Start the week with Play & Laughter

The last 4 months of the year are always the most intense for businesses. It’s the mega period for sales and product development. Its linked to sales cycles and end of year holidays as well as Pavlovian reflexes engrained in us since we were kids on the Northern Continent.

September is Back to School month and even though it’s been years since we put name stickers on all our books, we still feel both an excitement and trepidation when September comes along.

With Q4+ growth expectations, comes pressure. It is the key period to watch out for the well-being of team members and to ensure expectations translate into dynamic energy rather than anxiety.

For me, the best way to alleviate tension is to start each week with sports and play. Each Monday at Irongroup, at our 15 minute all hands on deck company meeting, we start the week in laughter with a silly mental or physical game. Today we played a giant charade competition and within 10 minutes, the office was filled with laughter and positive competitive spirit.

I believe all companies should start Monday’s in Play and Laughter.

Collaborative Co-Creation A Must

Collaborative Co-Creation A Must

Our world is changing at a rapid pace. So are our habits and tastes. As individuals, our desire to share experiences is greater than ever. We see it in all the new sharing economy businesses. I personally love the sharing economy and the consumer benefits. I love sharing cars, sharing homes, sharing content. And my desire to control and own reduces every day.

Sharing is invigorating and helps us establish our sense of purpose. At Iron, sharing is at the centre of everything we do. We even trade-marked our motto: “We Share, we Grow”.

The next level of sharing is happening across different companies in the form of deep collaborative co-creation. Whether in design or product development, co-creation leads to breakthrough innovations and deeper quality. Each company has a unique skill, a unique DNA, a unique point of excellence, a unique point of view and unique data. Tapping into what makes a company uniquely great is magical. True co-creation enables us to leverage multiple unique competences rather than try to be moderately good at everything.

Too often, we want to co-create but as soon as a project begins or a deal starts emerging, we move back to competitive co-creation, fuelled by “not invented here” syndrome or cynicism.

True co-creation requires humility, a deep open-mindedness, and a profound ability to let go of our locus of control, thus a desire to take risk. Its requires acceptance of failure at all levels and an ability to be exposed on all levels. That’s why it is so difficult.

For European based start-ups to succeed spectacularly; they need to learn this new skill and train all their teams on cross company co-creation. This will be one of my missions across 2016 and 2017 within all my portfolio of companies as an investor, board member and CEO.