Human-centric, strategic, entrepreneurial and inclusive leader with demonstrated history of building and leading high performing organizations in pharmaceutical industry. Scientific and regulatory professional, skilled in biotech and small molecule product development, analytics and manufacture as well as commercialization. Inspired by NewWork culture, sustainability and corporate responsibility and life-long learning. That pretty much sums up our next guest, Hanns-Christian Mahler, the CEO at ten23 Health.
Living Room Conversations: ten23’s Teal Design for Scale with Hanns-Christian Mahler
Hello good morning good afternoon good evening everyone thank you for tuning in to the living room conversations podcast my name is Ray on you I’m a catalyst at life sciences and I will be the host to the to the today’s episode of uh the living room conversations um you might be wondering what is this living room conversations podcast all about so what we do here is basically tackle conversations that are near and dear to us um so we love uh the topic of transformation of change deal agility and all of that and we have people who have pioneered in this area of expertise who are joining us in our living room couch to talk about their experiences to talk about um you know the the learnings and the unlearnings that they have to go through in order to make the change happen so today’s episode is uh no different than that however we do have amazing people who are joining us in this conversation and today I get to host this conversation with Hans Christian Maller he is the CEO of 1023 Health it’s um and I would say not anymore a startup but it’s very close to that in the form of field here in Boston so Switzerland and Hans has been pioneering in amazing new ways of work and I’m always inspired uh at the um at the lengths they go through as an organization to actually bring about change in workplaces and organizations and I’m very honored to have this conversation so Hans would you like to join me in our living room couch thank you Ria thank you so much for having me and thank you for the kind words as as part of the introductions um very much looking forward to our conversation today yeah I am very um excited to our conversation two hands and um I’m pretty sure our audience in LinkedIn and Facebook and then YouTube are also tuned in and ready to shoot some questions our way as we tackle this conversation so please don’t be shy uh drop your questions in the chat and we will make sure that we ask Hans those questions and we get those uh inspiring answers uh to some of your questions um yeah so maybe um just to kick off kick start the conversation um Hans uh tell us a little bit about yourself in about 10 23 health yeah so um maybe by um starting um pretty much about uh like some some story about myself I’m German as you can probably tell but my accent was born in this partner close to Frankfurt in Germany um was raised there um went to school there um and I studied Pharmacy um in in Germany as well and then went on to pharmaceutical industry to become an Indus industry pharmacist and um uh was done um changing jobs to join rosh back in the day in 2005 that is what brought me to Basel um I’ve been living in the in the area ever since and in 2021 um I started my own company and entity with 1023 Health with support of some investors of course and 1023 health is a pharmaceutical service organization so we are supporting pharmaceutical companies but also biotech startups in developing their sterile products with formulations compositions and then also produce the material for them thank you and um you know you founded this company and you’ve been in the Pharma industry for um for a while um was there any motivations that actually brought you to where you are today with um with 1023 health well it was it was an interesting interesting journey and indeed I’m in the Pharma industry um for probably something like north of 20 years um maybe in hindsight it’s interesting also to see because I’ve been working in so many corporates during this time uh on how I actually interacted in these corporates was already probably a little more entrepreneurial than what the job description may have said at the time um and I’ve been um you know blessed in building building organizations and new processes and and things like that so I think the the concept of building something up has been um accompanied me like ever since I started my first job and I was pretty blessed with many of the line managers that I that I had the pleasure to you know work with they gave me quite a enormous amount of degrees of freedom and um there’s one one quote that totally resonates with me where the prior CEO of a company I worked for uh said we don’t ask for permission ask for forgiveness so please you know um just just move on and that’s where um I think it was probably a journey of what what I did in my professional life that led me in in becoming a little bit more entrepreneurial yeah I think it’s um it’s really one thing to be part of an organization and changing it uh and another to build something from scratch and design it the way you want to design it right so very different perspectives but they both come with challenges just different challenges no absolutely and but even in a in a larger organizations I think that’s where you could still um you know operate or you always need to operate against uh you know your values and beliefs and uh you could you could build a climate or microclimate and within your teams or organizations or departments or whatever these groups are being called is to really try um you know to operate in an environment where that pleases you most and that maybe you know at the same time as you rightfully said I mean a larger organization is is definitely always imposing a certain level of rules and if you’re building something um up for yourself um there is no rules um so that that is the fun of it yeah Maybe I might ask and let me let me what deal about the some of our viewers who may not be familiar with TL um as a uh I would say framework or as a an expression of how you design your organization so teal has uh three pillars which is wholeness evolutionary purpose and self-management and um the book of Frederick Lulu Reinventing organizations is where most of us including Life Sciences as well is very much inspired by and that’s why we um we are also I can also agree and call ourselves Steel by Design and maybe not for scale because we are not uh as big as our organization but um definitely those values are very near and dear to us um and there’s many expressions of how you can design an organization you can do it the traditional way you can do it like