The basis for most leadership development processes is resilience. Meaning that in order to be able to take care of others, you first need to learn to take care of you.

Jenny E Jung

About Jenny

Jenny Jung has been working with fast-growing businesses in the digital world for the last decade. Previous roles include VP People & Operations at EyeEm, Portfolio Manager at VC firm Lakestar and COO of Factory Berlin. She consults on organisational development and HR and regularly facilitates offsites and workshops for leadership teams. A certified systemic coach and process supporter, Jenny enjoys working with founders, co-founder groups and executives. She is part of the consultant team at artop GmbH – Affiliate Institute of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

About Anna

Anna Löw has been working with tech startups for the past 8 years and she’s seen the whole bandwidth from startup to corporate. In her work she has built up broad HR experience in different companies, cultures and industries. Currently she works as Head of People Operations for Giant Swarm and is leading the People & Organisational Development function. Anna is a trained and certified systemic coach and mediator. Her consulting work focuses on international recruiting, remote work, agile leadership and personnel development.

How investing in leadership training creates a more successful organization

What does it mean to lead during disruptive and transformative times? What kind of soft skills do today’s leaders need and where can leaders (particularly HR managers) turn to for support?

On today’s episode of The State Of Work, Maddie is joined by MindTheLeader co-founders Jenny Jung and Anna Löw. Jenny and Anna started MindTheLeader to help companies to become successful and resilient organizations and to provide leaders with a range of services including organizational development, training, and systemic coaching. 

Join the conversation as they discuss the role of the organization as a complex living organism, the role of the coach in leadership training, and just what people leaders need in their toolboxes in order to best support their organization and teams. 




View the entire transcript


How investing in leadership training creates a more successful organization

with Jenny Jung & Anna Löw, co-founders at Meet The Leader

Maddie Duke  00:01

You’re listening to The State Of Work, the podcast by Lano. The State Of Work is about finding your place in the changing world of work as an individual or an organization. In each episode, we dive into some of the benefits and limitations we face when it comes to remote and flexible work. We talk about how we work, how we hire and manage people, and how we live in this increasingly global workplace. I’m your host, Maddie Duke. And today I’m speaking with Jenny Jung and Anna Löw, people and operations experts and co-founders of MindTheLeader. MindTheLeader is a collective of coaches and consultants dedicated to holding space for leaders to grow through organizational development, training and systemic coaching. Investing in leaders is one of the most impactful tools that fast growing companies can use to help build and scale successful resilient teams, yet it’s often overlooked. I spoke to Jenny and Anna about this and their work supporting founders and leaders in growing their leadership capacity. Hi, Jenny. Hi, Anna. Welcome to the podcast. 

Jenny Jung  01:10

Hi. Hello.

Maddie Duke  01:12

Thanks so much for joining me today. Could you just tell me where you’re joining me from?

Jenny Jung  01:18

I’m joining from my Berlin based living room 

Anna Löw  01:22

And I’m joining from a co-working space in Cologne, because sometimes even in the pandemic, I have to stare at other walls.

Maddie Duke  01:33

Yes, it’s so good to get into a different space sometimes. So the two of you founded MindTheLeader in 2018. Can you tell me in your own words, what MindTheLeader is? And what led you to joining together on this project? 

Jenny Jung  01:50

Yeah, sure. So I think the genesis of MindTheLeader was a little bit tied to me leaving my full time position at the time, which was VP People & Organization role in a fast growing tech startup here in Berlin. And I had decided to take some time to go on a little learning journey to qualify further as a systemic coach. And then I had had my own experience with peer coaching previously, and I felt that this format made a lot of sense. So group coaching in a group setting with people who share the same role in different organizations made a lot of sense for people in the people operations and HR space, because they typically have no true peers inside their organizations, but they have a lot of need to exchange and to have a place to turn to. So I think the phrase we had in mind originally was when everybody turns to HR, where does HR turn to. And that was a notion that I, I shared with Anna, who I had met a few years earlier, through a role that I held in an investment vehicle where Anna was leading the people function in Giant Swarm already in that investment vehicle was invested in her company. And so that’s how we met. And I knew that we shared this notion, and then we thought, hey, this is really something that we want to do together as sort of a prestigious hobby, to focus on peer coaching formats, for example, for HR professionals. And that’s also the first thing that we did together. That was a long answer for sure. 

Maddie Duke  03:52

All good. Anna, do you have anything you’d like to add to that? 

Anna Löw  03:57

It was interesting for us, like who takes care of HR. And then obviously, you can also think of that coaching is actually a format, which does have the ability to scale but it’s kind of complicated. And we love thinking around how to create a format, how to create a program and a structure that does not only need to apply to the HR space, but you could also do it like in-house for a certain hierarchy level in a company. Also, for other factions when you have a mixed group. And having people in the same boat was something you could think about how does coaching scale and this was also an interesting experiment, how to facilitate that and how to create structures that work out. And we had an additional layer because I’m like now for seven years in a fully remote company, and we also thought about how can we bring people together who are not in the same place? How can we make coaching a bit more remote? Like we all know now after one and a half years of Corona that this is possible, but sounds strange, but three years ago, it was something different. 

Maddie Duke  05:15

Yeah. Jenny, you mentioned systemic coaching, I’d like to early on in the discussion just kind of clarify like, what is systemic coaching? And how does it differ from other types of coaching? 

