The Power of Teams Series — Episode 2

Originally published at teal-for-startups on Malek Jaber and Steph Thommen compiled the information; the authors of the Team text are Federica Marra and David Ghirardello for This Project, and Floor Martens, Malek Jaber, and Natalia Blagoeva for Unleashed Leadership.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

To follow on from our first episode, we like to continue to share stories of experiments emerging across the ecosystem. We are looking especially at team based experiments and how those teams formed.

In this second episode, we would like to share two team journeys, one from This Project and the other from Unleash Leadership.

Our purpose is to ‘be’ the bridge between the traditional economic system and new ways of working.” — Unleash Leadership

Our aim is enhancing the impact of consciousness development through awareness-based social technology.” — This Project

This Project Team

A brief intro of our vision, purpose and offering.

This Project is aimed at enhancing the impact of consciousness development through awareness-based social technology. We strongly believe that the Internet as a virtual world–a potential reality by definition–could be a fertile ground for exploring new human possibilities and that it has an incredible (and largely unrealized) potential to support psychological, emotional, and spiritual growth. Our mission is to take an active approach to integrate its development and put scalable tech projects in service of individuals, relationships, and groups to discover themselves.

We are currently working on a social technology tool for people to experience self development practices online: a safe and purpose-built environment where a set of activities (processes) guide groups through learning and sharing. These processes will be based on established social development methodologies (e.g. U Theory, Dragon Dreaming, Possibility Management, Process Work) and will facilitate individual and group dynamics in a workshop-like environment.

How did we find each other and what was the resonating factor that brought us together?

We met two and a half years ago at an interdisciplinary course aimed at creating new startups. From our very first conversations we felt that our sincere openness for learning and our committed intention for creating were deeply resonating, so we became a team in no time. This bond grew as we understood that the course’s vision of creating competitive startups mainly focused on generating 10x income was not our own.

How did we align on a shared purpose?

It was our shared experience with personal development and holistic sustainability. During last year, we got closer to this world by meeting a variety of change-makers, social entrepreneurs, and pioneers in alternative livelihoods, and we came across years of valuable research on self-knowledge, responsible relationships, conflict resolution, deep communication and effective decision-making. We found out that an incredible number of these highly effective tools were unknown to many people, and we witnessed the overt and covert struggle of these innovators to make value be perceived outside their niche. That was a wonderful opportunity to declare our intention to help find ways in which new contexts could have access to these resources so that their impact would be greater and their potential fully realized. We invested a year in dreaming up of ideas to share that energy with more and more people–we wanted them to get a lot out of it, like we did.

What surprised us as being easy?

We have found it very natural for us to work together and share responsibilities depending on our skills and inspiration.

What challenges did we face during the process? How did we resolve them?

Our greatest challenge has been to deal with stakeholders’ perception of technology, which is reluctantly considered as a viable and valuable tool for their work. To address this, we are setting out specific use cases for each stakeholder to allow them to understand the project’s utility and potential from their point of view and needs.

What did we learn from the journey?

While making sure all cases make up the bigger picture, we are also allowing the project to flow and reinvent itself with each new input. This journey is teaching us to see things from a systems perspective and to treat the project as a transforming being. Putting our and others’ whole wellbeing first and doing something that we really resonate with is what we are learning to do day after day.

What are our key ask to continue our journey?

Of course any financial support would allow us to move faster and fully focus on the project, but the greatest gift right now would be to get in touch with people who resonate with this project and who can introduce us with groups and organisations that could benefit from it and who want to experiment with us.

Unleash Leadership Team

A brief intro of our vision, purpose and offering.

The purpose of Unleash Leadership is to ‘be’ the bridge between the traditional economic system and new ways of working. Our mission is to support people and organizations in their transformation journey, through creating safe learning spaces and growth experiences.

We believe that there are two islands, the larger one representing the traditional economic system, and the smaller one consisting of emerging new ways of working communities (e.g. Teal, Theory U, etc). We sensed there was a real need to manifest a bridge between these two islands.

Our founding vision: We breathe-in to energize on a journey with curiosity, compassion, creativity and courage and we breathe-out to realize a more beautiful abundant world for greatness of all.”

Our values: Flowing Inspiration, Intuitive Perspective, Compassionate Resilience, Transformational Diversity, Humble Greatness.

How did we find each other?

We found each other through two online groups Theory U in Practice and Teal for Startups (T4S) with a common interest in Theory U, Teal and Seven Levels of Consciousness. Online T4S resonance-ship calls enabled us to first connect. After a Theory U in-person event, and a driven desire for bigger impact for the communities, we had further calls to discuss ideas given our similar intentions. Very soon the three of us united around a common insight that people, in Theory U in Practice, T4S and Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), share similar hopes for the future and are united by common purpose. We started discussing the possibilities of scaling our impact.