designed for agile or a design for product teams or for co-creative environments and all that um white teal as a choice well first of all um we are I think you you had the the best reference so when I when I read um Reinventing organizations from Lalu I was pretty Blown Away um and because it was so accurate and so many descriptions um and um I also later enjoyed the there’s a um Illustrated version of it which I think is even even better um so it totally resonated with me and I had a lot of um you know the situations when reading it that really uh was so accurately describing on on work situations that I’ve experienced in the past 20 years and also have provided quite quite nice uh context and outlook on how things could be and I ended up making a lot of scribblings when reading the book and saying oh this is the stuff that I would do this is the stuff that I would do so basically I ended up having you know endless gigantic um phone notes document electronic document on my phone saying this is the way I I would do it um I was later absorbed also and made a I I did a fellow um in with the loop approach which was also a book that that resonated very well with me where I thought they would build on the concept of teal um and basically also edit things like um non-violent communication or getting things done and a lot of other contextualized elements that I think resonated very well with me and um it is a little bit different than probably the textbook holography 5.0 that that you may uh want to follow or not and we we decided to basically follow the loop approach but that’s where I I thought it’s it’s it’s going to be fantastic when you basically are building an organization that is based on on purpose on inherent motivation where people don’t need to you know hide themselves for for being able to to be there you know whole and being being their real sales at work where work is not a separate part from life where it’s really a part it is a part of life so you better so I hope for everyone that you you know you will have a workplace while you have fun and you can make impact and Spark Joy with you and at the same time where um you know the daily uh anything in your in your daily life should be a basically um totally integratable with your work and that’s where for example things like trusted work time or or also in in post covert times uh discussions about remote work where I truly believe that it’s it’s it’s not about controlling it’s really more about enabling people um to do the right thing and um and that basically means is providing flexibility where um maybe as of companies yesterday and a little bit more blue or orange or oriented organization just to use the uh the spiral Dynamic uh colors here it’s where I think rather than thinking about you know running a company based on controls I think you should base it on trust and um and why why do you build a company around controls where you know 99 of the of of the team will be just asking for a trusted environment and there may be this one percent of people who may you know take advantage of the situation for themselves right and so don’t build the system to control the one percent that that may misuse the system versus maybe making sure that you’re building the system for 99 of the people and and enabling them to you know to to have an impact on to to strive yeah I I love this um 99 rule because um I think it’s it’s so important to think about uh what’s the possibility that this can do uh or what’s the uh possibility that it can unleash amongst the people uh and then that will have significant impact uh on a larger part of your organization right so um yeah absolutely and I think this is also where um interesting to see when you’re talking to to larger organization I think that’s where um some of the organizations would want to embrace new work or modern ways of working but at the same time I think there’s still a lot of managers um or the organization itself being a little scared from from letting go right and letting the at the end of the day I truly believe if you Empower people and unleash uh the potential that this will also be a much more productive uh company in itself right I mean this is also not not a you know a means to make everyone happy which is obviously a goal and and great but I think it’s also means to be very productive and successful as an organization because at the end of the day if you have happy colleagues happy employees in the company uh basically it means that the projects will do well if your projects do work do well customers will be happy if customers are happy money will follow and that’s where I think also from our productivity and the delivery point of view I think this makes a whole a whole lot of sense exactly and I think it was Adam Grant who said that right don’t take care of your customers take care of your people and they will take care of your customers for you I think that’s that’s an amazing mindset and uh pretty smart because there’s a lot of um propaganda campaigns around yeah customer first always but then if you don’t take care of the people who are supposed to take care of your customers uh that would be difficult yeah absolutely I think customer centricity is a core element um but also how do you achieve that and and you know how do you measure them and how do you approach that in a holistic way I guess so um transcription if I um if I may ask there are three pillars of deal so self-management wholeness and evolutionary purpose um and I mean Frederick was also saying like you don’t have to have everything right like you can’t focus on a few of these pillars um for example he’s like berserk is has a strength of all but the other examples may be very strong in self-management right what is it for 10 23 what is your core Focus so um I think I would probably also try to put all these three elements um wholeness self-management and evolutionary purpose um into into what I think is going to be important for us I think we’re probably at different levels of our journey with regards to the three elements so I think it was um I mean having started a new company a new organization it was very obvious and where we want to go so also it was very clear and very straightforward to include things like work from anywhere um into basically making up Frameworks that obviously are and uh need to be legally compliant but basically um ensure that or when it comes to um being you know yourself at work where where there’s no things like like dress codes or or things like that says no no necessity for putting up a mask as well so I think I think the the um the integration and and being yourself at work was was a very conscious cultural choice that we