tbd* Manifesto

This manifesto was written to create a common basis for how the tbd* team wishes to work together. Together we’ve set clear rules, to which we can hold ourselves and each other accountable. We want to work together to ensure that everyone at tbd* can work in a purposeful and meaningful way. Our goal is to ensure that work remains healthy and sustainable, and that each unique person is able to contribute to tbd* fully in a self-responsible way. In this regard, we want to create an emotionally safe workplace. A place where we do not burn out, but rather learn, grow, and flourish. 

Chapter:

  • Values
  • Roles
  • Decision Making
  • Transparency
  • Communication & Meetings
  • Feedback
  • Sprints
  • Rituals
  • HR Processes & Rules
  • Conflict Management

Values

These values embody how we want to work together. They guide our work and are the basis for our decisions. 

Trust

We trust in ourselves, our abilities and in what we do. This also includes trusting each other in the fact that everyone takes responsibility for themselves. In doing so, we meet each other as equals and on an equal footing. This applies not only to our team, but also to our customers and our community. 

Effect

Our work is not an end in itself. We want to make a difference, for ourselves and others. Our vision is as follows: tbd* believes in a world of work in which each person is able to use their individual talents to make a meaningful contribution to an equitable and sustainable global community. Our mission: tbd* supports you on your journey to a more purposeful and meaningful career. We share our own learnings with you, provide you with a community of like-minded individuals and organisations and give you the tools you need to nurture a career with impact.

Fulfilment

We want to work in such a way that we feel joy in what we do. We carry this lightness out into the world.  We move forward dynamically, with creative and innovative ideas to set ourselves and our community in motion.

Learning 

We place a special emphasis on learning, as this is a strong intrinsic need of all team members. We learn for our work, but also for our personal development, together as a team. We learn from our mistakes and constantly improve our communication. We support others through our activities to increase and exchange knowledge. We look to the future with curiosity and openness. 

Roles

tbd* wants to overcome classical hierarchical structures, instead we practice self leadership.

Therefore the duties associated with classical leadership positions are broken down into roles and distributed within the team according to individual competences. This way responsibility is shared and distributed evenly amongst the team. 

Roles are not bound to individuals and can be returned to the group at any time. Roles are only ever redistributed on Global Team Days (every 2 months). To simplify a handover, each role “keeper” creates an overview of their activities and collects all related documents in a folder in Knowledge Management.

Once a year, a review process takes place to evaluate whether everyone is still satisfied with their roles. If necessary, a role distribution process is started at one of the Global Team Days.

Roles are not assigned to working students or interns. 

For new employees:

New employees have a settling-in period of 3 months. After 3 months with the company,  they can take the Gallup Strength Test and have the opportunity to take on roles if they wish. At the next Global Team Days, a role allocation process will be started, in which the roles will be redistributed according to the respective strengths.

Offboarding / long illness / parental leave

When a person leaves the team, permanently or for long-term, their roles are released. At the next Global Team Days, a role distribution process for the released roles will start. In the meantime, the activities are provisionally distributed to the person with the most capacity.

Tasks Associated with Roles:

  • Impact
    • Starts impact process for the whole team at least once a year
    • Keeps an eye on the impact of all projects and is the contact person for this purpose 
    • Responsible for initiating the OKR process, preparing and presenting the team objectives at team meetings
    • Makes sure that the decision is based on decision radar and that the decision corresponds to the impact
    • Starts an impact measurement process for the team 4 times a year
  • Finance & Controlling
    • Contact person for the design of large financial offers
    • Provides an overview of the financial status quo at every first team meeting of the month and Shows income / expenses, and suggests the next steps
    • Reports at each weekly meeting on the current figures and at the first meeting of the month on the figures of the previous month
    • Ensures that the company complies with tax law
  • Investor Relations / Fundraising
    • Reports to investors 4 times a year (including organizing the annual shareholders' meeting) 
    • Responsible for the organizational form (GmbH, association, Coop etc.)
    • Networking within the Impact Finance community
    • Reports to the team on trends in impact financing and organizational structure
    • Continually develops ideas and guidelines for fundraising and presents them to the team at each first weekly meeting of the month.
    • Ensures that the team produces an annual report and financial plan that is sent to investors by the end of the year.
  • Legal
    • Ensures the company is GDPR compliant 
    • Ensures the company is compliant with labour laws
    • Responsible for legal obligations for office, insurances
  • Learning 
    • Responsible for gathering data on project evaluations and reviews, with the aim of gaining insight on what worked well and what needs improvement/adjustment in the future
    • Helps to apply these findings/learnings when new projects are launched
    • Reminds of learning processes in project work (monitoring, debriefing, documentation, protocols)
    • Creates structures to collect knowledge
    • Makes sure that all team members use their training budget of EUR 500 per year
    • Organizes team training 
    • Gets external input at the (team) meetings 
    • Ensures that every team member who does a workshop gives the team input
    • Supports with knowledge of methods in all activities
  • Organizational Development
    • Has an eye on organizational development and corporate culture - ensures that the corporate values and vision are upheld
    • Moderates decision-making processes in case of conflicts
    • Makes sure that the meeting processes and rules are followed, that there is regular coaching
    • Organizes the Global Team Days every two months
    • Drafts rules, procedure and schedule for the feedback meetings
    • Ensures that feedback meetings are held regularly and are in accordance with the rules
  • Wellbeing
    • Looks after of the general well-being in the team/wellbeing culture within the company
    • Designs and is responsible for administering Team Rewards 
    • Keeps an eye on the celebration of birthdays and all occasions worth celebrating
    • Monitors individual workload and is allowed to intervene when longterm wellbeing is perceived to be at risk
  • Personnel Management
    • Designs process for contracts and salaries
    • Coordinates the team's capacity setup and makes suggestions for the next steps
    • Coordination with the wage tax office and legal updates (e.g. remote)
  • Recruiting
    • Contact person for planned hiring or changes in the team
    • Responsible for designing inclusive hiring processes
    • Designs On & Offboarding processes
  • Partnerships & Community
    • Analyses which partnerships contribute to achieving our impact goals
    • Responds to partnership requests and does partnership outreach
    • Supervises active partnerships / relationship management 
    • Contact person for speakers / workshops, etc.
    • Ensures that the team participates in relevant events / networks

