Tag Archives: s&p

Structure & Process Work Notes, January 2018 (Martina)

Welcome, to what may become a new column here on our blog! With these notes, I want to chronicle our work year and provide updates on what we do and how our thinking and practise develops. I start it as an experiment – your feedback is very welcome!

We started this work year very slowly, and, myself, after coming from a solid, long vacation in December. I worked only from home in the first week of January, sorting out emails, cleaning things up, creating good working conditions.

And then we kicked things off not with a workshop, partner meeting or, well, a kick-off, but with a retreat.

5 days in the most beautiful of places, reconnecting with each other as coworkers and collaborators, and inviting clients to join us. For what? For being together in mindfulness, to breathe, relax, look deeply into things, and see if work might also happen. Which it did. I was fascinated with how well everything went, with the new ideas that came up (one of which went into practise immediately), with the ease of being together.

The sun sets over Scharmützelsee near Bad Saarow, January 10th 2018

Week 3 had a final work team meeting at reinblau, our main organisational development client in Berlin. I was glad to wrap up the work for now, and give it over into full responsibility of the client. The rhythm felt right: There is time for consulting and input and change, and a time to let things settle or unfold in new ways, to step away, and come back at another time.

I got stuck in Berlin with the storm and found myself with a gorgeous room at the Lux 11 for the night, looking out on Alexanderplatz. From there, I ran a call with our new clients in Groningen in the next morning, discussing next steps and setting up a new workshop with them. (We started working with a team of researchers from the University of Groningen in November 2017, working with a process based on our strategy workshop. More to come.)

A room with a view. (January 18th 2018)

In the final week, I reconnected with Holacracy Club, a Berlin-based community of Holacracy practitioners that I hadn’t been with in many months. I was glad to get updates on what everyone is doing. It turned out that many of us are now consultants! (When I joined in 2016, I was the only one.)

I explored three new  incoming work requests from potential clients and produced proposals for all of them.


Our work feels easy and calm and purposeful at the moment. The work load is just right. Occasional feelings of overwhelm point me to better personal organisation, rather than to changes in the company.

We basically function as a team of 2 people now. While last year this has given me some worry about not having enough capacity or not being interesting enough, I now appreciate the ease of coordination and the sense of personal responsibility that this gives us. As we keep the number of concurrent projects low (and are making conscious effort to reduce work-in-progress where we can), we can stay focused and make good progress in all places that need attention.

Good to be writing again. Hello, world.

5 Ingredients for a Beautiful Team Retreat

Last month, we started 2018 with a residential Partner Retreat. We (and our guests) liked it so much that we’re already planning the next one for May.

We know that some of our clients, colleagues and readers organise their own team retreats regularly, so we thought we’d share with you which ingredients helped us most to make it such a rewarding and inspiring experience.

1. A Beautiful Place

We know that space matters. We know it well enough to have a designated role that takes care of it. And yet, we were once again surprised to see how very much it matters.

The Salon

Eibenhof, which hosted us for the five days of the Partner Retreat, was absolutely lovely. A cozy house on a family estate right by the lake, with our own fire place, a spacious country kitchen, various naptime spots and lovely walking routes right outside the door.

Continue reading 5 Ingredients for a Beautiful Team Retreat

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.

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.

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!

Partner Meetings at Structure & Process

The Team at Structure & Process works from multiple locations. And while our online infrastructure (based on Slack and Trello) is great, from time to time we need to get together to figure things out in person, have some fun, and work on current projects in just one place. We call these gatherings Partner Meetings.

What are the defining characteristics of our Partner Meetings?

  • We have an Agile Agenda: Everyone can add items at any time, and we decide together in which order the items are processed.
  • The meeting has a facilitator. They are elected in the beginning and help the team to navigate through all agenda items.
  • There are scheduled unscheduled times during partner meetings: These allow space for personal exchange and fun together.
  • We work a lot. In those 2-4 days everybody focuses on Structure & Process work intensely, we dive into passionate collaboration.
  • During the meeting there is good food. Whether it is self-made or our favourite Asian food (when we meet in Düsseldorf), it is always delicious. We take ample time for lunch and other breaks.
  • Guests are invited. Besides the Team of Structure & Process, we usually have at least one guest at Partner Meetings: these can be external collaboration partners or candidates who are in the process of deciding whether to join us.
  • The Pile of Success collects all our processed agenda cards – a tangible symbol of our accomplishments in the meeting. We burn the pile ritually to celebrate our successful meeting at the end.

Here are some impressions of our last Partner Meeting in Düsseldorf in September.

Continue reading Partner Meetings at Structure & Process

New Service offering: Personal Productivity

A team relies on the effectiveness and productivity of its individual members. That is why we have taken up a new Personal Productivity offering into our service offerings. We offer personal training and coaching for effectiveness, productivity and personal organisation.

With the individuals well-organised, the team can develop its full capacity.

And with a well-organised team, personal productivity actually makes sense.

Company Circle visualisation, Röll & Korvenmaa's Company Circle, April 8th 2014

Clarifying roles and accountabilities in Holacracy – our April 8th Governance Meeting explained

In our company, we use Holacracy as our Operating Model: it allows us to develop great clarity on what we actually do (what our work processes are) and who does what (who is responsible for taking a particular action).

The functions and accountabilities are captured in Roles, and are being refined in Governance Meetings. You can study all of our company’s roles in our public governance records and there is a history of Governance and Tactical Meeting minutes available too.

(Note: since publishing this article, we have restructured the company, making most links in the following paragraphs not functional anymore.)

Clarifying accountabilities

If you look at this morning’s governance meeting, you can see the subtleties of governance in Holacracy. For example

  • we noticed that nobody was actually responsible for maintaining lists of participants of our events. We captured this as a new accountability for our Events Outreach Role. Having responsibilities in Sales and Marketing and Idea Sharing, I can relax now, knowing that this is  being taken care of by Tanja in her Events Outreach role.

The changes made to the Collaboration Logistics and Sales Operations roles also reflect these small, better understandings of the business functions. (See the minutes to see the changes highlighted.)

Continue reading Clarifying roles and accountabilities in Holacracy – our April 8th Governance Meeting explained