Our Bold Move
To kick off the BOLD MOVES campaign, we want to share the story of the development of Team Circleg. It is a story about trust, values, communication and about the rethinking of hierarchical structures. It is our personal #boldmove, with which we are creating a new way of working for ourselves that - so we believe - holds an enormous amount of potential for success.
It is about the how
From the start, the Circleg team has evolved from 2 to currently 8 members, alongside the complexity and level of professionalism of our social enterprise. The growth of a team is a very delicate process, as it comes with a lot of questions and challenges at different levels: What are the competencies we need? According to which values and criteria do we decide for a new team member? How can we foster our team spirit when our team is working on different continents? And how do we want to work together?
In the life of a start-up a lot is happening and changes are part of the daily plan. We know, as a team, we are a structure that needs to be able to adapt in order to cope with changes and the environment. For us, the team is the steering protagonist and its status is the determinant factor of sustainable development, growth and success – on every front. This requires a constant assessment of everyone’s well-being, tasks, work load, personal space and rhythm. It’s an equilibrium between the individual and group needs and dynamics. Taking the time and creating the space to assess the well-being of each individual and being able to share, motivate, work and have fun together has become a central component of how we work at Circleg.
The values we share as a team are at the core of what we do, being the passion for creating impact, a feeling of belonging to a driving team and the ability to take ownership and responsibilities, listening and trusting each other. We foster and value the moments that are not only about working and performing but are about nurturing and sharing values. We cook, share and eat together every day. We celebrate successful moments and we take the time and courage to give each other honest and constructive feedback during regular check-in days we schedule every quarter. We have team retreats twice per year where we reflect, talk about the vision we share for Circleg and ourselves, align, plan and bond, to set the basis for the next phase.
The process of rethinking our team dynamics has led us to choosing a flat hierarchy structure at Circleg.
Creating a new structure
The recognition of the importance of our shared values has brought us to rethink about the structure and dynamic of our team itself. We tackled questions such as, “In which structure do we want to work? Do we want hierarchical structures? Do we need them? If so, why? And if not, how can we break them up?”. It appeared clear to us that the way we work has a direct effect on Circleg’s impact and that our internal structure is reflected in the quality of the work we project to the outside. Through these reflections we came to the conclusion that our way of working in combination with our shared values is best reflected in the adoption of a non-hierarchical structure of the core team. This conclusion marked the start of a long process of transformation of our team structure.
We started to actively shape a decision-making process supporting both inclusion and efficiency. This entails the capability of everyone to be part of the decisions taken, as well as the responsibility to speak up when disagreeing. Building, growing and taking care of the team is a continuous effort and it requires the ability of each member to look beyond the personal needs. It requires expanding the perspective and fostering a culture based on transparent and continuous communication. It is not always easy and sometimes we fail. But it is clear that when everyone is contributing to the wellbeing of the whole team and the cause of the project, the power of our actions and the feeling of reward is strong.
We learned that only if everyone pushes in the same direction, we can achieve big dreams.
Achieving big dreams
So here we are – the process of rethinking our team dynamics has led us to choosing a flat hierarchy structure at Circleg. Ultimately, the process has had a stronger impact on the well-being and performance of our team than the end result itself. We can now profit from all the intensive discussions, thought processes and critical reflections we did – and will continuously be doing – by being able to use our individual skills in the best way to push forward and face the upcoming challenges of our social enterprise. We planted the seed to enable each individual member to flourish, while empowering the whole team and bringing renewed and cohesive energy to the Circleg vision. We learned that only if everyone pushes in the same direction, we can achieve big dreams.