Category Archives: Resources

Open Partner Meeting: What’s Your Practice?

The Structure & Process Partner Meeting is one of our favourite formats for joyful, meaningful collaboration.

The main ingredients have remained mostly the same for the past few years: an agile agenda, a dedicated meeting facilitator, clarity on work modes, space and time for personal exchange, the pile of success, good food… – you can find details about all these elements here.

More recently, we have been increasingly inviting external guests, which lead to Open Partner Meetings: In these, we collaborate with clients, colleagues, applicants, friends and other interested (and interesting!) people.

During the last Open Partner Meeting (Feb 27 – March 2) in Dresden, another element emerged in the form of a question:

What is our practice?

practice /ˈpraktɪs/ noun

  1. The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
  2. The customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing of something.
  3. Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. (Source)

We noticed that the practices at Structure & Process can basically be summarised in three categories: personal organization/productivity, community building and governance.

Scribbles & notes about our practices

Our personal productivity practices enable us to do good work in the first place: host yourself first, to make yourself available for collaboration.

Then we come together and form a community: We build personal relationships and discover our shared interests as the basis for co-creation. We refine our purpose as an organisation, grounded in community.

And then, to function smoothly as collaborators, we build governance systems/practices that allow us to orchestrate and focus our efforts.

Here is how some of our practices showed up at the last Open Partner Meeting:

Personal Organisation

  • “What do I need?” – Our favourite starting point for solving problems and getting stuff done. Turns out that asking this question is a practice in and of itself. The answers become part of the agenda.
    We ask “What do I need?” (or, when facilitated: “what do you need?”), not: “what do we need? What should we do?” We make our work personal.

  • Capture, process, do – whenever a meeting or session leads to actionable items, the habit is to capture those items, process them to a place that makes sense (personal todo list, shared Trello board) and then do it when the time is right. Things don’t get lost, and action happens at the right place and time.
    Knowing that you and your partners run on some version of this system builds trust and allows being present in the moment.
Capturing the outline of Open Partner Meeting

Community Building

Check-in Circle
  • Circles – every morning we check in together as one coherent group of individuals. At the end of the day we check out again, sharing whatever moves us at that particular time.
  • We prioritize relationships and quality of life – during Partner Meetings there’s plenty of time for food, music and good conversation :-)

Governance:

  • Whenever we go into planning mode (“what is the next thing to do now?”) there is no consensus building on the agenda point that everyone wants to do, but rather taking the initiative to host a session and then seeing who shows up (open-space-style).

  • We are very clear on our individual roles and accountabilities, which makes task assignment easy, efficient and relaxed.
  • One of our Holacratic Governance Meetings took place during this week. Guests could watch and ask questions about the process afterwards.

Practice with us!

The next Open Partner Meeting will happen on October 24-26 2017, again in Dresden. Our guests typically get more clarity on their questions related to organisational development, collaboration, personal path in business/life and generally have a good time… They explore their own projects, or collaborating with Structure & Process. Some have found jobs and love! ;-)

You are most welcome! (Sign up to our newsletter to receive an invite in time!)

Now we’d like to hear from you…

  • What is the practice that informs your work?
  • What do you find yourself doing again and again?
  • How do you apply the ideas and theories that guide your work in practice?

Let us know in the comments!

Links of the Week (week 5/2016)

LinksoftheWeek

This week’s link collection features three articles on Organisational Development, one on Software development and one on the best way to get feedback from your customers. Enjoy!

Getting magical feedback

Sean Smith writes about a well crafted question that can get you magical feedback from customers. Where did he learn this? In Disneyland. Read his article on Medium.

How Trello got started

Continue reading Links of the Week (week 5/2016)

Links of the Week (Week 3/2016)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from several of our partners’ reading lists.

Facilitation & complexity

Chris Corrigan writes about the danger of being attached to an outcome in facilitation or consulting situations. Referring to the story of a recent Netflix series that dealt with this topic, he asks the question:

how do we let go of a pre-conceived outcome so that we can truly learn what’s going on and make decisions based on good information?

Read all about it in The curse of predetermining outcomes.

The value of your degree

A remarkable piece of news from the accountancy world. Ernst & Young have decided to no longer require prospective new hires to have a university degree. Continue reading Links of the Week (Week 3/2016)

Links of the Week (Week 50/2015)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from our link collection:

Business Planning

Are you working on a new product but don’t know yet whether there is enough interest in your solution? Inbound Rocket offers some useful tips how to talk to potential customers and get feedback for your idea: 5 Strategies We Used to Get Over 150 Customer Conversations.

