A Team of Entrepreneurs
The betterplace lab is a nonprofit think tank at the intersection of digitization and the common good. We research and experiment, build bridges between sectors, and break down silos: in the mind, in organizations, and in our society. Because we don't see digitization purely in technological terms, but as a social potential – for a just and sustainable world.
Why New Work and Inner Work?
Eight years ago, founder Joana Breidenbach decided to hand over responsibility. Not to a single person (i.e. a new boss), but to the team. From "having to hand over" to "wanting to take over", a responsibility "to carry and to be able to shape" has finally emerged. As a laboratory of betterplace, we have experimented and published a lot along the way, simply because we are convinced that we as a society need to find new work models that both meet the needs of individual employees and fulfill meaningfulness in relation to society and the planet.
Our form of situational, temporary leadership has proven to be very effective, resilient and permeable, not least during the Corona crisis.
Our concrete New Work Practices
We have a salary process at the end of which each person can set their own salary with the organizational framework in mind, rather than having to negotiate it with the supervisor(s) in a fixed-prescribed framework and lack of transparency.
We work with rotating management. Our organizational form of gGmbH provides for the position of management. We want to occupy it with a person with commercial view and a person with content-strategic view. The latter person changes with us at an interval of two years. In this way, we maintain continuity on the one hand, and on the other hand allow for the alternating assumption of responsibility. People can be proposed for this or propose themselves and are then accompanied for half a year until the takeover and introduced to the new task.
At our organization, all employees have leadership responsibility – for themselves, the team and the overall organization. In what role and to what extent each person can shape his or her own interests and competencies. Decisions should be made where the most competence lies in the organization; projects should be set up and implemented in such a way that they have the greatest possible impact.
Every new project is brought to the team with a kick-off as well as debriefing. While the kick-off is about getting the team's feedback for the design, the debriefing is about sharing the key findings with the team. The aim is not to sell the project obsessively as a success story, but to reflect on the difficulties and success factors together as a team. In the process, we also do a round in which each team member reflects on what he or she specifically takes away as an impulse for his or her work.
Our concrete Inner Work practices with which we create the basis for this
We don't just work out "our values" once, which then lie around as lifeless empty words, but actively refer to them every week in our team meeting. In the check-in, we first ask ourselves individually how we are doing before we then reflect on an organizational level how much we have lived and decided according to our values in the last week. In the popcorn principle, everyone can share something that has caught their attention – good or bad examples. In this way, we practice together the lived, values-based leadership of our organization and strengthen our identification.
In some meetings, there is also a process monitor who takes a parallel bird's-eye view, or we go together as a team "out on the balcony" to exchange information about which dynamics we were able to observe – as far as possible detached from our individual perspective. In this way, we continually try to incorporate more information into our decisions, while creating the vocabulary to be precise about it in conversation.
We use dedicated clear-the-air meetings to open the space every six weeks to address tensions within the team. In principle, conflicts are dealt with promptly and directly on a 1:1 basis between the people involved; nevertheless, the meeting helps to track down (potential) conflicts that were either previously elusive or whose causes/triggers are located on structural stressors.
We regularly use the "4-Sync method" (according to Thomas Hübl), especially for far-reaching strategic decisions. That is, we try – along a guided meditation – to tap into the different levels of consciousness with which we encounter a question. Physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. We want to make this information accessible to us individually with the method, in order to be able to fall back on it later in the course of the discussion.
More information: https://www.betterplace-lab.org/