Our Founding Story
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
How did we find each other?
We found each other through online communities sharing a common interest in new ways of working, organisational design and culture. Initial online calls enabled us to get to know each other. Driven by a desire for bigger impact for the communities we had further calls to discuss ideas. Very soon the three of us united around the insight that many people in these communities share similar hopes for the future and are united by a common purpose. We started discussing the possibilities of scaling our impact.
What was the resonating factor that brought us together?
What brought us together was a shared interest in new ways of looking at organisations, work and life in general. What kept us together was a shared interest in not just learning together but in doing something together. We had an appreciation for the different things each one had to offer, be it organizing local events or in depth of knowledge on organizational change processes. We felt we are three different people with different past experiences sharing similar journeys. We had an immediate resonance from our first call and a feeling of flow ever since. There was energy in continuing with the conversations and as the feeling of growing trust increased with every call, it felt natural to commit to a joint initiative. Our shared goal is: to contribute to a better world with a focus on organisations.
How did we align on a common purpose?
As we decided to work on a joint initiative, we agreed to meet in person for several days so that we could spend more time together. In preparation for that meeting, we continued with our virtual calls and during one of them we worked on our purpose. We started by writing in parallel our individual purposes, and as we read them, we realized (by that time to nobody’s surprise) that there was a lot of synergy. Writing the common purpose was effortless and followed a natural flow. We wrote about our long term intention and we aligned on how we want to make a difference in the world. After several weekly calls, we eventually met in-person in Rotterdam in September 2016. It was joyful to find so much resonance in an otherwise diverse team of people who had never met before. It felt as if we were united by purpose and we organically complemented each other.
How did we share responsibilities?
We follow a very natural process. We shared and applied our knowledge and experience in state-of-the-art practices alongside with our worldwide experiences in corporate, startups, government, educational institutions and social enterprises. We also leveraged our international networks given our residences in Berlin, London and Zurich. Most of the work was intuitively shared. As needed, we undertook the relevant effort and did what needed to be done.
What challenges did we face during the process? How did we resolve them?
There was a point when we questioned where we were going. It seemed that we had great calls but we were not advancing towards a clear end result. We resolved it by holding the “not knowing” with grace. That meant letting go of the expectation of knowing in advance where are we heading. When you are practically oriented and pro-active, being at that place of not knowing can feel like a real challenge. We were however aware that we needed to first invest in the relationship, and be patient to let things come to the surface. Today, it feels like this initial investment in connecting made the potentially longer term relationship possible.
What surprised us as being easy?
Our working together so far always felt like being in a flow. It was just really easy, simple, without tensions. We each took roles naturally and could bring our whole-selves in the group. Our virtual connection leveraging Skype, Facebook and Google Docs always felt easy and fluid as well.
What did we learn from the journey?
We learned the importance of allowing the space for “not knowing”. We learned the importance of allocating time for getting to know each other. As a result, we became much more aware and knowledgeable of each other before doing something together. We validated the importance of ‘being’ before ‘doing’. It allows alignment to happen, which makes the doing easier. We believe that, after going through this process, new journeys with different working groups could move faster.
We would like to offer our gratitude and appreciation to the following communities who have been part of our journey: Teal for Startups, Theory U in Practice, Presencing Institute (U.Lab), Seven Levels of Consciousness, Reinventing Organizations.
What is our key ask to continue our journey?
Can you connect us with key decision makers in organisations who are ready to adopt ways of working together towards greatness and prosperity? Or would you like to roll this out across your team, department and-or entire organisation? Then feel free to reach out to us here.
Acknowledgements: This story was originally published in the Power of Teams Series.
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