An upside-down organisation in a pandemic
The pandemic has forced many organisations to revisit their set-up to stay competitive. Global Mediator is no exception, but we are now spending more time on culture and values than on process. The reason is simple; over the years, we have managed to build an organisation with strong ties between people, and we intend to maintain that.
In all honesty, we are a little strange. We have opted to use an image created by Jan Carlson, the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines in the 1980s, turning the organisational pyramid upside-down to emphasise the importance of customers and the people responsible for making the customers happy. Following Jan Carlson’s method means that we operate transparently without middlemen and that most of the organisation is customer-facing. It is consistently hard work to maintain this focus, and it is not usual for an engineering organisation – but it gives our customers a dedicated service focus and our developers a job where the customer challenges are visible.
Of course, at Global Mediator we have backed this up with decision hierarchies, systems, support mechanisms, and processes to ensure that we operate ‘one for all,’ i.e., all our developers are backed by the complete team when we encounter engineering challenges. It is this part of the set-up that continues to strengthen as we work from home.
The symbolism of the coin
We have adopted a simplified version of Yin and Yan, based on the belief that there has to be a balance in what we do to create enduring values. We talk about it as two sides of the same coin; we are customer and employee-centric at the same time – one cannot be successful without the other. We feel that this duality gives a better balance and energy.
At Global Mediator we seek developers who can appreciate that to have the freedom to influence the solution and to work the way they do; they must be even more responsible when it comes to delivering the results agreed with our customers. If they cannot do it by themselves, they need to summon the help of the rest of the organisation.
We do not focus on short term gains; instead, we use short term action to build long-term success. We merge the dynamism and energy from rapidly developing economies of ‘new’ Europe with some of the stability and predictability of ‘old’ Europe. We ignore status differences and privileges, instead push to establish credibility and trust through our actions.
“We do not focus on short term gains; instead, we use short term action to build long-term success. We merge the dynamism and energy from rapidly developing economies of ‘new’ Europe with some of the stability and predictability of ‘old’ Europe.
We ignore status differences and privileges, instead push to establish credibility and trust through our actions.”
– Nicolai Krarup, COO at Global Mediator
How to grow your community
An equally important duality (the two sides of the coin) is that we want to keep our customers happy without sacrificing family life more than needed. We believe that it is possible to create a great place to work and deliver outstanding results through proper planning and communication.
We are pleased that we have managed to grow through the pandemic, but we miss a particular element of our work-life; our colleagues, the unplanned conversation in the kitchen, the in-plenum training, and the after-work get-together. Covid-19 has not made that any easier. Rather, we have realised that, as with any meaningful relationship in your life, we need to make an extra effort to keep our community and back-up systems strong and healthy.
So how do we do that? Well, first we improved our offices to make sure that we had an excellent meeting hub for those who want that. We strengthened our mentor and buddy arrangements to help newcomers adapt to our idiosyncrasies. We now have a dedicated community manager who works with delivery, marketing, and HR to run training and events mostly online. We organise small events inside or outside the office that are voluntary, such as a game or quiz nights, when deemed safe for those interested. And we are continually developing new ideas. What does your organisation do? Any great ideas to share?