Communicating about the SDGs: How best to do it, and which impact to aim for

Communicating about the SDGs: How best to do it, and which impact to aim for

By Angela Souza

In the past years, we’ve heard a lot about the SDGs. Some companies, NGOs and public institutions are using this acronym in their projects and communications, but what are the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals, developed by the United Nations, are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. There are 17 Goals, all interconnected, and the intention is to achieve them all by 2030. The goals address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

At SenseTribe we believe the SDGs are a useful framework to guide companies, governments and civil organizations towards the creation of a more sustainable, inclusive and healthy society.

The SDGs will only be achieved if we work together, and at SenseTribe, we have experience to share. That is why our communications team invites anyone who is willing to embark on this journey with us in each and every work area.

There are many different ways to engage people in a conversation about the SDGs. That will depend on which segment each institution works on. Here are some tips about how to run a powerful communication campaign on the SDGs and some reflections on the impact that making this UN commitment more visible can have at both a local and a global scale. 

Why is it important to communicate about SDG-related actions?

Nowadays, the sensible choice is to create or adapt products and services that will minimize negative environmental and social impact. Instead of this, the goal should be to develop a process that can generate positive impact.

A strategic communication approach on the SDGs is key to strengthening the reputation of an organisation because it connects your audience with your will to transform the way products and services have been designed for decades. It creates engagement in international discussions and will increase the reach of the information you’re sending out.

Several great initiatives have been changing their strategies regarding the achievement of the sustainable development goals and communicating about this has many benefits:

  • An open-minded approach can lead your communications planning to address issues on a political level, increasing dialogue with stakeholders and a wider audience; 
  • Having communications partners focused on the SDGs can help your team during the implementation of changes in your company, and can help involve the main stakeholders in the transformation process;
  • Communicating openly about internal changes will help your audience identify with your brand. It makes easier for your customers to understand some of the impacts of the services or products generated during the transformation process;
  • Co-creating a strategic communications plan with an external communications team will allow your initiative to explore different points that can help your team to reorient not only their communications but their actions more strategically toward achieving the SDGs;
  • It is the role of institutions to help the wider audience to understand what the SDGs are and why it is important to act on them. If your initiative communicates about SDG-related actions, your brand is engaging with people at the same time as they are supporting the business community in raising awareness of the topic, which will lead consumers/clients to make better choices in the near future.

At SenseTribe we believe communication has a key role to play in improving the way we do business: it can help drive, guide or simply inspire new perspectives. Our collaborative approach allows our team, together with our clients and partners, to create strategies that add value to their initiatives, stakeholders and customers.

If you want to know more, please contact info@sensetribe.com with the subject ‘Meaningful Communications’. Our team will be glad to talk to you and help with your communication strategy.

SenseTribe on Lockdown – Marina

SenseTribe on Lockdown –  Marina

Since the end of winter, most everyone on Earth has had to put up with varying degrees of lockdown restrictions in order to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 disease and “flatten the curve”. This has, of course, affected us at SenseTribe as well. In this blog miniseries, we’re taking a deeper dive into each core team member’s experience of this.

For this interview, we spoke to Marina. She is from Madrid and lives here, but experienced this from the perspective of Madrid’s Chinatown, where it particularly affected the Chinese New Year festival.

Other articles in the “SenseTribe on Lockdown” Series:

AngelaMarina

How did you find out about SARS-CoV-2 and Covid, and what was your initial reaction?

I think I found out from the paper, when it was happening right in China. I live in Madrid’s Chinatown, and what really made me think it was serious was that one of our potential clients was in Italy, and he called me and told me he was leaving Italy because it was terrible there. This was before we in Spain really became aware of it, I think. I live where a lot of the Chinese people in Madrid live. It was the Chinese New Year festival, and their reaction was quite hard-core, but still nobody was really taking it seriously here. I actually caught a strange flu in February after the Chinese New Year festival, so maybe I caught Covid-19 already and just didn’t know it. I’ve been thinking about getting an antibody test.

So yeah, I could really notice the reaction here. But in January and February, I didn’t really realize there was anything going on, even though Chinese people were closing their shops. They really were respectful, you know. In this neighborhood the reaction was clear. We went to the Chinese New Year festival but if we’d been more aware of this, we probably wouldn’t have gone.

I live where a lot of the Chinese people in Madrid live. It was the Chinese New Year festival, and their reaction was quite hard-core…

How did you first react when you heard of the lockdown measures that would be implemented? Did you understand the idea of “flattening the curve”?