had obviously the the blessing of of you know trying to do something right from the start um starting the organization The evolutionary purpose um uh I think it’s also our ambition I mean uh when we started the organization we made a so-called purpose tournament uh that’s the exercises name uh which is also one of the loop approach activities so we basically sat together and defined the the purpose of our organization their purpose is also something that we don’t Market it’s not a marketing statement um and that’s something we we we did for ourselves and I will say nonetheless uh here it’s collaborating for a healthy life and planet and uh it has the elements of healthy life being the focus of our customers customers which are patients um so healthy life and healthy life also includes us as employees of this organization because we want to make sure that we are healthy on how we are actually you know contributing and um and healthy planner basically relates also to the way of fairness and sustainability and and the how uh having said that um I I truly believe that the let’s say a purpose statement is also evolutionary and the purpose of an of the organization may change as a function of time and that’s why also we decided to keep this this purpose statement internally I mean it will probably not we will probably not we don’t foresee to change the fundamentals at this point in time so we are basically you know in the Pharma sector and we are a contract Service organization Etc but and um I surely don’t want to compromise on our sustainability pledges and and things like that but I I think that’s why I’m looking forward for the purple purpose tool you know to undergo Evolution uh where colleagues in the organization would take it further and this is what I’m seeing even when in our organization is set up like um we are based on roads and circles and we use the the Holy Spirit software and I came back from a from a summer vacation last year and basically I our whole organization and the roles in the organization changed so much that I almost didn’t recognize the organization and I was intrigued by it because it was it felt so liberating as being on holidays and the you know the organization would just evolve in roles and make new roles and change change the old ones and it it felt felt so good because I saw Evolution and I saw that there was no need actually for for having me in anything of this and um maybe to the last point and I’m talking to material you’ve got it the the aspect of self-management I think this is probably one of the hardest um especially um appreciating that we are operating in the pharmaceutical sector at that many of our employees have been working in Prior corporates so it’s it’s not necessarily something that you are trained for or trained at even starting school I mean like I I see my kids and I mean I wish there would be a little bit more focus on you know self-management and uh and school rather than you know looking at the traditional I don’t know bureaucratic approval processes or something like that and that’s where I I believe every one of us Stills definitely is another language Army and it’s so important to you know recognize that and then trying to also be conscious about it and to unlearn these uh patterns that you probably were trained in the last two three four five decades yeah thank you so much uh hence because um uh you know what uh struck me um is your attitude towards this change to say that it was liberating for you and to say that you’re um intrigued it’s not something that is a natural response especially when you come in a traditional organization you go on holiday and you come back and like everything you spent a lot of time on changes it’s always like oh there’s an element of a surprise and curiosity and also this little feeling of oh what just happened right there but um to take it in the positivity that you expressed um I really feel like uh I would like to commend you for that because that’s uh that’s something that a leader and a highly evolutionary organization an Adaptive organization like yourselves uh needs right that that releasing the control and releasing the the power yeah and you said that um when you when you’re returning from from holiday and there’s an element of surprise I think surprise is a good thing um I think basically his uh unless it’s basically surprised or something that I don’t know people want to hide from you or whatever so that’s where I think this is this is where things don’t become necessarily very enjoyable but surprise in itself is is something great I mean um and that’s where um I mean just this coupled with an element of radical transparency and openness it’s going to be gigantic because this is really where energy flows yeah yeah and then Kelly Hall is throwing out a very lovely comment as well I just want to read it out she’s saying that it is wonderful when you see and feel an organization evolve adapt and Thrive around you as teammates started feeling empowered and realizing leading with their strengths I I think that’s very beautiful and um Kelly I know that this is also something that you um try to nurture within organization so thank you for chiming in um we also have a question Hans Christian I just want to bring in the first question from Alex Alex is asking these three principles that we talked about wholeness evolutionary purpose self-management how do you practice that in your personal life with your family and friends okay that’s a tricky one Alex so thank you thank you for raising that um well first first of all um I I think and and maybe in the broader concepts of of wholeness wholeness I I think it’s really about I mean this there’s fundamental beliefs and values that I definitely have and would connect to hold us with for example goes to openness and transparency so it’s really making sure that that you can have very open conversations within within the family and that’s where yeah um I mean when I see my kids coming back from school and if they would have like a not so great test and great uh is is my my big sphere is if any one of my kids would not want to share that information with us because at the end of the day uh it’s not it’s not you know it’s not the end of the world and who cares I mean the question is what do you learn from that uh so for example you know if you overlooked all the one part of of of of the test questions it’s maybe something to remind yourself when you’re asking that having a test next time that you pay attention to reading it so I think openness and transparency one one practice that we we’ve had have in the family since a while is uh we have a gratitude jar um that that we basically feed with um