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Finding strategic business alignment with 111 employees? Here is what that looks like at Spacemaker.

Team
September 3, 2020

At Spacemaker, our mission to build better cities motivates us to solve new problems every day. From our inception, our culture has been permeated by a high degree of autonomy and transparency. As founders, we are pretty proud of the high-trust environment that we have managed to build, deeply rooted in the Norwegian tradition of egalitarianism and transparency, and in the belief that everyone's default is to make the best decisions for the company. We believe that every Spacemaker does the things that need to be done because it is what we would expect from ourselves. 


Once we passed the 20-people-mark though, we realised that aligning on the wider corporate strategy was getting harder and harder. The flip side of a high degree of autonomy, transparency and trust is that we need robust and, more importantly, regular alignment. And doing so while in hypergrowth mode, with employees distributed across several countries and time zones, is certainly a challenge.


We needed to find a way to agree on joint objectives and strategies that we can work towards as a team, discussing corporate objectives, product strategy, our design concept, squad missions and everyone's own as well as wider squad performance indicators. That's why we introduced the bi-annual company-wide planning week. During this week, and in its preparation, we involve all employees in strategic conversations around what direction the company as a whole, and each business function - Product, Commercial, Business Development, Customer Success and Marketing - should take. 


Every team presents their world view, coming from insights that we gained into our business, product, customers and the market over the previous two quarters. Based on these, we work on the strategic direction, that we need to take in order to achieve our growth objectives of that year, and the goals - our "bets" - that will help us get there. The planning week should not only help every Spacemaker feel empowered and celebrate their achievements, but it should also allow for understanding and recognising their personal responsibilities and contributions to the team and the company at large.


Now, a joint planning week would not be complete without activities that unleash our creativity and strengthen our bonds across the company. Hackathons, architecture excursions and competitions, as well as workshops to improve our way of working are crucial elements of a week that is all about creating a strong sense of shared purpose and vision among our currently 111 employees. 


To give you a bit more flavour of what we are talking about, check out the video from our company-wide Planning Week in January 2020. To be honest, we watch it with a deep sense of nostalgia as this was the last time we all came together in person. This week, we conducted our first-ever fully remote planning session, and all we can say is that we are incredibly proud of what the Spacemaker team has achieved over the past half a year despite all the challenges that 2020 hauled upon us. Every single person has risen to the challenge and we very much look forward to taking our growth to the next level.


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