One thing is that I started the lockdown before it was decided. People were still meeting up, and I started to isolate before most people did. Actually the people at our coworking space all got it, and I stopped going.

Did I understand? I guess not really. I’ve never been in this kind of situation before. It wasn’t until I read more about it that I understood that it was really necessary to take measures, to do something, even before anything was imposed.

How difficult was it to stay inside, not go out to see your friends, to have to work from home? What has been the hardest to deal with?

I have to say I actually enjoyed the first month, because I got into a better life rhythm. It was a relief not to have to run around all the time for at least a month. The first month was the easiest, it was even fun, to be honest, but it was also really scary.

For me the hardest part to deal with was the fact that I couldn’t sleep well thinking about others around me who were more vulnerable. What I missed the most was nature. I’ve missed sunshine on my face. I tend to get lowe mood when I don’t take care of myself. I even broke the rules a few times to sit down on a bench in front of my house because I felt like this was a basic health need for me. I really needed that.

Some of my family members have breathing and heath issues, so this was really scary for me at times. I’ve also missed being in closer contact with some of my friends whose parents have been really, really sick. But they got through it, they were the last ones to get a machine, and they’re fine, but they were very lucky. I’m lucky I had someone at home hugging me often, because I really needed that.

I cooked amazing things during this time, I became a super baker.

What tricks, if any, did you use to deal with the isolation?

Definitely some cardio. We read that astronauts do cardio when they are in outer space, it’s super important. We had a routine to do some stretching and other things. My cat was looking at us as if thinking we had gone completely crazy because we were running around the house, around every corner, and that was really good.

The thing is, when they finally let us go outside for a walk, my routine fell apart suddenly and I couldn’t keep it up. My mood changed for the worse and I got really tired. On top of all that I have a back problem, so I started to have back pains and that’s always really hard.

So for me it was cooking, as a way to disconnect and enjoy the moment, exercising, and reading. Not looking at social media too much.

How has the lockdown impacted your personal and professional habits?

As for personal habits… Now I’m doing pilates online. I realized I need someone external. So now I’m taking some online pilates lessons where someone is looking at me, and that’s really helped. I feel like I need to buy self-discipline. It’s really sad.

And I think I’m working more hours. I find many people are faced with this issue. I’m quite surprised, because I thought that as we no longer needed to travel as much we would work fewer hours, but instead we’re actually spending more time working. So I wonder if it’s because we’re being less effective or just lucky enough to have a peak of work. I’ve actually heard this is the case for many people. I think that people working in companies have to show what they’ve done, so that it doesn’t look like they’re not doing much. I guess sometimes it was harder to coordinate too. And sometimes my brain doesn’t work as well as it used to. And I’m pretty sure it’s affecting my work time. I’m not moving as much or getting as much sun, I wake up with less energy, which might make me less effective, spending more time on the same tasks and being generally less organized.

Could it be because there are just more distractions at home?

No because when I’m working I don’t tend to get sidetracked. Maybe communication is less efficient, which makes us all less efficient. To be honest I think my mood might have more of an effect. And this last month I suddenly became really anxious about the future, worrying about possible crisis, and at the same time I was physically not well. I think there might be a peak where you get stressed out, then you end up a bit down.

I don’t feel I was ever distracted. I feel like I was just less effective sometimes, planning things and trying to be aware of the effort but not simplifying it.

To what extent did you get used to lockdown conditions? Was it hard to open up again?

It was definitely hard. We actually started opening up on the last weekend of June.

And it was really beautiful to meet up with friends again. But I didn’t feel like meeting so many people, just the ones I really wanted to see. I was being selective. I was also a bit lazy, it became hard to go outside again. You get used to it and then it becomes difficult.

It was really beautiful to meet up with friends again.

As of now, have any adjustments you’ve made in your life outlasted the full lockdown?

I’ve been baking one thing a week, but these past few weeks I haven’t been doing it anymore, mostly because it’s gotten so hot and I don’t want to use the oven anymore. I’ve been buying my groceries in local stores in my area to support them. I thought that was very important. So I’ve been buying all my produce at the actual market. I didn’t used to do this all the time.

How have your fear and understanding of Covid evolved over time?

