Today was my second day at Knowmads and just like yesterday there was a lot going on except this time there were 15 more people due to the Knowmadic Learning Lab which is connected to the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam (HvA). It was hard for me to create a post because I have so much information swirling around in my head from these 2 days and on top of that exhaustion which doesn’t really help with creative writing. But here I go and I finally finish around 1:30am…
We had a values workshop presented by Fokke Wijnstra who created a company called FiNext that has a linear business organization structure. Yes, a linear structure and the company has a 3% sick rate and a double digits profit margin. There aren’t any managers, or an HR dept, nor a sales or marketing department. Employees create groups of 6-12 people and work on projects then are empowered to move to other groups if they want to take on sales for a few months or a finance project. They don’t have certain job descriptions to follow that keep them limited in their work. These employees create roles for themselves and take on responsibilities to get things accomplished. Talk about changing your beliefs on how businesses can function successfully! Could this be the business of the future where control and power are eliminated and empowerment and connectedness is what makes the company progress? This linear concept is something I’m definitely going to keep in the back of my mind when it comes time to create an organizational structure for my business.
After Fokke explained how the organizational structure of FiNext worked, we got into the values workshop. I actually did a really good values assessment a couple months ago sent to me by a friend of mine (I’ll only mention the initials Amanda Blanck) to figure out what my core values in life are. I did the exercise and discovered my top 5 were adventure, freedom, health, hope, and contribution. Narrowing it down to those 5 was excruciatingly hard and I didn’t want to get rid of other values because they meant so much to me. What finally helped me reach that top 5 was the notion that these values weren’t set in stone and depending on where I am with my life other values can take the lead. Take for instance the value of love or family. I really wanted those values to be in my top 5 but when it came down to the nitty gritty, the top 5 I came up with trumped love and family and that is ok because sometime in the future those values will have their special moment on my values stage. (Amanda can be found at Deviate, a performance enhancement consultancy)
Fokke had us break up into 2 tribes and one knowmadic learning lab and figure out as a group (after we did it independently which my own our in parenthesis),
A. What get’s us up out of bed in the morning (new experiences, a challenge, a goal, a flight that is taking me somewhere, exercise (with a buddy))
B. What are our needs (adventure, love, freedom, laughter, solitude/autonomy, responsibility, change, movement/health, growth, knowledge, and the list goes on)
C. What makes us angry and then what value does that represent (lateness, lack of your word ->integrity, wastefulness->respect, bureaucracy->freedom, and surprisingly the list went on)
D. What are we good at/what do we want to learn at Knowmads (enthusiasm, positivity, goals/learning how to inspire, starting a revolution, turning ideas into action)
This exercise was actually the first exercise the official Tribe 5 did as a group and it actually went quite smoothly. We were able to come up with a general list of each of the 4 topics by going around and giving our number 1 answer for each topic. I think what we debated on the most was how we defined certain words (it’s interesting how people define solitude). After we agreed on the definition or finding the best word for what we meant we added it to our list. We had agreed at the beginning to speak up if we didn’t agree about what someone wanted to represent on our list but that actually didn’t happen much. I don’t think there was one person who spoke up about not wanting a value/need represented on our Tribe 5 list until I mentioned solitude but that goes back to definitions. Either we all have a lot of the same values or we were just compromising so we could have something written down and then we could have a debate on them after we completed the first round. Honestly I think it was the latter, but we never got to go through our second round of debate or narrowing down the list because we ran out of time.
When the exercise was done Fokke asked us to observe how are values were exhibited while doing the exercise. He said that values aren’t just something you paint on your company’s entry way. When you live your values, you let your values live. So even though we wrote down a ton of values and needs we want in our Tribe, I think we did exhibit a couple of the values and needs we were discussing during the exercise like fun/laughter, respect, and open-mindedness. If we can continue to let those values shine through in our tribe then at least that’s a nice solid foundation but yet they’re never set in stone so we can always change them.
And I’ll leave you with my favorite values pyramid…