Christian Neumann

4 min reading time

How can a young company become a good team?

When you start out as a young company, the question of how you actually want to work naturally also arises. When tapio saw the first light two years ago, we immediately had a very colourful team. This gives us the big advantage of being a team with people who have decades of professional experience in the wood industry and colleagues who have grown strongly in the digital world. So it's just the mix it takes to talk about digital and wood.

In such an environment, you have to ask yourself, how can you become a successful team? What did we all learn in our previous jobs? What was good and what wasn't? We asked ourselves such questions especially in the management team, because one thing was always very important to us, that we don't lose speed and agility. Here we had a bit of luck, because in recent years science has also provided new insights that can help.

Personally, I think Lencioni is probably the best when it comes to successful teams. His pyramid describes very well what it takes to be successful as a team.

Lencioni Pyramide EN

The basis is "trust" in the team, only if this exists one can discard the superstar behavior and also admit mistakes. Since one can learn a lot from mistakes, this is a very important basis and the prerequisite for being able to resolve "conflicts". It is a matter of content discussion with the aim to decide the right one. Deadly is an "artificial harmony" in which everyone agrees, but then nevertheless does something else at the end of the day. In this way, an " commitment " to decisions can be created, so that everyone can really support a decision out of their conviction. In order for something like this to be sustainable, a decentralized "accountability" is needed. It must be possible to remind each other that something is incorrect or someone is behaving improperly. This is the only way to focus on the "results" and not on status & ego.

In addition, as a company you should have a clear and shared mission or "purpose". This is the reason why we exist as a company and what motivates us every day to push this forward. A kind of inner motivator. Studies meanwhile also show that external motivation through status, money and goals is rather counterproductive (more about this e.g. here).

Our purpose is to " bring creativity to reality" and the first goal is to help the wood industry make the step into the digital world. This is where I think we are very different from many established companies. In a VUCA world it becomes increasingly clear that classic plan thinking with strategic plans lasting several years is simply too rigid. The world has simply become too "complex" and fast-moving to make plans here. It is very important to understand what the difference between complex and complicated is, only then can you really understand why we work as described below. (More on complex vs. complicated in a post from 2017)

What does this look like in concrete terms?

First of all, each of us is responsible for his or her own work and has a lot of freedom in his or her area. It makes no sense to hire smart people and then steer them like puppets. But that doesn't mean that we all run wildly apart. Our purpose serves as a red string and everyone has to ask themselves, does an activity take us further. This decentralized independent work makes us agile, since we all do not know how the VUCA world behaves, everyone in the team has to decide every day what is right to fulfill our purpose. If you have concrete questions here or are unsure, you can still use the fastest means of communication in the world "Look up from the monitor and ask and discuss with someone in the team".

To stay in tune and let everyone know what the others are doing, we have our "weekly " once a week with lunch together. Here everyone has the task to present what he/she will do during the week. Everyone else can ask questions or step in if there is a need for coordination. This is complemented by our "daily", which is a short 10m stand-up meeting every morning to briefly create transparency about what's going on today. Here you can certainly see elements of Scrum, well we are just a software company, why not profit from successful methods in development as a company as a whole.

Our environment "digitization in the wood industry" is very dynamic, see VUCA world. Our approach therefore allows us the necessary agility to move forward quickly. Too much rigidity too many meetings and too many rules would only paralyze us.

Now it all sounds great and simple. But for us it wasn't, because especially if you take Lencioni's pyramid seriously and try to live out really productive conflicts, problems can arise very quickly. Because nowadays we are almost no longer used to argue productively about content. Far too often it becomes personal and hurtful. Also many are not aware that there are different types of people. Everyone reacts a little differently. Of course, somehow all of this is clear to us, only the fewest can consciously consider it. Here it helps, however, if one deals times with MBTI or Social Style and then talks about it together.