During the first stage, I was very anxious about it, I’d read about it before going to bed, and then sometimes I couldn’t sleep. I got some information from people around me who are doctors. One friend of mine sent me some information. But there were lots of memes around everywhere and all the time. In a way that was good, but then it became too much. It felt like I couldn’t forget about this for even a minute. I had to do a detox. Then I decided to go on to a social media detox treatment because I felt like it took up all my free time. I didn’t know if it was helping me anymore, it made me feel overwhelmed with information. So in time, I started reading the papers every few days instead of every day, or less often even. And I started getting more information filtered through my relatives rather than reading it myself. Now my understanding is that we’re all handling it in such different ways. What I can say is that there are still so many things we don’t know, and people take the information about it so differently. Some people are very scared, some are more relaxed… It’s good that we have guidelines, otherwise, it would be very risky.

The professionals know better, but at the same time it’s such a complex issue. There can be different strains of the virus, we don’t know when this is going to end, etc. Now we know how many people are getting sick so we can get a general idea of whether it should be more or less scary. But still, the chance is there. I think they don’t know how it’s going to affect you. If you get it, you don’t know what’ll happen.

What are your expectations for the future? Will there be a second wave and another lockdown?

I think so. I don’t know. I think after summer we’ll probably have to do this again because as it gets colder we’ll end up locked indoors more often, in homes or offices. As far as I know it’s more likely to spread in enclosed spaces, and it seems to spread really fast. In a few months we’ll be more relaxed, so it seems it’ll be more likely to rise again. But hopefully not! I don’t know. I’m just preparing for it to happen again. Just in case. I think it’ll be a long time before this is really gone.

I’m just preparing for it to happen again. Just in case.

If there is another lockdown, do you expect to deal with it in the same way? What lessons have you learned from this one and how would your approach change? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?

I hope I’ll be more aware of my need to establish a routine, and maybe I’ll get some help to maintain it. One thing I already did I would do again, is to be in close contact with people I care about. And I hope I can at least go outside and get a little sun on my face. Basically I’ll need to just look after myself, both my physical and mental health. I’ll need to be careful of what news I read, how much information I get and how much time I spend on screens.

SenseTribe on Lockdown – Angela

SenseTribe on Lockdown –  Angela

Since the end of winter, most everyone on Earth has had to put up with varying degrees of lockdown restrictions in order to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 disease, and in order to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic. This has, of course, affected us at SenseTribe as well. In this blog miniseries, we’re taking a deeper dive into each core team member’s experience of this.

For this week, we spoke to Angela. She has a unique perspective in the team, having been in Asia herself at the beginning of the outbreak and witnessed the first measures over there.

Other articles in the “SenseTribe on Lockdown” Series:

AngelaMarina

How did you find out about SARS-CoV-2 and Covid, and what was your initial reaction?

Well I found out because I was in Thailand, and that was the first place after China to have been infected, and my reaction was… I found out in December actually, end of December, beginning of January, and my reaction was, “Oh, that’s a worry, but that’s OK.” I didn’t realize it would attain the proportions it’s attained, or that it’s still getting, it’s still spreading. For me it was something serious but that wouldn’t become a worldwide problem, that it would stay between China, Thailand, Asia, something like that. Local.

How did you first react when you heard of the lockdown measures that would be implemented? Did you understand the idea of “flattening the curve”?

It was a completely different atmosphere, because I was in Asia, so all this conversation was already happening before it happened in Europe. I wasn’t scared or anything. The way they started taking measures against Covid, I felt much safer there than in Europe, because they were taking people’s temperature everywhere, and all the sanitation things were happening. But as for where I was, it was an island, it was still OK. In January I was flying to Vietnam and traveling inside Thailand, so it was still OK. We were afraid, but not that afraid. And the lockdown happened where I was, an island in Thailand, at the beginning of March. And it was OK, because we could still go to the beach. It was more a matter of restaurants, but we could get takeaway. It was OK, we were just waiting to see when it was going to end because they were tracking all the cases, learning from Singapore, who did very well. So it didn’t scare me. I said, “if we have to do this, let’s do it.”

And about flattening the curve?

Yes, yes, I understood, it was very clear. The communication there was very good, it was in the local languages but also in English, so it was very clear to us.

It didn’t scare me. I said, “if we have to do this, let’s do it.”

How difficult was it to stay inside, not go out to see your friends, to have to work from home? What has been the hardest to deal with?