What was the resonating factor that brought us together?

We have a shared interest in new ways of looking at work and life, and we are creators and doers. After being in several online groups, we discovered many people were interested primarily in co-learning while we are more interested in moving towards co-creating. We wanted to start by focusing via an international effort on doing things together, instead of on learning only the theoretical part. We felt appreciation for the different things each one had to offer. For example; organizing local events, in depth of knowledge on organizational change processes, etc. We had immediate resonance from our first call; given that we are on similar journeys and our past experiences. We had a feeling of flow from the very first meeting. There was energy in continuing with the conversations and as the feeling of growing trust increased with every call, it felt natural to commit to a joint initiative. Our shared goal is: to contribute to a better world with a focus on organizations.

How did we align on a shared purpose?

As we decided to work on a joint initiative, we agreed to meet in person for several days so that we could allocate more time together. In preparation for that meeting, we continued with our virtual calls and during one of them we worked on our purpose. We started by writing our individual purposes, and as we read them, we realized (by that time to nobody’s surprise) that there was a lot of synergy. Writing the common purpose was effortless and followed a natural flow. We wrote about our long term intention, and we aligned on our desire to make a difference in the world. After several weekly calls, we eventually met in-person at the Synergy Hub, in Rotterdam in September 2016. It was joyful to find so much resonance in an otherwise diverse team of people who had never met before. It felt as if we were united by purpose and we organically complemented each other.

How did we share responsibilities?

We follow a very natural process. We shared and applied our knowledge and experience of Theory U, Teal and the Seven Levels of Consciousness alongside with our worldwide experiences in corporate, startups, government, educational institutions and social enterprises. We also leveraged our international networks given our residences in Berlin, London and Zurich. Most of the work was intuitively shared. As needed, we undertook the relevant effort and did what needed to be done.

What challenges did we face during the process? How did we resolve them?

There was a point when we questioned where we were going. It seemed that we had great calls but we were not advancing towards a clear end result. We resolved it by holding the “not knowing” with grace. That meant letting go of the expectation of knowing in advance where are we heading. You could say that the Theory U program supported us in that. When you are practically oriented and pro-active, being at that place of not knowing can feel like a real challenge. We were however aware that we needed to first invest in the relationship, and be patient to let things come to the surface. Today, it feels like this initial investment in connecting made the potentially longer term relationship possible.

What surprised us as being easy?

Our working together so far always felt like being in a flow. It was just really easy, simple, without tensions. We each took roles naturally and could bring our whole-selves in the group. Our virtual connection leveraging Skype, Facebook and Google Docs always felt easy and fluid as well.

What did we learn from the journey?

We learned the importance of allowing the space for “not knowing”. We learned the importance of allocating time for getting to know each other. As a result, we became much more aware and knowledgeable of each other before doing something together. We validated also the importance of being before doing. It allows alignment to happen, which makes the doing easier. We believe that, after going through this process, new journeys with different working groups could move faster.

We would like to offer our gratitude and appreciation to the following communities who have been part of our journey: Teal for Startups, Theory U in Practice, Presencing Institute (U.Lab1.x.), Seven Levels of Consciousness, Reinventing Organizations.

What is our key ask to continue our journey?

Can you connect us with key decision makers in traditional organisations who are ready to adopt new ways of working? Or would you like to roll this out across your team, department, and-or entire organisation? Then feel free to reach out to us.

Can you help one of the Teams with their key ask?

If you can help and would like to be connected with them, then kindly fill out this form.

The Power of Teams Series — Our Intention

The first intention of the The Power of Teams Series is to share stories and provide insights on team formations which may help the community and beyond. The second intention is to make the teams key asks visible in order to support their journey.

We have co-created a guiding framework to facilitate the sharing of team journeys, as follows:

  • A brief intro of your vision, purpose and offering.
  • How did you find each other and what was the resonating factor that brought you together?
  • How did you align on a shared purpose?
  • How did you share responsibilities?
  • What challenges did you face during the journey?
  • How did you resolve them?
  • What surprised you as being easy?
  • What did you learn from the journey?
  • What is your key ask to continue your journey?

How to Participate?

If you would like to share your journey within the T4S community then fill this form to be considered in the next blog. This is also a great tool to help grow your team and to make your key ask visible.

Would you like to read more Teams Journeys?

Read two more team journeys in Episode 1 here.

Republished with permission of the authors.

Featured Image/graphic link added by Enlivening Edge Magazine.