Recently I joined a community. I was looking to expand my network and be part of something big. I was fortunate to find The Hague Tech; a community of startups, independent consultants and investors. We all share the same working environment, have lunch together, and enjoy good ping-pong matches throughout the day to release stress whenever needed. From a professional perspective, a community is a powerful organisation that each member voluntarily chooses to take part in. Unlike more traditional organisations, members will not stay in case they feel that their added-value is not being valued.
Being an Organisation Consultant in a community that is mainly compiled out of startups is not something to take for granted. Why? Because startups are target driven and have a very clear check list: funding, product, client - go! Probably till I joined the community nobody thought to reflect on their working dynamics from cultural and teamwork aspects. Since my first day at this community I felt at home, and not because of the great coffee they serve here, but because people are interested in what I do. Sounds too simplistic? Of course, but too often we tend to forget to genuinely be interested in the people around us, and remember that asking and listening are very important tools to get closer to people.
When referring to teams, at times we are not clear about our talents or added-value within a team or group of people, but once we figure this out we are able to point where we can really make a difference. If we look into the majority of organisations, teams are being formed for a long period of time. After all you were hired to do a specific job within a permanent team. While ‘long-term’ teams can manage some successful projects together, other projects with different needs might be less effective so we should never take for granted that one team can duplicate success over and over again. It all depends on the specific goals and the composition of the team members to answer the desired outcomes. I would refer to it as a more dynamic than static approach.
That said, within a few weeks into The Hague Tech I’ve been asked to join a project that is a collaboration of the community together with Samsung and Dyade Group, to bring educators closer to technology. The director of the community and one of the initiators of this project put a team together, while closely thinking what each individual can uniquely contribute to the success of the project: a developer for the technicalities, a UX designer for the product experience, and a facilitator to lead clients’ engagement and collaboration. The starting point for us was a meeting where we heard why we were put together and how we can complement each other during the project. We were aligned on the context, importance, and purpose, and the supportive words from the director already gave us a feeling that we can rely on one another
We had two days to get ready for the project ‘kick-off’ together with clients at the Samsung headquarters. Working with people you never worked before, in such an important project, can be a challenging experience. Lots of patience, understanding, listening, and good argumentations are required to make a clients’ session an unforgettable one. On the other hand, when starting from scratch with people you didn’t collaborate before has great advantages; a blank page, fresh viewpoints, and the most important thing: knowing what is the talent of each and every one of us, as there are clear reasons why we were put together. Eventually, the ‘kick-off’ was very successful and the dynamic between me, playing the role of the facilitator, the developer, and the UX designer, was natural. The participants were thrilled and the input received was crucial for the upcoming steps.
Now, after the first session was completed, the UX designer and developer will continue for the next meetings, while I might depart as the role I played will continue in a different shape and form, according to the needs of the project. One scenario is that another person might be added to deliver a specific talent that the team requires further in the process. And that’s the beauty of it all; the team adapts, changes, and develops according to the moment. while the community can nurture the talents and knowledge of the professionals in the best possible way.
And while, there are many different co-working environments out there, with shared spaces and ideals, The Hague Tech is definitely a unique one, where the founders and management embrace the power of its people. And if going to the beginning of this post, their magic secret is simply to be interested in the other and listen to what they want to do and where they would like to contribute. In teams formation, personal contribution, and employees’ engagement - this is the ABC for everything.