About working from home, I’ve realized that I’m on “lockdown” since I started working with SenseTribe, because I always work from home, so it didn’t change anything. But about staying inside, while I was in Thailand it also didn’t change much because I had a nice garden and nice surroundings, I could go to my swimming pool just across the garden, and so on. I could have my morning walks on the beach, so it wasn’t a problem, and in fact, about not seeing friends, again, I was in Thailand. I had some friends there but we weren’t seeing each other much. And when we did meet it was with takeaway meals and keeping our distances, it was OK. It didn’t scare me. I think the main problem on my side was when I came here in mid April, when I came to Europe, the fact when the measures are not as restrictive as we had in Thailand. It scared me then, because I said to myself, “How are these people controlling the spread?” because the people don’t realize how serious it is. In Thailand I think it was more restrictive. The people respected what the authorities were saying and how the police were running things there. Or at least they showed more respect than here in Europe. There was definitely more respect. Here (in Belgium) it was a little bit scary for me.

What tricks, if any, did you use to deal with the isolation?

I don’t know… It’s not a trick, but I think what changed is I got closer to people than before, when I wasn’t so close. It started happening in Brazil, so the relationships there started to become online. With these people it was always offline, but now that it was online it gave me the opportunity to join things that, if it weren’t for Covid, I wouldn’t have been able to join. Like birthday parties, even my birthday party! After six years I had my family at my birthday party. This was very new, and it was nice. I didn’t really have any tricks.

How has the lockdown impacted your personal and professional habits?

It gave me more work, since the beginning in Thailand. Since February I’ve been working much more than I expected. It’s crazy, because in the beginning, in February when it arrived in Europe, we already had this strategy for the flu campaigns we’re working on so we had to stop for a bit and rethink it, and create specific content for that. So it was a bit overwhelming because I had to readjust all the campaigns and review content, and comments were coming in with a lot of questions and we didn’t have the information. So far we still don’t have all the information. There was an impact because we needed a bit of clarity on how the things were going, and they were changing very fast. On the communications side it was like this.

On the personal side, I’m just afraid, and it’s very difficult to trust that everybody’s clean. I think it’s going to take a while, when you see somebody, even if you have a close relationship with them, if you don’t live with the person, to hug or kiss them. So far anybody could be infected and contagious. That’s something that’s very weird, you know the people, you are close to them, but you don’t trust them anymore. I’m so afraid to pass it to somebody, but I don’t have it. So far I don’t have it. But it can also be asymptomatic, so maybe we have it. At the personal level I think that’s the main concern that I have. We cannot trust anybody anymore, in that sense.

I’m just afraid, and it’s very difficult to trust that everybody’s clean

To what extent did you get used to lockdown conditions? Was it hard to open up again?

I don’t know if I would say it’s hard to open up. Because here I really don’t trust the way it’s managed in Europe. Maybe in Spain they did it much better than here in Belgium. I came back here from another level of measures where they were tracing the cases. But I’m also not comfortable going out because people don’t realize it, they get close to you and you say, “No, keep your distance”. And people don’t even know. People that we know understand and keep their distance, but not people we don’t know, in the supermarkets for example. You have people in line, and when it’s your turn you move, and they don’t do it, so for me it’s difficult. It’s not difficult to open up, but it’s difficult to realize that you still need to be careful with your behavior. And people aren’t. It looks like in Belgium people don’t care at all about it.

As of now, have any adjustments you’ve made in your life outlasted the full lockdown?

I didn’t really make any adjustments, because as I said before, my life was already on lockdown and I didn’t know it. I work from home, so… Ahh, there has been an adjustment. I’m not traveling as much anymore. And this is something that was hard because I had flight tickets to Brazil, and I was very excited to go back, to visit and do some things there. I had classes I already scheduled, and I couldn’t do it. And I have no idea when I’m going to be able to. But that’s the biggest adjustment, I can’t travel. It’s a very white-person problem, I know, but it’s still something I’m feeling. But on the other hand, I had scheduled a one-month trip, but once it opens up and I can travel again, I’ll definitely stay there for five months. I’m going to extend the trip and adjust some more to what I can and can’t do to have a proper holiday, which I haven’t had in a long time. That’s the main point, travel.

How have your fear and understanding of Covid evolved over time?

I was never really paranoid about Covid. I trust in science, even though I understand that the information may change. Now it’s something new, so there’s a lot of stuff that may be true today but no longer be true tomorrow. So I trust in the science and wait to see, if I get infected, I’ll just trust the doctors. I myself am not a doctor or a scientist, I can’t do anything. I just trust in that. We have to get used to living with the virus. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it will not simply stop so we can get back to our normal lives. No, I think the adjustment is long-term.