notes on what we are grateful for um because it’s it’s yet another thing and that’s that’s always to be seen I mean and changes and I see that an organization changes you always go through that phase of saying oh my gosh like the glass is half empty but you know the glass is probably pretty much half full and I think focusing on on the great things and and the things to be to be grateful for I think it’s it’s a wonderful exercise for you know your your daily uh daily happiness what I’m also trying is I’m ring fencing pretty much some um time boxing basically thing things that I I do with the family so I would I would leave work uh just 15 minutes before a pickup of my daughter from school and I on Mondays she would she would be horse riding I would be at the stable preparing the horse for her and um having a car would be very very difficult for me for for Monday afternoon at that point in time and people know it and um I also have a have a interesting memory I made a I made a promise to my son uh that was um um in in 2021 we went on the hiking um and I was I was about to sign the contracts for the acquisition of Swiss film at the time and I told the lawyers saying I’m gonna leave and I’m gonna take the three o’clock train because otherwise I will be late for the hike so if if we are not going to sign this contract in five minutes we have to find a new date and um no one would could believe me and I was I was I was to me it was pretty obvious because you know you don’t want to want to let down on on the priority of of family so um I mean it becomes a question probably also of just as I speak about it is probably also a question of you know this ring fencing and time boxing is probably a question of self-management and making sure you’re you’re actually can set yourself some priorities and that you’re basically going to work against your priorities and um not sacrificing one or the other and and at the end of the day to be to be willing to speak about constraints that you’re having we are I’d be very curious to hear your feedback on that question no definitely I I think it’s uh it’s really an interesting one right because on one hand you have a business to run on the other hand you have a family to run and um it’s always um it’s always finding that win-win um or maybe win-win-win across all parties and um sometimes it time management can work against that so time boxing okay if if our outcome that we want out of this meeting is to get it signed then let’s make sure we stay within the time boundaries that we have set or and if that time boundary is not honored then you know we know that there’s a constraint that there will be a delay in the signatures and I think we need just one of the things that we always say is uh know your constraints and learn to accept them right so in self-management this is always uh the case that there will be constraints because you want to be efficient you want a time box and you want to prioritize um and it’s just a mindset really and I think um that requires some practice and that requires some uh let’s say change in the way you perceive things what is truth to you may not be the same for the others right yeah absolutely I think it’s it’s and that’s where I think um being clear on your purpose and ambition and goals I think it will be important but also obviously then the communication and transparency around what is important for others yeah exactly and managing those expectations I think um in a good way um yeah that’s uh that’s a very interesting one and it’s uh both on the personal level and that’s also um where I see wholeness um transcription where you know you know that as a whole person I have responsibilities towards my family and also towards my business and I need to make sessions on both sides and it’s not only responsibility I think it’s even I mean this is where you know this is a purpose and and you know priority is to make sure you are aware about your own true north right and yeah what is driving you one what what you are there for not to compromise um around that that’s where you know operating in in business knowing that the true north including obviously your your family and whatever is important for you I think it’s always very important to make sure this is part of your your own decision making yeah I was once uh working with a leader where he he said to me look if you cannot take care of things at home and then you come to the office you’re not gonna be your best version of yourself so make sure you take care of the things at home whether it’s your health whether it’s your family or whether it’s just stuff that is um kind of hanging out there take care of them and then come to the office with your full best version of yourself and that’s where we make magic happen and that’s why I think this is also um I’ve been kind of obsessed with um um sleep um frankly saying I always like to go to bed at night when it’s kids bedtime I’m that’s my that’s my time nowadays too and that’s where um it’s always I’m so happy for for you know um waking up in the morning and being really refreshed rather than trying to to work uh late hours for yourself which at the end of the day is not going to be it’s not going to be great for no one uh however them if there’s days where you haven’t stopped well I think it’s also perfectly okay to tell tell colleagues at work saying like I haven’t slept well and I mean I’ve had this issue my son was coughing the whole night so may it be and then you know um if there’s something that requires my my thinking and um and like um it’s probably not the best time Dave today for that because my son was coughing the whole day and that is also conversations that I’ve had um with colleagues in our uh in our team where they said I’ve had I’ve had some challenges can we just move the discussion and I think it’s it’s everyone will be be totally empathetic for for for for things like this going going forward so so absolutely um uh when you say it’s it’s about self-care there’s also a great Buddha Johnson quote um and I’m a huge fan of Bobby Johnson who said that if you can if you cannot lead yourself how can you be expected to lead others that’s why I think the whole element of inner journey and um you know self-leadership comes really into play yeah and it’s an implicit part of teal uh By Design right this whole role modeling aspect is a is a probably uh something that should be part of any um organization design but does so much more for TL because uh you’re really talking about self-management and in that aspect people look at different role models on how they can self-manage because we don’t have um let’s say we don’t have a yardstick on what the self-management