All posts by Martina Röll

About Martina Röll

Martina Röll is a Co-Founder of Structure & Process. She leads the Organisational Development, Consulting and Coaching work of the company. See all of Martina’s Roles here. Contact her at martina@structureprocess.com.

Beautiful Work.

How our Organisation’s Purpose guides what we do.

Structure & Process uses an explicit company purpose statement to guide its work. I recently wrote about encounters for meaningful collaboration – our company purpose until July 2017. I have also written about Purposeful Organisations in which people love to work in February 2015.

Over the years that Structure & Process has existed, our purpose has changed many times. We have moved between “large”, “high”, more abstract goals or visions, and more down-to-earth manifestations of what our company intends to bring into the world.

We are looking for words that inspire and guide us: They tell us what to put attention to and what to work on. They should also be inviting for others to engage with us. We are looking for a quality that “opens” – that invites new conversations about things that matter – and that “closes” – moves to action – at the same time.

Flipchart on 'beautiful work'
The first flipchart on which “beautiful work” appeared – June 2017

We phrase Purpose positively, as an outcome that we want to see in the world: At the same time, we acknowledge the flipside of every positive statement: A sentiment of pain or suffering, something that is “wrong” or less than ideal for us, and calls for improving, fixing, bettering.

Over two Partner Meetings this summer, we changed our company purpose again. It became, short and simple: “Beautiful Work.”

Our current company purpose: “Beautiful Work”

When we started out with Structure & Process in 2012, we noticed that many people around us were dissatisfied with their work: They disliked their work environments, their bosses, their coworkers or their staff. Some questioned the meaning of their work fundamentally, being disillusioned with capitalism and looking for more depth in their work.

Then I noticed that I was not happy myself: I loved my freedom and autonomy as a self-employed person, but missed the deep connectedness and shared meaning that I had experienced living as a Buddhist Monastic.

Herbstmorgen
One of the buildings of Won Kwan Sa International Zen Temple, where I spent two very good years between 2008 and 2010.

Continue reading Beautiful Work.

Blueprint for a well-balanced work day schedule

Obenaus Community Farm in Southern Styria: side barn with community kitchen (left) and main building with coworking space (right)

While staying at the Obenaus Community in Southern Styria this week, I tracked my day: I wanted to observe how I spend my time, so that I can harvest insights on a balanced work day structure.

I share it here for inspiration and exchange: I am curious how others structure their day to find balance, health and productivity in their work day.

“Work” for me was office work on this day – mostly on the computer.

The Schedule

0630 Wakeup
0700 Meditation & self-care
0800 Breakfast (about 45 minutes, then set up for work)

0900 Work (online meeting with the team of Structure & Process)
1030 Break / personal social time (spent in the garden, speaking on the phone with a friend)
1100 Break / Community time
1125 Work continues (computer, phone, paper)
1300 Lunch

Chilling at the “Sunset Bar” after work is done.

1415 Nap & self-care
1515 Work
1645 Break
1730 Work
1900 End Work

This schedule felt just right for me, except for the last work period, which was too long. If this became my proper schedule, I would experiment ending work at 1830.

This would net three work periods of 1.5 hours and one of 1 hour: 5.5 net work hours (which seems plenty).  I could see the work periods dedicated for other purposes (community time, study, outside travels, more rest) depending on situational need.

My personal highlights:
  • Early wakeup. I enjoy waking up early. I often go to bed late though, which then impacts on everything else. On this day, I had committed to a shared meditation at 0700, so I knew I would get up at a fixed time.
  • Dedicated meditation time.
  • Regular meals. Early-ish breakfast. Long lunch break.
  • Dedicated time for personal connections and community during the day (not pushed aside by work, not pushed into the evening)
  • Scheduled Nap Time! Every day becomes better with a nap for me. I have never regretted a single nap I took, ever. Note to self: take more naps.
  • Dedicated personal care time during the day (while I am awake and energetic, not pushed into the evening when I am often tired)
  • Work periods have 90 minutes max, then a break follows.

