Apiarista – Was verbindet Bienen mit Organisation, Exzellenz und Agilität?

Namen sind mehr als nur Schall und Rauch. Wir haben unseren Firmennamen daher nicht zufällig, sondern ganz bewusst gewählt. 

Der Name Apiarista spiegelt unsere Unternehmensphilosophie wider: In Apiarista verbinden sich die Honigbiene Apis, Meisterin der Organisation, und Arista, das griechische Wort für Exzellenz. 

Uns dient die Art wie sich Bienen organisieren als Inspirationsquelle für moderne Unternehmen.

Organisationen kämpfen mit ähnlichen Problemen wie Bienen.

Moderne Organisationen bewegen sich in einem schnelllebigen, komplexen Umfeld. Sie sind gut beraten, auf Veränderungen flexibel und zeitnah zu reagieren oder Veränderungen sogar aktiv mit zu gestalten.

In einer ähnlichen Situation befinden sich Bienenvölker. Diese müssen regelmäßig neue Nahrungsquellen finden und auf wechselnde Umweltbedingungen reagieren.

Die Parallelen des Bienenstocks zum Organisationsdesign inspirieren uns in der Auseinandersetzung mit agilen Frameworks und deren Vermittlung. Selbstgesteuerte Teams, unkomplizierte Entscheidungsfindungen und die schnelle Reaktionsfähigkeit bei Veränderungen dienen uns als Metapher für die Anwendung und Weiterentwicklung agiler Methoden. 

Zusätzlich sind wir um einen stetigen Austausch bemüht. Dafür nehmen wir die Moderatorenrolle ein, und vermitteln zwischen unterschiedlichen Parteien, also beispielsweise der Führungsebene und den Mitarbeitern. Unsere Bestrebung, dem Kunden zu Exzellenz zu verhelfen, ist die Inspiration hinter unserem zweiten Namensbestandteil: Arista. 

Exzellenz ist für uns mehr als die optimale Lösung für den Kunden. Exzellenz bedeutet auch die Befähigung des Kunden, Probleme eigenständig zu meistern.

Auf den Arbeitsprinzipien von Bienen aufbauend, haben wir unsere Philosophie auf drei Grundpfeilern errichtet:

  • Befähigung unserer Kunden, die Herausforderungen langfristig selbst zu meistern, ist Grundprinzip in unserer Arbeit. Dies erfolgt einerseits durch die gemeinsame Lösungsentwicklung aber auch durch Coaching, Trainings und Workshops. 
  • Menschenzentrierung für ein erfolgreiches Organisationsdesign und eine nachhaltige digitale Transformation durch Motivation und Einbindung der Mitarbeiter. Agilität bedeutet nach unserem Verständnis eine dem Menschen zugewandte Unternehmenskultur.
  • In einem Veränderungsprozess prallen in der Regel unterschiedliche Sichtweisen, Interessen und Zielrichtungen aufeinander. Hier ist es wichtig, Verständnis zu schaffen und gute Lösungen zu finden. Dabei übernehmen wir häufig eine moderierende oder übersetzende Rolle und helfen auf diese Weise, Brücken zu bauen

Diese von Bienen inspirierte Philosophie bildet unser Verständnis von Exzellenz.

Von einem Social Startup zu einer skalierenden NGO

Im Zwei-Tages-Workshop mit dem Management Board und den Direktoren von enpact e.V. haben wir das Team ( Sebastian Rubatscher, Matthias Treutwein, Jan Lachenmayer, Stefan Godskesen, Oleksandra Kovbasko, Essam Sharaf, Wail Daoud) dabei unterstützt, neue Wege einzuschlagen und die Organisation hinsichtlich Struktur und Produkten weiterzuentwickeln.

Tal Uscher von Apiarista zog das folgende Fazit:“Wir sind von Eurem Engagement und Mut beeindruckt, Neues zu wagen. Wir sind davon überzeugt, dass Ihr Euren Weg geht und auch zukünftig wertvolle Impulse für die internationale Startup-Welt setzen werdet! Danke, dass wir Euch ein Stück auf diesem Weg als Moderatoren begleiten durften.“

Agility in corporate culture – How to make culture tangible

In times of digital transformation, not only are technologies, structures and processes affected by change. Ultimately, an organization must also deal with changes in cultural terms. But what does culture have to do with digitization and issues such as agility? And how can culture be made tangible if it is such an abstract topic?