actually mean it’s really self-actualizing that on the go yeah absolutely and it could be different things for different people too yeah I have a little juicy question hence question you know when um when you start in the condition designing it by using teal as kind of your inspiration uh to create systems and ecosystems there will be um things that you expect and things that you didn’t expect uh that were that will come out of this because it’s uh it’s really an experiment so what were the things that you expected and that you felt like oh this really moved us further and the stuff that though I didn’t expect this and still it could be good or bad uh maybe things I expected was um would be that that many colleagues would be liberated and and taking strong ownership would be excited about such a journey and uh you know give you basically become very vested in such a such an organization and that’s that’s something I expected and that definitely panned out that way um things I didn’t necessarily appreciate at that time and I was um that’s why I said probably not expected but I didn’t think it through even at the time is that how can you prevent people from being so from being so engaged that they’re basically overworked themselves which which I think is uh it’s it’s it’s an important question um because I mean mental ethical Health next to you know Financial Health and all of that obviously is a huge priority so it’s it’s it’s not going to be great if people are just working themselves you know becoming sick just because they’re so motivated and doing things so that’s where I think um this element of of um of providing let’s say or trying to provide a level of self-protection um for for colleagues I think it’s it’s it’s really um important what I did not expect um was also when I started the company um I was I was actually surprised that I was starting a company because being able to find an investor uh as we’re working with an outside investor where um I would have assumed that it’s going to be a little bit only Financial Focus and that’s uh that where we have our our company commitments that our patients people planted and there’s a lot of social responsibility and sustainability responsibility elements of it I didn’t expect for a finite Financial investor to be so driven by by such commitments and to be showing also such strong co-ownership I didn’t didn’t expect that I I thought basically Financial investor would be just looking at the you know Financial return on investment and I probably also didn’t appreciate um um let’s say the relevance and the challenges on unlearning um and you know it’s it’s very important that that um it let’s say being in in such an organization is is quite demanding it’s a it’s a demanding um role and activity for every one of us and um it’s it could be more demanding for for for some than for others where um they’ve not been necessarily exposed to Reinventing organizations or new ways of working and um I didn’t necessarily expect to see a number of colleagues being actually confused and and um and Confused uh in the way that um why all these why it matters and how would I operate in such an organization and that’s where you know the relevance for unlearning the the openness for for learning new things um and maybe even the we’ve been providing quite some flexibility and freedom for our colleagues and um it seemed like uh I’ve I’ve received partially a responses saying I don’t want that so for example when we offered um to not do time recording anymore I’ve actually had quite a number of people who said I actually want to do time recording uh and when when it’s blowing on why it’s like yeah because in my past job uh a colleague would say something to me when I left at five o’clock uh saying oh my gosh are you taking half a day off or my company would actually come back to me after half a year and says I don’t think you’ve worked enough uh something like that so it’s basically when I I thought quite a bit about it um and I found it really sad and I didn’t expect that that colleagues were starting from an element of mistrust towards the organization and um and then basically the playing field that was given was perceived as too big and not and that’s where um I mean for this specific case on time recording we pivoted and basically said okay we I mean you could just use our our people culture Software System and you can do you can do the time recording it’s allowed by the system so we actually change the framework to make sure that people would be comfortable with it but I think the fundamental um challenge that I still see underneath this was uh there’s an element of of uh you know trust towards the organization of psychological safety uh in the bigger sense that I think we need to work on as an organization uh to make it happen so people would be be comfortable actually being um open and utilizing the playing ground and which I think also relates to the question of wholeness right is that it it still means that most likely there are colleagues who are not comfortable with being themselves at work because they were not used to it or they had negative experiences yeah that’s a very interesting one uh hence Christian and I agree with you it’s it’s really um there’s a bridge to cross somehow um in getting new mindsets or getting new practices uh implemented and this is one clear example if you ask me um and if I had been part of this organization um I would welcome this with open arms because in my experience um the this whole booking time and everything is just taking a lot of um uh time versus productive work where you can really make impact right so it’s it’s I guess perception and experience it comes with it I’m sure yeah I think that does a lot of intimate individual um well-being or perceived well-being connected to it or I mean if there’s a colleague and he or she would preserve to would prefer to do time recording so may it be I definitely don’t prefer it and I would definitely would as an organization want to provide the opportunity to not do that but if someone you know feels more comfortable in doing it um that that’s fine too um and that’s that’s a tricky one and I I think I I mean again through your question I didn’t expect that I didn’t expect that basically we would offer something as an organization as a wide field of playing Ground where colleagues would say I’m not sure I want this um because I um and that was probably also a mistake that I was I was assuming um and exfoliating from myself and other other colleagues um that you know haven’t have been embarking on the on on this journey maybe a little while ago uh so we’re probably a little bit more advanced and also being very clear