Decision Making

In principle, every employee is authorized to make decisions. However, if this decision affects others, they must be consulted and are involved. The Decision Making Radar should be used when making a complex decision. Decisions are presented at the weekly meeting, or if other people are affected, the decision maker gives input according to the decision radar and then the decision is made collectively. 

The team does the budget planning together every quarter. Each team member prepares the planned costs necessary to achieve the goals and presents them to the others.  Additional costs of over 300 EUR are discussed together. Everything concerning Remote Work is to be decided by the team members themselves.

The following decisions are prepared by the respective roles and presented to the rest of the team for decision: 

  • Team goals and annual objectives (impact role)
  • HR planning (recruiting role)
  • Team culture (organizational development role)
  • Changes to the Manifesto (organizational development role)

For the decision radar, the following questions must be answered: 

  • Does it fit our vision, our impact and our goals?
  • Do we have the competencies and capacities?
  • Is it worth it financially?
  • Are there synergy effects to what we do anyway?
  • Do we want to work with this partner?
  • Do we enjoy it?

Once these questions have been answered, the people concerned can then take the following positions:

1: In full agreement

2: Slight reservations

3: Abstain, but support

4: Stand aside, does not want to be involved

5: Serious concerns

6: Veto

If there are any concerns, these are taken up as constructive feedback and an attempt is made to incorporate them into the decision. If no solution is found, a veto is considered a hard no.

In case of serious conflicts or inability to make decisions, the role of the organisation development role is to moderate a decision making process. If no decision is reached, the management has the opportunity to have the last word and decide. However, this should only happen in an absolute emergency.  (See section on Conflict Resolution)

Transparency

All team members have access to all the organization's information, with the exception of some sensitive personnel data (illness, etc.). This information is stored in the Knowledge Management System. Only the personnel management role and the registered company managers have access to this data.

Communication & Meetings

Our communication is characterized by mutual understanding, respect and non-violence. (See chapter on Conflict Resolution). Everyone should be able to contribute with their abilities, wishes, knowledge and feelings in a safe space. We want our meetings to be efficient and focused.

In order to ensure successful communication despite working remotely, we set up the following meetings: 

Daily Meeting

  • Goal of this meeting: Say hello and ask and answer current / urgent questions
  • Duration: 5 minutes per participant
  • The meeting takes place every day, except the day of the weekly meeting. 
  • It is not necessary for all team members to be present, but it is necessary for everyone working on that day. 

Weekly Meeting

  • Goal of this meeting: Update on all activities, as well as making decisions. 
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • We take turns moderating this meeting, anyone can moderate. In addition to the moderator, there is notekeeper, timekeeper and energykeeper. 
  • We do a “check in” at the beginning of each meeting and a “check out” at the end.
  • The meeting agenda is prepared in advance. Prior to the meeting, everyone fills in their points / questions / decisions / remarks in the Agenda document. This also serves as a protocol. All decisions are recorded in the meeting minutes. 
  • If possible, all members of the team should be present, exceptions apply to holidays or illness. 

Global Team Days

  • Goal of this meeting: Strategic setup, learning and team workshops, planning the next 2 months, reviewing the last 2 months, making strategic decisions
  • Duration: 2 days
  • The meeting takes place every 2 months, alternating between remote and on-site. 
  • We want to combine work and fun. 
  • The agenda of the meeting is prepared and if necessary a coach is called in. 
  • Everyone has to be present for the team meeting, so the dates are fixed in advance.

Feedback

For us, feedback does not mean criticism, but a reflection of subjective perceptions instead of objective truths. It is an exchange and not about convincing the other person of something.
There are no rules or restrictions regarding the content of a feedback. Therefore, everything that is on your heart or important may be addressed. The focus is not only on the critical points, but also on reflecting what you are proud of, what is going well, what is fun.
The crux of the feedback is the "how". We attach great importance to communicating with each other without violence (see chapter Conflict Resolution). We also apply this in the feedback sessions.

