference organised by Philosophy Portal.
Concretely : our approach to organisational change
- T.A.O. workshop : 20 min theory + 1h30 of embodied practices
2. Culture scan, Ci & OCAI compass : measure values / practices alignment, track the health of your culture and identify major blindspots upfront.
3. Embodied Cultural Evolution
“Movement Alchemy” is a collective shadow work experiment for teams wanting to transform blindspots, develop androgynous capacities and re-align individual & collective nervous systems through an artistic & embodied approach.
4. Psychedelic coaching
The most effective way to restore yin/yang balance within ourselves and develop our androgynous capacities at individual level. I’ve been trained by MDMA therapy pioneer Jonathan Robinson.
5. Men & Women Circle
To develop leadership archetypes and co-create the future of masculinity & feminity, we need “androgynous” as well as male/female only spaces.
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Timothée Brès — Embodiment, complexity, culture. Catalysing the regenerative renaissance through collective shadow work and underground dance music. Learn more at timotheebres.com