on where we want to go um compared to to others on the organization so I think [Music] um I I think that’s why an organization is always an invitation in my view and should provide the boundaries that an organ that an individual wants to have but maybe not more uh if you don’t know what I mean and that that is the constant challenge for us is that um people asking for boundaries but then again we don’t want to be putting up you know bureaucratic rules so and putting more responsibility into everyone’s hands so as one one example do we need to have a a very detailed driven guide travel guidelines on which which trips the book and I do believe that we do have a decision um decision making chapter on our company handbook and that by itself should be sufficient for everyone to make a decision you know if you’re commuting from from Valley to Basel by train um which train ticket to buy I think all of us should be able to decide without asking anyone and that’s where you know on the contrast you could actually make a policy that you know always go by first class second class tickets or up to X hours you should do that and I always think it’s it there’s so many parameters that would impact such a decision including maybe your own family situation and um there’s so much context that I I I think there’s always this balance of of making sure you’re not over regulating organization but you know give enough framework for people to operate that that I would probably say is the biggest challenge I’m seeing more that’s uh that’s really interesting and I I get that from an evolutionary standpoint that you want to constantly you know evolve the organization to bring as much decision making uh down to a distributed level right uh but also how do you maintain that you know and keep that a bit more holistic in a way for the organization yeah thanks thanks for sharing this uh Hans Christian I I resonate a lot with it and um I also experienced this within our system I have had always this question of is this just something to serve me or is it something that I feel could serve us so I started thinking okay what are the tensions that are I am seeing from out of this before I start coming up with a proposal because then you know that the tensions are actually more generally serving uh the organization and hopefully that the proposals will also resonate more with the others and that by itself could be a journey too I mean you don’t have to stop with the widest feel but you could you know evolve and broaden exactly yeah thank you um there’s a few questions uh really uh having an Engaged audience here Matthew is asking we have made our share of mistakes in trying to establish Steel in our organization can you share one of your biggest challenges and what you did about it I think the biggest challenge is probably and I don’t want to repeat them or piggyback too strongly on what I just said but I think it’s it’s really making sure that your on a greatly understanding all the colleagues tensions related to that and be able to work with it um so in in the sense that for example if you’re given um too much self-management too much self-responsibility self-provertisation to to uh to a colleague and and he or she may actually struggle with that and the question is then how to Pivot it how to provide support how to maybe think about about readjusting boundaries so I think it comes with understanding everyone’s challenges and tensions related to the situation and being able to to work with these and and putting this um uh you know converting that into into um into an evolution of what you’re trying to do at the end of the day and um yeah I would probably say the overall context of unlearning and the relevance of unlearning and the willingness to unlearn and uh it’s it’s also something you can see when colleagues are processing tensions it’s also a question of how they would do that because you own your attention and then you should also own maybe a suggestion on how to you know proceed with it so proposal based uh proposal thinking and um you could see that there are people struggling with it and so the question is how how do you take these people along um on the journey so I think it’s probably in Iraq um and um hoping hoping for for openness and then um I would also say um I I usually get my energy from from the many uh great feedbacks receiving uh I’m receiving through across the organization uh at the same time it’s making sure that you know you keep focusing on how to process the tensions when you actually see them rather than being you know too frustrated about it after all I think it’s a journey and not a it’s not a switch that you turn and saying oh from Tomorrow onwards I’m teal and every one of us will be suffering you know self-managing and you could several times it it requires work it requires Clarity you need to also think when you’re making decisions on who’s impacted and you know it’s a very thoughtful clear process it’s however it is a very controlled process also and that’s where I think of also seeing colleagues who who maybe had from the outside thought that this is like a little bit uh here now um esoterical on on how how this actually works out and it’s absolutely I think it’s the opposite and I’m a scientist by training but if you look at how accountabilities are structured and purpose and domains and Holy Spirit and how accountabilities and responsibilities are processed within such a system of you know of governance meetings in in our system I think this is a very structural process that you know is is allowing yourself to focus on the tension and not just being emotional about it or or fighting around you know this whatever political games that you may have seen in some some past life so that that’s why I think um it also comes back to you know inviting for inviting for the journey um sorry I that was quite extensive answer Matthew and um I I hope um uh it resonated a little yeah Matthew I hope that you got your answer um if I may add one of the things that I experienced that was very it’s very difficult in a TL setup is uh with transparency is also higher responsibility accountability expectation right so that means for example let’s let’s take a very practical example financials we have high Financial transparency in our organization we have self-set salaries everyone knows what everyone is making um and um yeah and to an extent you need to be able to show up and be able to justify what those numbers look like right and it’s hard to justify those numbers if we don’t put in the work to actually make that data transparent so in in a sense uh this is difficult because you cannot control how people bring in the data you can only create