So have you ever wondered if corporate culture can be specific and traceable down to processes and standards? It is. We developed a way to do so and will give you some insights. In this article, we will share one block of the four-day workshop we facilitated for one of our clients. It consisted of defining the company’s most important values and specific changes to live up to these values. The workshop was based on our culture canvas which makes e.g. vision, values and its components in a company visible and enables specific discussions. Furthermore, the canvas supports the definition of changes that affects important aspects of the future culture.

Our client enpact empowers startups from emerging markets through mentoring programs, delegation trips enabling international connections, research around urban startup ecosystems and related policy advice as well as creating co-working spaces in Tunisia and soon in Egypt. Altogether this non-profit organization does a tremendous job in building up entrepreneurial ecosystems. Due to their success the team grew quite quickly, the amount of countries supported rose and the business scope increased. So, the founders took the conscious decision to allocate 4 days to re-think organizational structures, culture and in which direction strategy should go to.

The culture canvas in a nutshell

The culture canvas can be used for a whole company or a team. It consists of several building blocks:

The blocks behavior, rules, (de-)motivation, decisions and communication are typical examples showing the values in a very concrete way. This is the most difficult part but very essential.

If important for the analysis, (internal) stakeholders, business results and difference to competitors can be added. The interesting thing about those aspects is how they relate to the values. The block ”enabler/blocker” helps to analyze what to change and the block change is the team agreement what to improve in a specific time frame.

We facilitated the value definition and the related changes within the following steps:

1. Preparation

As a preparation we asked all employees to send us company values that they thought were essential for the future of the company, and their definitions.

2. As-is analysis

This is one of the most important steps as it allows to identify to which extent the values are reflected in the behavior, existing norms and rules in the company. In the workshop small teams of three or four took ownership of two values each and came up with examples of daily work situations, rules, communication patterns that exemplified those values. Most heated discussions occurred when there were discrepancies between the behavior and the values. For example, many underlined how important flexibility is in working hours, however, often they felt they were working 24/7 as they were being contacted during the weekends and vacation.

3. Things to change – blockers and enablers

What are the situations or guidelines that are preventing enpact from defining he vision and living its values (blockers)? And on the contrary, which actions are firing up the good will to live up to the values (enablers)? The same teams set out to answer both of these questions and outline the steps to amplify the enablers and remove the blockers

4. Bringing it all together

One member from each team gave a brief overview of the examples and what they derived out of it. Finally, all team members focused on the intended changes. As facilitators, we supported them by getting to the basis of blockers, enablers and finally defining changes as measurable to dos/ tasks.

5. Priorities

After going through the most important values we had a better understanding of what drives the team and what needs to be changed. The main outcome of this process was a list of 19 decisions and to-dos. The team discussed the tasks, prioritized them and every employee took responsibility for one with an agreed deadline.

What did they get out of this canvas-session?

Main benefits of the culture canvas:

  • allows focused discussion of values and goals
  • definable action points derived to improve overall performance

Main Results:

  • Definition of important company values
  • Changes in project management
  • Changes in meeting structures
  • Definition of information flow
  • Onboarding processes
  • Personnel development
  • Regular “improvement meetings” to evaluate progress of improvement activities

For the discussions about values it is good to involve a neutral facilitator who is free to go directly to the reasons behind a blocker or enabler. A facilitator helps structuring the complex discussions in order to find practical measures for improvement or even helps to translate when there are misunderstandings driven by emotions.

Although the workshop was very intense, it was only the beginning. Therefore, every month an improvement meeting takes place, where the results of the activities are evaluated and new activities defined. Furthermore, on a weekly basis a standup meeting was installed to motivate and support the team members in their improvement activities.

There is quite a way to go, but we from Apiarista Consulting are sure, that this incredible team will continue its way and be even more successful. We were very proud to support the retreat as facilitators with our methods and are looking forward to the next steps of enpact.