I have yet to see how I can apply this in my daily life, which often involves travels and changes in location. I could see an expansion for the week too, using this from Monday to Thursday, relaxing on Friday and taking a break on Saturday and Sunday.

View from the Sunset Bar at Obenaus

What structures do you use to go through your day? What has worked for you and what not? I am curious to hear about others’ schedules or interesting pieces of structure that help you find balance, health, productivity and peace of mind during your work day!

(Originally posted on the (closed) Obenaus Facebook Group on August 2nd 2017, expanded and edited for this blog.)

Obenaus is an international residential community exploring healthy and sustainable ways of living in community. It was co-founded by Rainer von Leoprechting, who is a partner in Structure & Process.

Encounters for meaningful collaboration (a few words on our organisation’s purpose)

I procrastinated publishing this post long enough that our organisation’s official purpose changed meanwhile. :-) I still find it valuable to share though, as it expresses a nuance on our work that I enjoy.
Even if as a company, we now speak more generally about “beautiful work” (another blogpost will follow), “encounters for meaningful collaboration” are still the heart of what we produce and what we thrive on. I offer this to you, for inspiration and connection! – Martina

We say: Encounters, as in: meeting of real people: Real humans meeting real humans. In all their complexity. With all the potential for change.

We say: “encounters” rather than “meetings”: Encounters are fierce, intensely personal, piercing. They might start subtly, but they carry immense strength. An encounter will change you, and may change your life.

We say: Collaboration, as in: working together to build something. Solving problems. Doing it together as opposed to doing it alone. With shared ownership and active engagement of all parties.
Collaboration may be structured or free-flowing. Rules and roles may appear, change, and dissolve. Collaboration can be clear and collaboration can be messy. Sometimes it is both at the same time.

We say: Meaningful, as in: with purpose. With depth. With intent.
Sinnvoll. Zweckgerichtet. Intentional. We invite depth, feeling, intentionality. We quest into intimate questions of what is important and what not. We care for the personal meaning in what may look to the outside as shared or even collective, large-scale work.  Life is short. What is meaningful to you?

Meaningful collaboration is not: random. “For fun”. An “experiment”. It is dedicated effort towards something significant. Fun and lightness come naturally to the process, but they are not goals in themselves. Enjoyment may be: Deep joy arises when meaning is apparent.

As an organisation, Structure & Process creates “encounters for meaningful collaboration”. In our work as a team, with our clients, in our client organisations. We invite you to join us: to co-create, to collaborate, and engage with the world’s, our communities’ and our shared personal challenges.

We are looking forward to meeting you.

Visualisation of Holacracy Fundamentals

I visited Obenaus Community in Styria this month. The community there is currently reflecting its decision making process and ask me to briefly introduce them to Holacracy.

As I was speaking, Viola Tschendel – Graphic Harvester, and one of the residents at Obenaus – created this visual of my talk.

Basics of Holacracy: Talk by Martin Röll at the Obenaus Community, Styria, Capture by Viola Tschendel (August 2016)
Basics of Holacracy: Talk by Martina Röll at the Obenaus Community, Styria, Visual Capture by Viola Tschendel (August 2016)

A brief outline:

  • Holacracy is based on Purpose. It organises the work, the “stuff”, not the people.
  • First Rule is: You can do anything. (Unless it is forbidden.) Go for it.
  • Second step: Assign Roles: Capture what is already happening, make it transparent. (So that it can be discussed more easily, and changed if necessary.)
  • A Role has a Name, a Purpose, and Accountabilities. It might have a Domain: Property that it controls. (“Don’t touch the cook’s knives without permission.”)
  • It helps to have a stable process facilitator, to help the community have the conversation about role building, domains, control.
  • Holacracy defines a process for the conversation about power. It opens up stable, safe space for constructive disagreement. It allows people to show up fully, with all of their concerns, worries or wishes for change, and process these inputs (called “tensions”) into useful output.
  • The Holacracy Governance Process brings clarity and efficiency in creating and processing proposals for structural change
  • The Holacracy Tactical Process asks “what do you need?”, thereby keeps tension with the tension holder, creating safe space for others.
  • “Lead Link” is a Role that assigns Roles to people. People can always give roles back: nobody can be forced to do work or hold a Role they don’t want.
  • Subcircles can be formed as the structure gets more complicated

I left very inspired from my stay, having joined Social Presencing Theatre (with Dirk Bräuninger) and Systemic Constellations (with Rainer von Leoprechting, who is also a Partner in Structure & Process).  I was glad to work with Viola (you will see more of us coming up), and with Vihra Dincheva, an excellent Online Host and Partner in Enlivening Edge. All the best for your next steps!