Organisational Development

Aaron Dignet draws an interesting framework to systemise current approaches and experiments for a more open, fluid business organisation: He takes the head count of the company and their specific risk and puts together a helpful matrix for self-assessment: How to choose a model of self-organization that works for you.

Personal Purpose

This is an article that is a bit painful to read when you are a person that loves to make plans and strategic decisions (like me). Chris Clark shares a conversation with Frederic Laloux about the steps that would normally follow a successful book like “Reinventing Orgnizations”. But Laloux keeps to his mindset shared in the book, refuses to make big plans and just has one major advice: Follow your personal answer to the question: “What’s next?” Where Is All This Teal Stuff Going? The Future of Reinventing Organizations.

Holacracy

A report from Dutch organisation Voys who has implemented Holacracy: People are working more, because they like their work,  meetings are better and a boost of productivity ensued: “Is Holacracy our way forward or are we actually just making it harder for ourselves?”

Auf deutsch:

Kilian Kleinschmidt leitete Flüchtlingslager in aller Welt. Im Interview beschreibt er unter anderem, wie Menschen sich in diesen Lagern selbst organisieren, sich ihre individuellen Freiräume und damit ihre Würde selbst schaffen. Das tun sie oft gegen den Widerstand der Organisatoren, die Standardisierung und Kontrolle bevorzugen würden. Heute sagt er: “Es hat bei mir ein bisschen gedauert, bis ich begriffen habe, dass der Mut zum Chaos ein menschlicheres Miteinander ermöglicht.” „Arroganz des Helfens“

Links of the Week (Week 48/2015)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from our link collection.

Productivity

What can we do to drive our inspiration and prevent us from getting blocked in our work? Get out, read, have fun, be open! Problems of Output are Problems of Input.

Business Planning

You want to start your own business but have no desire or time to write a 60 pages long business plan? The Lean Canvas for business planning is a handy tool to track your progress and keep stakeholders on board. How to Run More Effective Board Meetings with a Business Model Progress Timeline.

Good Work

This articles analyses how our understanding of the human nature shapes current workplaces and why this leads to unsatisfied humans. It has an illustrating example how economic incentives destroy the moral grounds of decent behavior. The author pleads for shaping workplaces that motivate people to do the (morally) right thing instead of the economic right thing. Psychologist Barry Schwartz on What Motivates Us to Work, Why Incentives Fail, and How Our Ideas About Human Nature Shape Who We Become.

Working Out Loud

John Stepper asks why especially Germans are interested in Working Out Loud. He points out that it doesn’t depend on Nationality: “They share the universal intrinsic motivators of autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and they feel working out loud can give them more control over their work and life while increasing their access to learning and their sense of connectedness.” Why Are So Many German Companies Interested In Working Out Loud?

Auf deutsch:

Die Bahn als innovatives Unternehmen? Im so genannten d.lab wird seit April kräftig experimentiert und entwickelt, um eine “Verbesserung des Kundenerlebnisses” herbeizuführen. Geschäftsführererin Kerstin Hartmann erklärt im Interview genauer, wie das gehen soll: Im Bahn-Labor der innovativen Ideen.

In der Ideenschmiede kann man übrigens mitmachen, vielleicht die Chance, gelegentlichen Bahnfrust in “konstruktive Bahnen” zu lenken?

Links of the Week (Week 46/2015)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from our link collection.

Leadership

A chef reflects on being a good leader for his team and what is needed for that. In a nutshell: Be the best, work the hardest, know your team. Read all of his 8 points to get the full picture: 8 Things That Actually Make You a Good Chef.

Meetings

Here comes a list with 8 other points. The author is pointing out how conventional meeting settings are wasting time and money, while people actually want to network, create and develop: How to Waste $270.000/h in 8 Easy Steps.

Organizational Development

7 is a nice number, as well. So, here are 7 recommendations how to refactor away organizational debt after the start-up phase in a company. The author argues that it is crucial to be aware of that debt and the need to repay it. Not taking care of it will lead to a loss of the valuable and necessary employees that built the company: Organizational Debt is like Technical debt – but worse.

