The platform I wished there was when I was a Managing Director
Back in 2014, I got the opportunity to become a manager at Incentro, an IT consultancy firm. A great step in my career, and a challenging step for me. Two years later a new opportunity arose, at the age of 33, I became the youngest Managing Director at Incentro. Again a great challenge. So I was ultimately responsible for an Incentro branch of around 45 employees. I started with enthusiasm but had little clue what to do. It’s fair to say that I’ve learned a lot from my predecessor, by being in his team as a manager. But being on your own as a Managing Director is the next step. Two things I was sure about, I was going to find my own way of leading the Office to success. And it was going to be a progressive company. Because I was always interested and motivated by progressive practices of ‘The Future of Work’.
But little did I know, when you are working ‘in’ your company, you are not able to work ‘on’ your company!
Ok, so where to start? I became responsible for all the things happening in your office. From the happiness and engagement of the employees to the revenue and sales pipeline. Based on my experience as a manager, working in the operation is the easiest: Help others with my experience and enthusiasm, lead the way. But little did I know, when you are working ‘in’ your company, you are not able to work ‘on’ your company. How do I put those “Future of Work’ ideas into practice? So a lot of questions came to my mind:
- How do I engage my employees?
- How do I empower others to make decisions?
- How do I create trust in the workplace?
- How to make strategic decisions?
I learned it the hard way. Tried to lead in ways, that were not mine. Failed so many times, but along the way found my way of leading. By reading articles and books (no podcasts back then), I got inspired. But turning it into practices was so much harder. Trusting on my own leadership skills and my enthusiasm I wanted to create a movement of positive change together with the colleagues in the office. So we started creating little experiments. On specific topics such as Transparency, decision making, and coordination. Created prototypes and validated in smaller groups. We learned from these prototypes and when successful, we scaled the change. Until we had an office where engagement went through the roof!
About a year ago I left Incentro, to help others Unleash their Potential Energy. Using my experience from Incentro and knowledge of the most progressive practices. I help companies and leaders with their challenges in the fast-changing world of work. And every leader I visit has the same issue I had as a Managing Director. You are somewhat on your own and have to figure it out on your own. And every time I shared practices, I found out it worked inspiring. That’s when I got the idea for the following:
I’m incredibly excited to launch this project of mine, Prototyping.work. A collaborative platform for inspiration and progressive practices on the way we work. A platform for everyone who wants to upgrade or reinvent the way they work in their organization. Not only for the directors, managers or HR people out there.
A wide range of practices are presented on the platform, for example:
- Stop meetings for a month and see what happens
- Stimulate failure with the first penguin award
- Roast your team member
- Open Agenda Forum
- Colleagues hiring colleagues
- And lots more
For the past months, I’ve been creating this platform and adding some of the most used practices. Some are ‘low hanging fruit’, others are a bit harder. Also, I’ve been writing some guides to help everyone get started.
Also, some partners were enthusiastic to share some of theirs! The platform includes practices from Holland’s most progressive organizations like Keytoe, Finext, and Incentro. And is inspired by practices from companies like Google and GoreTex.
Explore it, try it, prototype and give feedback
I would like to invite you all to have a look, get inspired and experiment with the practices. Review and comment with your experiences. You can even add your own experiments/practices to share with the rest of the world. And most of all, I want to learn from you. What is your feedback, what are you missing? How would this platform more helpful for you.