The dotted line theory
Not like the others
The true key to our success is probably the fact that we are all kind-hearted and supportive people who share a passion for data and project controls.
Most management theories would suggest that you need a good mix of different types of people to be successful. It might be true for many business, but it is not the path we have chosen.
Proove team wheel
When we recruit new employees, we focus a lot on chemistry or the Groove, as we call it.
Bottom line, we hire people that we believe in as a professional and genuinely like as a person. Yes HR professionals, we are fully aware that this is a highly subjective criteria and that it has disadvantages too to choose similarity over complementary. But, it clearly works for us. We created an environment where trust and mutual respect between colleagues is high and conflicts are almost non-existent. We are One Team.
If we look at our Insights Discovery® Team wheel, we observe that we have a big concentration of coordinators and a complete absence of persons with red as first color.
Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.
When our organization grew, we decided to add some structure in our organization. We introduced the concept of a Management Team consisting of team managers. That was a bad decision. Proove became a story of THEM versus US.
We reversed this decision after only 8 months.
No more teams.
No more team managers.
No more imposed hierarchical lines.
Our new organigram puts the individual in the center. We wanted to have the One Team feeling back, even in a growing organization.
We learned that team cohesion is not obtained by adding structure or procedures, but rather by interpersonal relationships between individuals. Such relationships cannot be forced, but grow organically over time and are based on trust, mutual respect and even friendship. We call them dotted lines and it is assumed that any employee has more than one dotted line within Proove.
Dotted line density
Our strength as a team is defined by the density of the dotted lines between all employees. With 20 employees in our company, 190 interpersonal relationships exist. Some of them will be dotted lines, others not (or not yet). We want to maximize the percentage of existing dotted lines against the theoretical maximum. This percentage defines our cohesion as a team.
We organized an anonymous survey to analyze our dotted line density. People indicated to have on average a dotted line with 68% of their colleagues. We were happy with that result, especially because it was measured during the COVID-19 crisis.
We are One Team and that is one of our major strengths. We are aware that it will be challenging to have similar results when reach our ambition of further growth.
So when we grow, should we make sub-teams? Never say never, but we learned a lesson.