the right ecosystem for it right so um the difficulty there is how do you bridge that you actually get to a place where I can trust whatever I’m seeing because everyone is doing their best work in making it transparent and to me it’s it’s always a big question how can we make that uh really happen yeah I think it goes back properly to psychological safety and we are we are implementing a new framework right now um for feedback um because we want to provide a little bit more suggestions and and and maybe ideas to the organization on on providing feedback and I think my my best moments were when when colleagues across the organization approached me for feedback and also um I have a colleague here in in Brisbane she asked me um in a meeting who is talking to me right now which role are you speaking that was a wonderful question because I basically and I apologize to her saying I apologize for not having been clear this is my role as expert this is just a piece of advice it’s not by accountability and responsibility and I think uh she was assuming or maybe fearing that I would be speaking as a as a CEO and that’s what you gotta do and blah blah blah but that was actually it was it was basically a different role that but I appreciated the question because it means that obviously she fundamentally understood the setup on how we want to do robust work and um and she was speaking up to ask the question not and you know assuming uh oh my gosh what does that mean and then trying to guess or and that that goes back to I think open feedback and open feedback culture that that I think is going to be fundamental for an organization and that is another element in my view that I think it’s going to be so important when you want to build psychological safe environment um building building on trust uh you gotta have a very solid let’s say feedback culture which basically means that you are willing to to give and receive feedback but also that your mindful of enough about how you give that feedback right and you know it’s it’s not only saying oh feedback is a gift but here’s or here’s my uh Oreo cookie kind of feedback style I say something you know nice and then I don’t know so I’m gonna pack it I think it’s really to be um to be genuine about it but also be be you know very eye focused and that’s what I love about non-violent Communications moving from observation to your own emotions and you can trying to verbalize your needs and that’s where I think it doesn’t become a question of I I you you should do this or um you know um it becomes a more I focused conversation on that feedback and that again this is also it’s so hard it’s much harder than than it actually I mean if you read a chapter about feedback and feedback culture it looks so easy and straightforward but it’s so important and to be constantly reminding also yourself of of of not falling in traps of Prior communication and then you know be genuine and authentic about it I think that’s that’s not what I would hope for it yeah that’s uh that’s really important and how to make that feedback so that it serves the person receiving it right totally totally because otherwise it’s it’s kind of on on a lost ground anyway yeah or like just smothering like smoothing someone’s uh sense of validation and sometimes it works and sometimes that’s what people need but uh like if you want real development to come through make that feedback really actionable [Music] um the sign of communications it’s gonna it’s gonna be so important I think communication is so key for everything we’re doing I mean I I mentioned um uh we spoke about let’s say the importance of employees to be happy for customers to be happy right I think also customer interaction is so much about communication as well and um and I think equally for you know interacting in your family it’s all about communication and making sure there is a level of transparency openness and that nothing you know communication with kids is hard though yeah but I think it really works in whatever context right if you follow the four-step framework and if you’re curious we can share the link later on to non-violent Communications there’s a book from Marshall Rosenberg and this has been a real inspiration for us as well as Life Sciences but also to the clients that I work with um yeah it’s a it’s a great way to establish a psychological safe space yeah um there’s a couple more questions and I actually have one that I feel like um uh maybe would serve some of our audience who are leading organizations and who are leading a change or a shift towards some more teal organization um or even just moving into a self-managing organization right it’s just one step of the whole picture uh What do you think uh do leaders need to unlearn and learn in this whole shift because I think it’s a it’s a big difference in perspective yeah I think it’s it’s and it’s always a question but I mean first of all I’m I’m a little bit intrigued with the question on saying leaders I think it’s going to be probably a level of unlearning for all of us and I think every one of and that’s why I also believe um there is no leaders and employees and organizations so I think we’re all leaders from that in that sense and I think that there needs to be a level of unlearning I think um when you had when you come from traditional management I would probably say is I think the most important thing is that in my view is I think you should start with the level of of trust and you you have hired these people into an organization uh to do their job so why do you need to control them on how they do their job um so that’s to me um to me a First Fundamental question secondly I think to me it’s been very important um um uh and I’ve been I’ve been always blessed with um receiving great feedback and I’ve um I’m very happy that actually one of my best line managers is also now on the board of our company so I’m very very happy for for that and um she she taught me to to to stop with trust um and and openness and um and that was I mean it’s an obvious thing to to think of but if you’re really fundamentally going on in all the issues that you’re having in traditional companies if you if you get down to that core and and you put that up as your as your goals uh it it really could be quite a quite a game changer um it helped me to understand uh based on on feedbacks but also on on let’s say to different uh like assessment tools or self-assessment tools um on on word preferences and the arraylist tool as um I I think this I I do have a couple of fundamental derailers I’m I’m a very fast person and I’m kind of a fast thinker and I always need to make sure that I’m not leaving people behind me where I already