Personal Development

Life is a constant change. James Altucher wants us to embrace that change and transform this energy into a happy and satisfying life. In his article he answers more than 50 questions around reinventing yourself on a daily basis. One of them: Read a lot of books.

Auf deutsch:

Zeit Online stellt vier Initiativen aus der Start-up Szene vor, die sich aktiv für die Verbesserung der Lebenslage geflüchteter Menschen engagieren: Von Computerkursen über Jobs bis hin zu besseren Unterkünften. Start-ups für Flüchtlinge.

Links of the Week (Week 45/2015)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, curated from our link collection.

Holacracy

Considering to change your organization model? This article points out some of the benefits of running on Holacracy and under which circumstances its adaption is most successful. Is Holacracy Right for You? Here Is What You Need to Know.
“So whether you decide to pursue Holacracy or not, you should take some time thinking about the issues that it brings to the fore and ask: If not Holacracy, then what?”
Voys and Devhouse Spindle have implemented Holacracy in the spring this year. In an interview the founder Mark Vletter gives a review of the process and how Holacracy changed his life. Six Month Holacracy.
“Getting people involved and making them understand how to become entrepreneurial. I feel that in the long run this is most crucial and difficult part.”

Consulting

A love declaration to the white board. The article counts the pros of using a white board and explains its role in consulting work: Consulting confession: I love the white board.

“It makes the experience creative, tactile, interactive, and open-ended. It’s a running joke with my teams that I will take any opportunity to pickup a dry-erase pen and head towards the whiteboard – like a moth to a night light.”
Tom Nixon offers an important clarification to Frederic Laloux book Reinventing Organisations. He emphasises the role of the founder of the organization despite the decentralized process in Holacracy or Sociocracy. The founder is the one who holds the space and provides the vision defining an existential value for the development and motivation of the people in the organization. Nixon develops his understanding of organisations further into an organic web of relations “and consider all of humanity as one interconnected ecosystem”. Resolving the awkward Paradox in Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations. 
“It organically grows what’s working, and rejects what isn’t. Yet there’s still one person holding the vision for the whole.”

Body & Mind

Some good tips for those sitting at their work: Pay back your movement debt. Your body will be thankful. How to Reverse the Damage of Sitting and Human Domestication.

Auf deutsch:

Über Ideale, Erwachsenwerden, Weltverbesserung und Pragmatismus. Mit einem Schuss Kant. Man fühlt sich besser, wenn man versucht die Welt zu verbessern.
“Nach einer verbreiteten Ansicht bedeutet erwachsen zu werden, dass man auf die eigenen Hoffnungen und Träume verzichtet und sich mit der Realität abfindet. Ich finde das nicht erwachsen, sondern trostlos.”

Links of the Week (Week 44/2015)

LinksoftheWeek

Here are our Links of the Week, with a special focus on Holacracy this time, curated from our link collection.

Holacracy

In Unlocking the Benefits of Self-Management Without Going All In on Holacracy, Mike Arauz, a Co-Founder of August, describes the lessons they have learned from Holacracy without relying on the system in their new company.

“While many of Holacracy’s underlying principles are incredibly valuable, it is possible to reap the benefits without formally adopting Holacracy.”

 

Ever wondered how to make the transition to a new organization model like Holacracy? In Holacracy at BSL: Moving Forward Denitsa Marinova shares her experience of a workshop with a Holacracy-trained coach as the first step.

“Upon reflection, I see how brilliant this is – Holacracy creates a work space where employees speak out of their functional roles and keep personal feelings at bay – a safe space which rules out power games altogether.”

 

Laura Groten adds a personal assessment to this Holacracy collection. In her article, she focuses on the benefits of Holacracy for her individual development:

“Working with Holacracy, I am empowered to make things better, participate in making decisions and improve my work environment.”

Auf deutsch:

In 10 Dinge, die ich gelernt habe, seitdem ich ein Team führe listet Juliane auf Kleinerdrei einige wichtige Erkenntnisse und Reflektionen über Führung und Teamarbeit auf – als Bonus untermalt mit 10 passenden Gifs. Ein wichtiger Ratschlag einer Freundin: „Never freak out before you have to freak out.”
“Was sie meinte, war: Hole dir alle Informationen, die du brauchst, bevor du glaubst, dass die Katastrophe eingetroffen ist. Spar deine Energie, solange du nicht weißt, ob du Grund zum Ausflippen hast.”