‘New kid on the block’ is what Ikbenfrits calls itself. “I do not employ a thousand people. I have no rusty systems. ” it states on the website under the heading ‘About Frits’. And that is noticeable when you walk in at Ikbenfrits. Many young people work with entrepreneurship at the office. What is it like to work – in your twenties – at a company that is an outsider in mortgage business?

Being flexible as an organization

You will certainly see many rusty systems in the traditional financial world. The systems that organizations work with originated in the time of the industrial revolution. And that while top-down hierarchy does not serve the current goals. Organizations want to be flexible, respond to changes in the world, be an attractive employer and switch quickly to be of service to customers.

One of the ways in which that is possible with self-organization. And to be clear about who does what and what makes decisions, structured self-organization is the most supportive.

Workplace practices

Ikbenfrits opted for Holacracy® as a set of rules for the structure. Coach Koen Bunders started supporting them to create a starting structure so that they could practice working in roles and circles. On January 11, 2018, Michiel Lensink, Joost Schulze and Thomas de Leeuw signed the document, showing everybody that from that moment on Holacracy principles would be in place.

Michiel Lensink, with pen: Joost Schulze and: Thomas de Leeuw

A symbolic moment! Joost Schulze (with pen), Michiel Lensink and Thomas de Leeuw sign the Holacracy constitution

Charlie: play and learn

Charlie Vielvoye (roles: SEO, Content) did not get the feel for it right away. “I did see the value of certain elements such as speaking from your role and the guidelines for a valid proposal. On the other hand, I sometimes had the feeling that decision-making is unnecessarily slow and that Holacracy works decelerating. I realized at the time that this is especially the case in the initial phase because we all have to playfully learn how to use Holacracy. “

Half a year later, Charlie’s rules are much better and can see why the rules are as they are. “I have a recurring sense of ‘nice, this makes work a lot clearer!’.

Nice, this makes work a lot clearer!

The ever better practice of self-organization will further develop according to Charlie. “In three years’ time, I think that the Holacracy mindset for the elder people at Ikbenfrits will be like a second nature. This makes it easier to transfer to new employees. ”

Just walked in and already making own proposals

Koen Bunders is Holacracy coach of Energized.org. He supports Ikbenfrits and loves seeing how fast the company grows. “I barely recognized one of the circles I started with, so many new people! Many of the employees are starters in their first job. ”

“In the beginning, it was mainly the founders of the company who set the agenda, but more and more everyone now uses the tools to solve their own tensions, and more and more employees are starting to come up with their own proposals.

Holacracy will in their experience now mainly be a meeting technique and it is not all that special. On the one hand, this has to do with the fact that the journey to self-organization and distributed leadership is only starting; a lot is still possible. It is nice to see that they want to continue that journey with Ikbenfrits.nl. On the other hand, this way of working is also so obvious for many of the young people because they do not know (the pain of) conventional organizing. That is a big advantage, they have far fewer old habits to learn. ”

Marjolein: increasingly role-conscious

Marjolein van Heezik (Roles: Facilitator, Link Builder, Product Owner and SEA) noticed  that a lot of attention was paid to the roles and how they fit together in the organization in the beginning. But after about two months governance showed circles in the organization that matched reality. This ensures that meetings are increasingly about content-related work. “In the beginning your roles are not complete, but that comes naturally and luckily we had a Holacracy coach.”

marjolein van heezik about self-management and holacracy at ikbenfrits

Marjolein thinks that she and her colleagues are becoming more natural practitioners. “When someone asks me something that I am not accountable for, such as bringing mail, for example, I always ask them from which role they expect this from me.”

Nina: having your own business = energizing your role

Nina Meiling (Product Owner) has had a startup for 4 years. For her, this way of working is a perfect match. “You feel ‘owner’ of your own role, which is therefore comparable to being the owner of your own business. The only reason people would crave for a boss-employee model is if you do not want to take responsibility or initiative. And fortunately, these people do not work here. ”

nina meiling about self-management and holacracy at ikbenfrits

In addition to ownership and leadership, Nina can also really appreciate autonomy. “I really love that no heroic behavior is accepted. This means, for example, that you can not speak for others. You take care of yourself and you come to yourself and therefore you never have to feel responsible for things that you are not responsible for. Delicious!

What I also appreciate is that people who normally do not have the space to talk now get the space and take it. There’s space for vulnerability. Actually, I do not know things that do not appeal to Holacracy. ”

You feel ‘owner’ of your own role, which is therefore comparable to being the owner of your own business.

Coach Koen Bunders acknowledges that the journey has only just begun. “It is a development to mature in self-organization. The emphasis is still on the meeting techniques, so how does a governance meeting work and how does the tactical meeting work? That is shifting more and more to Holacracy style working outside of the meetings. Because even if there is a bit of rust in the system, you can work with that to make progress. ”

Charlie wrote about his own experiences on the Ikbenfrits blog: Working with Holacracy: Confessions of a Skeptic

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