thought through like this until like next week and then everyone is still trying to figure out on what I said so that’s that’s uh that for example is a fundamental you know knowledge about strength and derailers and um and then being I think very clear to yourself that you know I think all of us make mistakes um and being very authentic and open about that where again feedback culture can help but also not be scared I mean I had also situation uh with the team um where um I I said some something to colleagues and I I thought about it and I I couldn’t basically sleep that night very well because I thought oh my gosh that was a very traditional managerial that was a quite command and control message I gave to the to my colleagues here and I next next day I asked them for like like a meeting I I apologize and saying I apologize on how how I communicated here it was absolutely inappropriate it’s your decision I was basically scared I had I was observing this my emotion was scared and um I that is my need in the context and that’s what I should probably more more verbalized so I think it’s it’s probably about monitoring yourself and when we’ve fallen in a potential trap of prior habits are what basically where your strengths become derailers and that’s where where I think you know feedback and have a have a sounding board all around you it’s it’s so important that’s where I also believe that that open communication and feedback culture again comes into play because you you know um if you if you’re able to do that uh to to openly have a conversation about feedback that’s also where learning and growing will come into play as right so I think it’s about knowing and self-reflection and then and trying to not fall into you know habits or traps or things that you learned um and and to question yourself and the question yourself element is always what I’ve done very well I think it’s I’ve been a scientist and I was I remembered when I when I learned from my Pharmacy degree and at University and we had textbooks uh and I I found the answer to not be very compelling and in the in the exams all we were asked was fact-based knowledge so what is the pH of a drug uh to be tolerant when you inject it and then uh the professor was was looking forward to my answer being pH 529 or whatever was in the textbook they just wanted to have a number in the range but my point was always y5 and not 4.5 what on which data does that and what happens if it’s for uh so to be always asking a little bit um further and that was maybe also what what I find so interesting in in organizational design and and management textbooks is that why would you actually do a performance rating calibration what what should that be good for other than McKinsey having invented this somewhere in the 70s and and based on you know conveyor belt production of 4T models or whatever right but in essence is is that really gonna help someone um and I I think if you continuously ask yourself on saying what is the context and and the why um I think it’s probably also easier to to convey the why yeah thank you so much and description and I hope Matthew between the lines you were able to extract some of the inner work uh that you find uh will be necessary for a shift like this magnitude yeah um and if not uh thing is over and now we’ll try to get your question answered um I’m afraid we’re at the top of the hour almost and Christian oh my gosh why it’s amazing and this conversation has been so enriching for me personally and hope for our viewers as well that you enjoyed it and you got some bits of nuggets to help you on your journey towards a more human-centered approach to to the way you lead your organizations and see the way you live within your organizations right so we hope that you can take with a grain of salt some of the things that you’ve heard here and put it into practice just try it out in your own little way um there’s no never environment reply to your contacts I think there’s no there’s no right there’s no rules and and things that are correct I think you really need to contextualize and put into it yeah I think that’s so important yeah that is very important um and just before we close I just would love to leave you with a few um invitations to some of our events uh we have the global teal Meetup Europe happening on the 13th of April um at uh 2 p.m central eastern European time and then we have the next living room conversations podcast with hammersson Pius hammerson is specializing in social networks and this will be really really exciting especially is another aspect of TL it’ll be on the 19th of April around the same time and there is a an employee experience impact Forum in Amsterdam that will be happening on the 16th to the 17th of May and if you would love to join that you can use our code Life Sciences that’s l-i-v-e-s-i-e-n-c-e-s as a code and you get 20 off the ticket price so if you’re going I hope to see you there um and yeah as we close today’s conversation Hans Christian I would love to ask you um yeah just a little personal note from yourself as um as a leader of an organization and it’s also a Pioneer in this world of TL um how have you grown as an individual um and you know what advice would you give to others who are going to follow this path um that’s that’s a very open-ended question for maybe uh 30 seconds response but I would probably um say I I think I was blessed by really having very inspiring colleagues uh very inspiring line manager at the time and um being able to you know be inspired by others and um similarly to reading things in in Lalu and looking at other organizations and how they do that there’s so wonderful examples on on what teal can be like and what new work in the broader sense can be like so that’s why I think it’s always um great looking for Inspirations basically thank you hence Christian and um you know you’re one of the Pioneers that always continue to inspire me and always continue to inspire us especially in our world of TL and um and for those who are watching um yeah our little piece of advice is just try it out in your own context find what works explain what doesn’t work learn from it and try and sense sensing and responding to the needs that you feel in your body but also in your organization yeah so thank you for joining thank you for joining us this afternoon it has been a pleasure and Hans Christian always nice talking to you I always love our conversations um and yeah I hope we leave you with some fruits for a reflection over the Easter holidays enjoy the rest of your break and see you in a couple of weeks thank you Hans Christian thanks great fun thanks thank you
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