Each feedback round consists of

  • Personal preparation
  • Feedback Talk (with self- and external evaluation)
  • Personal follow-up
  • Follow-up in the team

The Organizational Development role is responsible for scheduling feedback meetings to ensure that they do not get lost.
Every 3 months a 360° feedback process is conducted for each team member.

Many thanks at this point to Andreea and Lisa, who supported us in implementing the feedback process!

Sprints

We want to move towards project-based work. For this purpose all new projects are organized in sprints. Only 50% of our own working time is planned in sprints to avoid additional stress and to have enough space for the operative and our own work. Should one of the team members be sick or absent, the meetings will still be held according to schedule, unless the meeting would not make sense without the missing person.

Sprints, proceed as follows: 

  1. Sprint start (1-2h): Agree on goals, task, same definition of the problem
  2. Sprint planning (1-2h): One person takes over the moderation. All tasks are collected in Trello in the backlog. The moderator keeps an eye on the fact that all tasks are covered and that we do not do too much / too little. Anything that takes at least 30 minutes but no more than 4 hours is recorded as a task on a Trello card. If possible, the tasks themselves are formulated with a verb and it is defined what has to be done to complete the task. The next step is to consider how much time the team has available, how much time the tasks need in total and how long the sprint should therefore take. Then the cards from the backlog are dragged into the To Do, taking into account what can be accomplished in the specified time. The cards are prioritized according to importance and urgency. Names can be written directly on the cards. 
  3. Sprint (2-3 weeks): The cards are processed from top to bottom and moved into "Doing" and "Done". There should never be more than 1 card per person in the "Doing" column. 
  4. Update (20 min): Once or twice a week there is an update on how the sprint is going, if someone needs help, where there is progress and where there are possible problems. 
  5. Review (1h): The team presents the results and discusses what went well and what didn't (product related). All Trello cards are reviewed again. 
  6. Retrospective (1h): What did the team learn for the sprint and collaboration? What is important to consider for the next upcoming sprint?

Rituals

We have created rituals whose observance should remind us how we want to work: sensibly, stress-free and full of joy! 

These can be found in the categories (cooperation) work, creativity and appreciation: 

Work

  • 1 hour a day for emails
  • Internal via Slack Log in and out, avoid internal emails (Slack only between 15 and 18 o'clock)
  • Set slack status during breaks / deep work 
  • Deadlines, e.g. newsletter content Tuesday noon 12 noon
  • Breaks Accountability 
  • Celebrate project beginnings / end
  • On / Off boarding as well as holiday handovers before and after the holiday

Creativity

  • Consciously block time for creativity
  • Share at meetings / if necessary input, creativity folder
  • Creativity time allotment: 10 hours per month, presentation in weekly meetings, each at least every 2 months, perspective linked with content strategy

Appreciation

  • Celebrate birthdays
  • Team rewards
  • Take time to recognize and celebrate our successes appropriately!!
  • Fundraising 

In principle, everyone in the team is jointly responsible for generating funds and keeping an eye on the budget. 

The Finance role supports everyone else in this task and provides a weekly and monthly overview of the current income situation. At the first weekly meeting of each month, the Finance Role shows the budget situation and suggests the next steps. The Fundraising Role develops ideas and leads on the topic and presents them to the team at the first weekly meeting of the month.

HR Processes & Rules

HR processes are determined by the personnel management role. 

Vacation: 

Each team member has 30 vacation days per year, calculated on a 5-day week. If someone plans a holiday, it must be entered in the team calendar. In addition, the others must be informed about holidays with a corresponding advance notice and, if necessary, holiday handovers must be agreed upon. Since the vacation is for recreation, NO work is done and NO emails are checked during the vacation. If team members work on weekends, e.g. at events, they can take additional vacation days.

Illness

If someone is ill, she informs her colleagues. If urgent tasks are outstanding, these are passed on to the other team members. In contrast to holidays, in case of illness it is the team members' task to coordinate the tasks of the sick colleague.

General working hours

Each team member works independently and self-organized

All team members are free to organize their working time according to their needs. Only the participation in meetings should always be guaranteed. Absences should always be communicated to the team, or at least be communicated to everyone in the calendar (slack status updates are excellent for this).

Team Rewards 

Individual team members as well as entire project groups can be nominated for Team Rewards by their colleagues or by themselves. For this purpose, a corresponding proposal must be made at the weekly meeting.

Conflict Management

We pursue the following conflict resolution process, which takes place in these four steps:

  1. In case of conflict, the parties concerned sit down together and try to resolve the situation privately. Here we use the rules of conflict free communication i.e. describe your own observation; describe the feeling that triggers the situation; describe the underlying need; formulate a concrete request
  2. If no solution can be reached between the parties concerned, they will look for a colleague they both trust to act as mediator. The colleague supports both in finding a solution.
  3. If this mediation does not lead to success, the rest of the colleagues are called in and the situation is described to them again. This group cannot force a solution, but should give the situation the appropriate seriousness.
  4. If a solution cannot be found or if it has led to a result that endangers the company itself, the company directors will make the decision.