During the spring I got the feeling that one of the consultants in my group was not feeling well. It started with small things, sometimes showing irritation and pessimism. I decided to have a call with the consultant and we discussed the consultant’s feelings and agreed which actions we should take to solve the situation. Being a people lead is not always easy and fun, but it is a whole lot of caring!
Who needs a team?
In January 2020 we faced the same hot topic as so many others; how were we to organise ourselves within the company? Spotify has their Squads and Tribes, and Facebook has a collaborative approach, but what the choice for us would be was not self-evident. We were brainstorming around different ways of dividing the group of people, based on for example location, experience or competence area. After a while, however, we asked ourselves; what are the benefits of having traditional teams?
While there are several answers to this question, we started thinking about what kind of services a consultant actually needs, in order to be able to fully focus on solving the complex problems of our customers. To find the answer to this, we turned directly to our people.
Our new model
A new, more individualised, people-focused solution emerged from the discussions we had with our people. The new Solita way of organising became one where each consultant has a people lead, but the consultants with the same people lead do not form a traditional team. The team-feeling pops up in other ways, such as competence communities.
The services offered by the people lead can be anything from coaching, support in project situations, help with administrative stuff to discussing the next development steps. But in addition to that, the consultant can find belonging in other contexts, depending on projects and interests.
By organising ourselves this way, we believe we have found a good balance between supporting the consultants and giving them the space to build their own network within the company. We want the consultant to be able to find the networks and contexts that serves him or her from our community of over 1000 experts, not to be forced into a team with little or no purpose. The people we hire are usually very driven and engaged themselves, and it comes naturally to them to reach out to each other whenever needed.
The purpose with this balance is also to give space for self-leadership. We believe in the potential in our people and their capability to make decisions that are right for them, but also right for our customers and our business.
Balancing freedom and support
The people leads have a crucial role in our model. We believe that a good people lead can honestly state the following: “I want to lead, I am capable of doing it and I have adequate resources to do it”. Everything is based on the desire and motivation of the people lead to support and coach the consultant. When that is in place, we have different leadership styles, basically as many styles as we have consultant-people lead relationships. Everybody is different, and every relationship is different. Due to this fact, we do not want any people lead to have more than 12 people that they are coaching, so that there is an opportunity to build a genuine relationship that is based on trust.
For us, people centric leadership is to give the consultant the freedom to build a network that empowers them, helps them solve difficult technical problems or bounce ideas for new development, but also to provide a stable supporting contact by providing a people lead. This way we have a good balance of freedom, but also support in the sometimes hectic life of a consultant.