I was never really paranoid about Covid. I trust in science, even though I understand that the information may change.

What are your expectations for the future? Will there be a second wave and another lockdown?

I think there will be a second, third and fourth wave, until we really have clarity regarding how to treat it, regarding whether once you’ve had it you’re immune. I definitely think there will be more waves. Regarding another lockdown, I’m not sure because in the current situation most companies and governments are starting to be more flexible. They see that people can do much more from home than they were doing before. And they’re also saving on a lot of costs because people aren’t traveling for work, electricity bills are lower, and so on.

If there is another lockdown, do you expect to deal with it in the same way? What lessons have you learned from this one and how would your approach change? What would you do the same and what would you do differently?

I would definitely be in a place where I have the beach nearby. I would definitely not experience a lockdown here in Belgium. I’d run off, because I feel more comfortable in other places than I do here. Even though I feel comfortable here because it’s easier to travel in Europe. But if we have another lockdown in Europe and other places are still open, I’ll definitely run away.

Building business back better pledge

Building business back better pledge

Sign the Pledge today

The impacts of COVID19 on the economy show that the way we do business today is economically unsustainable. Business owners and decision makers are in crucial need of alternatives to business-as-usual in order to create resilience for crises to come and to become part of the solution rather than the problem.


WEAllSistema BWorld Fair Trade Organisation and SenseTribe therefore invite business owners, decision makers and other stakeholders to commit to seeking out ways to contribute to an economy that is not only economically viable but also socially and environmentally resilient:

  • Business resilience: We commit to give as much importance to resilience as to efficiency in our business model and value proposition. We commit to building resilient business structures, allowing us to respond to a changing environment and to build capacity to deal with crises effectively.
  • Human wellbeing: We commit to building balanced stakeholder relationships, so there is trust and commitment to one another. An important basis for building capacity for effective collaboration in moments of crisis.
  • Environmental wellbeing: We commit to re-evaluating how our business can make a positive contribution to our current  environmental crisis, making our business part of the environmental solution, not the problem.

Read the full pledge:

Sign the pledge now

Art of Hosting online training 9 June – 21 July

Art of Hosting online training 9 June – 21 July

How can Art of Hosting help us navigate uncertainty and evolve in times of isolation and global crisis?

Our world is in flux. COVID19 has surfaced the drawbacks of our current way of life, leading us into uncharted waters. The pandemic has created global unrest by illuminating economic and social inequalities even more. It is clearer than ever before, that the world is changing rapidly and all of us, inevitably, are part of this process. What if this is the opportunity that we have been longing for, the beginning of a new era? What if this is the right time to change the current status quo and imagine a future of living within our Planet’s limits, for the good of all?

Based on the assumption that our world needs fundamental change, the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Meaningful Conversations practice has been supporting organisations, communities and groups to “be the change” for the past 25 years. It is a practice that prioritises diversity and collaboration where people can discover and cultivate new collective intelligence together. By learning and applying participatory methods, models and theories, we become more skillful in navigating chaos and complexity individually and collectively. Being a global community of practitioners expands the potential and impact of learning, increasing our ability to respond in times of crisis. 

We would like to invite you on a quest. We invite teachers, parents, managers, community organisers, politicians, all who are seeking a way to meet this new future which is emerging to join us.  We are creating a digital space, where we would like to share and explore together with you the essence of our practice. Together, we invite you into a learning space where we can exchange knowledge, experience participatory methods, explore mental models and theories of complexity, change and systems thinking. We will explore new forms of leadership, based on Living Systems – where interconnection, collaboration and self-organising around purpose lead to results for the good of all.

We invite you to bring your questions, ideas, hopes and dreams and dive into a collective inquiry together. Let’s navigate into these unknown times with an open heart and mind to discover new possibilities. 

Who is this for?

Anyone who wants to develop collaboration and participation skills – public service professionals, entrepreneurs, social innovators, NGOs, leaders in business, educators, and anyone who see themselves stepping into new ways of leading.

We will learn, explore and practice

  • Participatory methods of engaging small and large groups in conversation.
  • Forms and strategies to build conditions for co-operation and collaboration.
  • Worldviews and models that will help you to work with complexity.
  • New perspectives, tools and practical ways of engaging a diverse group of people to discover new ideas and solutions by working generatively with complexity, conflict and emergence.
  • Process Design, designing and planning the process before implementation, as a structure for new potential and possibilities to emerge.