Quotes of the Week (Week 47/2015)

This week, we offer you some quotes, curated from our link collection on Tumblr.

Seeing last week’s events, they take on a larger, deeper meaning for me. I always knew our work was relevant, but it may well be much more relevant than we thought.

Stay safe.

“Part of the problem seems to be that nobody these days is content to merely put their dent in the universe. No, they have to fucking own the universe. It’s not enough to be in the market, they have to dominate it. It’s not enough to serve customers, they have to capture them.” – RECONSIDER – Signal v. Noise

Continue reading Quotes of the Week (Week 47/2015)

What is the Purpose of Consulting?

According to ourselves, it’s now:

“Organisations thriving, people loving their work, world saved.”

The world probably needs no saving, but until we have that absolutely clear, we’ll go ahead with this. Good enough for now.

For our organisation to thrive and myself to love my work more (and, finally, to save the world), we need a new Consulting Assistant, as Angela is taking new ways (staying with the company, doing new things).

It will be hard to replace her, but maybe you can do it.

If you would like to work with us: that is: the team of Structure & Process, with Martina (who is our Head of Consulting, Founder, and writing this) and with our community – business partners, clients, friends who care about people thriving in collaboration – please get in touch: “Join Us!” has details about the role and requirements. Please also forward this to people if someone comes to mind!

Not having to worry about expectations…

… is one of the aspects I enjoy most, being part of a team that runs on Holacracy.

you don’t have to worry about the implicit expectations or “shoulds” of others; instead, you can just show up, be yourself, and do your best within your roles, trusting that the process will catch and integrate any tensions that result. (Brian Robertson)

It is not necessary to worry about

  • what others will think or feel about my work
  • wether it will be “enough”
  • what others may think or feel about my process
  • if I should have done things differently.

Or so is the theory.

In practise, I still stress out a lot over being “a good leader”, a good steward of the team, a good Lead Link of our Holacracy Circles.

I try my best. I work in the best way I can and let the rest flow through the Holacracy process: it allows and encourages anyone to come up with anything that could be improved (from that person’s perspective). It can then be processed constructively together and codified in our governance records, the standards by which we work together (more on how our company is set up here).

Our conversations are mostly impersonal: they are usually about the work, not about the specific way in which a person is doing their work. The conversations happen between role holders for the benefit of the organisation. It is about how the work should be done, not about how I am or have been doing the work.

Except when it actually is about personal performance: When a person is clearly not doing their job according to the agreed-on principles, our process also shows it very clearly and opens up a conversation about what can be done (should the job be reassigned to someone else? Does the person holding the role need more support?). This makes the conversation about changing the person’s job or reassigning their roles much easier than if it were mixed up with a conversation about the structure of the work.

Having said all that, we do run into personal conflicts too. I hope that people will speak up, and address me personally when I messed up, or that they process it through Holacracy, so that we can all learn collectively, and build structure that may prevent future conflicts.

Bring your email inbox down to Zero!

How do you feel about your email? Happy? Overwhelmed? Stressed?

As we go along working with teams and organisations, we often find that individuals feel overwhelmed and out-of-control with their email, putting them under stress and making it difficult to relate to others. After all, working with others will only put more email into your inbox!

If you would like to improve how you handle your email, and spend less time checking and worrying about your inbox and more time getting things done, our Inbox Zero Guide is for you.

Written by personal productivity expert Rob van den Brand, it walks you through a series of simple steps that make you regain control of your email inbox. If you would like personal support, we offer live online coaching for this too. But let’s start simply: Request your free copy of “Inbox Zero” here!