New Work & Innovation — One-on-One with your Buddy

Thomas Moser

Dezember 2020

We at smartive strive to improve ourselves as well as our work processes. The concept of New Work offers a holistic approach in running a company and is in line with our principles.

Since we do not have any hierarchy nor any formal managers, we use four different tools to steer the company:

  1. We incorporated the advice process to enable everybody in our company to make any decision.
  2. With a quarterly held company retrospective we constantly improve our processes.
  3. To keep everybody up to date we hold a monthly all-hands meeting. It is always facilitated by another colleague to foster ownership and keep the meeting interesting and fun.
  4. In our weekly pulse check everybody fills in a form with 4 questions to be rated:
  • How do you like the project you’re currently working on?
  • How satisfied are you with your performance?
  • What is your workload?
  • What is your satisfaction in general at work?

Additionally you can leave a comment to give some context.

Since the answers are internally accessible to everyone, over time you get a pretty good understanding on the wellbeing of the individuals and the company as a whole. Based on the data of this weekly pulse check anybody can work out improvements following the advice process.

With these four tools we handle company-wide challenges. But some challenges do not affect the whole company.

How do we deal with these?

One-on-Ones with your Buddy

To pay attention to more personal matters we introduced the one-on-one meeting with a buddy.

Why we introduced the Buddy-System

We improve our skills, take on more responsibilities (or change our hair cut 💇‍♀️). Motivation varies, depending on the project we’re working on. New people join and team dynamics change. You get it: Everything underlies constant changes.

We need to deal with these changes whether we like or not. But the good news is, we can influence the outcome of these changes in a positive way.

How does our One-on-One System work

Everyone in the company chooses another colleague as their buddy. The two co-workers define the length and the setting of the meeting. It might be a formal meeting, a shared lunch or a beer in the evening. Also the content and the goal of the meeting are up to the buddies.

However, there are three rules:

  • The meeting takes place at least once a month.
  • Define one or more action steps and write them down.
  • The topics discussed are confidential.

Our Experiences so far

We introduced the one-on-one meetings eight months ago and we are pretty happy with the result. Nevertheless, there are three lessons we’d like to share:

  • It’s important to have an overall goal for the one-on-one meeting.
  • Writing down actions steps is necessary to keep the long-term goals in mind.
  • A buddy is neither a coach nor a problem-solver. A buddy is more like a friend. A friend’s eye is a good mirror: She or he challenges you and discusses options to deal with the changes affecting you.

How do you foster innovation and guidance at your company? We would be happy to discuss about any related topics and share experiences!

Hero-Image: Photo by Serge van Neck on Unsplash