Be prepared to:

  • Generate new and collective knowledge that you can apply to your context
  • Listen to stories from different people, places and perspectives
  • Contribute to other people’s learning by sharing your insights, questions, projects
  • Deepen, develop and design your ideas, projects, goals, initiative, questions in a collective learning space
  • Join an international network and community of practice and connect with a diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds

YOUR HOSTS

Maria Scordialos with Dimitris StratakosMaya RimerMira Bangel and Julia Hoffmann (Visual Recording) decided to collaborate and cocreate this online learning journey, as a response to the current global health and economic crisis.

As stewards and/or seasoned practitioners of the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Meaningful Conversations global community of practice, they offer trainings and immersive learning on participatory leadership, living systems, and design practices for living and working in complexity, particularly in contexts of chaos, crisis and collapse. 

More details and registrations

How to organize a remote company and build a human workplace for high performance and hyper-growth

How to organize a remote company and build a human workplace for high performance and hyper-growth

Author: Tobias Leonhardt

The Human Workplace – a Blueprint for Remote Companies

A remote organization is built on trust. Trust is the single most important driver for collaboration and high-performance. Once you trust yourself and your peers, a whole new range of leadership possibilities open up.

We also know that remote organizations are mostly more effective. Today on a venture capital network exchange one tech founder shared: “Since we’ve been working remotely, we’ve delivered in a week what we normally did in a month”. This is not a surprise for me anymore. I have the feeling that I know why it is like this.

For the last 15 years I’ve been thinking about “how to organize collaboration”. I grounded my thinking in a lot of publications by well known companies such as Google, Zappos, Buffer, McKinsey and many more. Even more than reading and researching, I’ve experimented a lot and gained lots of experience and insights. At Zalando, I facilitated the agile transformation and scaling Tech from 120 people to 2.500 in 3 years. We had a hundred of teams to work with and with every one I made a unique experience.  Overall the experience has been stressful and overwhelming – which shows that I was in my growth zone: meeting the unknown, experiencing something new and trying to be comfortable in uncertainty. I enjoyed this very much.Over the last two years I’ve conducted my own research and studied pattern of high performing teams, also at Zalando.

What I want share in this article is the insight of those 15 years of work.

It’s a blueprint for how to build high-performing remote organizations based on trust and the patterns and principles of some of the most successful companies around the world.

The blueprint is designed to cultivate…

  • Trust between members of the organization
  • Honest relationships
  • Self-responsible organization members
  • Empathy for “new hires” and the questions they have when they join the organization
  • Clearly distinguished organizational aspects
  • Hyper-growth readiness and the ability to work well together at scale

…and saves you a lot of management overhead (/headache).

  • It helps you as founder to think, organize your thoughts and build up a mental model that enables you to develop your organization with focus and clarity
  • It helps you to maintain, explain, align and develop your culture despite or esp. during hyper growth — it helps you to build “a learning organization” that is resilient and responsive
  • It helps you to co-create a human centered workplace where people’s happiness and health lead to high performance and outstanding business results. It doesn’t do this for performance reasons alone, rather for love & care for humans.

How do we cultivate trustful relationships

We build the organization based on a positive human mental model and principles such as trust, honesty, appreciation and self-responsibility. These human principles are the source of the organizational principles.

Example: The human principle of self-responsibility leads to the organizational principle: Everyone can take ownership and therefore can & should make decisions independently but aligned. As a result, we structure the organization in a way that allows people to pick their topic/teams (see “How we structure”) and decentralize decision-making (see “How we make decisions”).

Why

We do this because we believe workplace happiness and health leads to high performance / valuable contribution.

How

One company using this blueprint is BRYTER. In the following remote session it’s co-founder and CPO Michael Hübl shares their insights and practices of how they “cultivate trustful relationships”:

“In 2018, we decided to go fully remote. Our entire company operates remotely. We have a remote-first structure in our DNA which means we know how to build, run and scale a business remotely. We know how product development, customer success and marketing teams work in a fully virtual environment. We know how it feels to provide an enterprise-ready solution – anywhere. So we want to share our learnings and experiences with you all. In this online session, we will run through how we organize the collaboration of 70+ people in different countries and timezones. We will talk about the importance of communication and knowledge sharing in order for all of us to make rapid progress with our work and product.”

BRYTER is the leading no-code platform to automate expert knowledge. Its intuitive toolbox enables professionals to build, manage and sell interactive applications without programming skills. BRYTER is especially geared towards experts in law, finance, tax and compliance working with complex, conditional and scenario-based content who want to automate recurring and standardizable decision-making processes. BRYTER operates offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, and London and supports professionals in over 50 international law and consulting firms, corporates and public bodies with the automation of professional decision-making.

In this webinar Mic mentioned the “Caring Circle” as an advanced practice – which brings together a lot of the practices Mic shared in this remote session in a simple and powerful format.

With the “Caring Circle” you can learn how can we care for each other in challenging times, deepen human relationships and build a sense of togetherness remotely?

To learn this powerful practice of the “Caring Circle” – and many more micro-practices – you can book a remote training with me and my friends from Sense Tribe.

Why we exist

We see our customers as human beings. With empathy, we think about what they need in their workplace to get their job done. How they feel when they are using our product. What success means for them and their company.

That’s why we have a customer success team and call our customers “champions “— it is part of our job to help them to become champions.

Why

We believe that customer empathy enables us to build a product that adds value for our customer.

How we structure

We work in cross-functional groups where we have every competence at hand to act, deliver and make decisions independently. Sometimes this is an ideal state, but we know the closer we come to this, the better we can collaborate.

We learn together in communities of practice. This is our home base of like-minded people where we give and find support, mentorship and care.

Why

We believe that a responsive and scalable structure enables healthy hyper-growth and collaboration at scale.

How we make decisions

We make decisions “together alone”. Following the principles of trust and self-responsibility everyone can make a decision when: 

  • we follow the companies north star(s) / objectives
  • it is based on a real personal topic, need or tension
  • we make sure it is safe enough to try and we do the risk assessment for this
  • we are willing to follow up on the consequences

When a topic is more complex or more people are involved, or we do not know how many can be affected, we activate our collective intelligence. We follow processes and procedures – lean and small in the beginning, and more formal and powerful ones when needed – to collectively assess a decision and mitigate risks. 

Why

We believe that distributed decision-making enables us to take the right decisions fast so that we will stay effective and react fast at scale.

How we do leadership

Leadership means to care about culture, structures and context —it means to take care of co-workers without violating their self-responsibility and the trust we have in each other.

When we take leadership we want to strengthen ownership, self-responsibility and trust in ourselves and others. It is a coaching mindset that enables others to use the given processes and procedures of the organization. It is about co-creating local and structural / organizational improvement and optimizations. It is about taking ownership of conflicts.

It is like gardening.

Why

We believe we need and profit from ownership and an entrepreneurial spirit on all levels, in order to be successful as a company.

How we improve personal & professional

We learn from each other and with each other. We learn from like-minded people and people with more experience. We learn from the experience of others. We reflect our experience (the good and the ugly) honestly with others and learn.

We do not have a failure culture – we have a learning culture. We organize as communities of practice and go through events and sessions self-responsibly: following our human centered principles. We grow as a human, not as a function. And we grow together.

Why

We believe that when we learn, the organization is learning. And we need this learning to be competitive on the market.

How we plan and align work

We plan work based on direct customer feedback. We work in short iterations to handle complexity and respond to change fast.

We use clear objectives and key results to align our work. We own our objectives and have a clear understanding on how business impact / success looks like.

We have clarity of who is doing what and regularly reflect about how we can improve our collaboration, keep the flow and stay in the high-performance zone.

Why

We believe that to navigate well in complexity, react to change fast, build the best customer value possible, we need the freedom and skill to adjust on a daily basis in alignment with the common north star so that we can work effectively & efficiently.

Business Impact

What we see is – and what we want – is: the more you implement the blueprint as your organizational model, the more business impact you create.

In summary, what you get is 

  • A way to organize and grow your remote company – without stopping operations
  • A human workplace blueprint that boosts your business model
  • A way to keep your trustful culture during fast growth
  • It attracts talents and seniors that want to take ownership and responsibility
  • Readiness for healthy hyper-growth and working at scale

In the last days a lot of people I trust encouraged me to publish the blueprint now. Thank you Mic, Benjamin, Juke, Mira, Raffa and Andrei. I also have the feeling that it is the right time. So now I am curious what reactions and questions arise in you after reading this article. Send me a direct message with your feedback or use the comment function to share your reaction and insights.

Author: Tobias Leonhardt