Jenny Jung  05:29

Well, systemic coaching is rooted in systems theory. I think it stems from the 70s, based on the writings of Niklas Luhman. The way that systemic coaching is interpreted today or also in the institute that I’m part of is that it borrows a lot from that theory, but also includes a particular type of worldview or of a very humanistic approach to coaching. So first of all, it’s really based in constructivism. So we assume that each client that we see has their own construction of reality, and that it’s not something that we necessarily need to share, in order to be able to work successfully together. And we also believe that it’s a very resource oriented approach, which believes that you have a huge repertoire of possible behaviors that you draw from depending on the circumstances that you’re in. So you know, Anna might behave differently when she and I are having a glass of wine, other than when she’s talking to the Kita teacher of her daughter, versus sitting in a board meeting, right? But it’s… she’s one person, but she has a range of different resources that she draws from based on contexts. So maybe those are important notions. And then, the most important one, I guess, is to think of the world in a circular way, and in a way of, it’s interesting for us to discover patterns, patterns and thought patterns in behavior. Systemic coaching assumes that it’s never just one person who impacts the way that a situation plays out, right? But that organizations are complex living systems, and you are always just a part of the system. So in order to successfully work on whatever is your topic, we also need to take into consideration the systems that you’re a part of, and the rules and patterns that these systems move in the logic that they have. So it’s not possible to look at a topic or problem isolated from the context and from the person. 

Anna Löw  08:05

Yeah, maybe to underline what Jenny says. So one super important aspect, as she mentioned, is humans are not, humans behave. And the second thing is, and then the need for coaches comes into support is, usually if you’re in this complex system organization, you do not change your strategy unless the pain is big enough, because in general, you humans don’t have the tendency to change the strategy unless they don’t feel that something is not congruent anymore. So I always go the same way to the bakery, because it’s the shortest one. And unless I don’t feel that I need to change going to the bakery in a different way, I would never ever do it. That’s very normal. But if I start feeling the pain, then I can think about, okay, what should I do? And if I, for myself, need support, which patterns to observe which questions to ask myself, and if I realized I cannot do that for my own. Like the bakery example, there’s a big construction site or just use another street and then systemic coaches can help.

Maddie Duke  09:19

Right…. That’s a great example.

Jenny Jung  09:22

I would also like to add one thing to that is that in my experience it’s either the pain is too big or the promises are good enough. So it has to be either or right either the pain of taking this route becomes too painful because construction side or it smells bad or something, or the promise of going the extra mile, burning more calories so I can deserve that donut that I’m going to buy is powerful enough to motivate me to change my my way to the bakery, so to say, but it’s usually the pain that is more powerful than the promise…. 

Maddie Duke  09:57

I can imagine. 

Jenny Jung  09:59

…Many people call based on a promise. 

Maddie Duke  10:02

Well, if it makes me want to know, like, what, at what point do people end up tending to seek coaching? Do clients of yours usually come to you because they feel this pain? Or is it rather through… there’s a need for mediation? Yeah, at what stage do leaders seek help and when should they maybe? 

Anna Löw  10:22

Maybe to get that broken down into a bit because obviously, it depends on who or what is the client. And what happens from the past to now. I’d say that in the past, it was way more when individual pain is big enough people seek out for solutions. Today, there is a shift, especially in the business context, that organizations try to implement coatings in very different ways, whether the organization itself has something they’d like the coachee to work on, but also they offer the space that some of their exec teams employees can just sort out certain questions for the coach. And there are also organizations now that try to do coaching in advance because they know, I mean, there are certain things every organization has to face, we are all humans, and even if you build paradise, it still we are humans. And they try to solve certain things in advance, mediation upfront is quite unlikely. So mediation involves always two or more parties. In most of the cases, there are exceptions. And then usually there is a conflict, at least from my experience.

Jenny Jung  11:51

Yeah.. I also, I feel like it depends a lot on how clients end up, sitting, sitting in that room with me. If they have chosen to come, it’s most often a pain that has led them to work with me. But many, many times it’s organizations sending them and then it can still be either, hey, we give you this because we understand that your role is hard and challenging. And here’s this opportunity for you to work on whichever thing you may need to work on – that’s luxurious – it’s also makes for clients that aren’t fully aware of what could the format actually do for me. So sometimes, these processes take longer to take up speed/to pick up speed. There might also be cases where somebody has been prescribed coaching, so somebody has consistently been getting bad feedback. And now they, you know, send them to you to sort of solve that problem. And that also makes for a very different type of atmosphere. And it changes a lot in the initial relationship between the client and the coach. And it might not make for a successful process unless you are able to really form trust and to really sort of win over the client for the format. And that takes a different approach. 

Anna Löw  13:25

Yeah, and what I also experienced is that very often people come with a certain topic, and then you start working around this topic and you start discuss the underlying principles, and then you realize, maybe, or the client, at least, he or she decides that you are heading in another direction. This happens quite often, and especially in these triangle, constellations, organization client coach Jenny mentioned before. 

Jenny Jung  13:58

Yeah, so for me, when I take on these cases, I make sure that between me and the organization, I have the complete freedom to work with my client in whichever way he or she and I feel like this is most useful for them. Because it might show up with something work related in session to you realize you need to talk about something entirely private. But once that is addressed it will make a huge difference and have a huge impact on how they feel that work. So why wouldn’t we be able to work on that, you know. 

Maddie Duke  14:34

Yep. Are you seeing any overarching trends in terms of what sort of questions founders and co founders come to you with? Like what are some typical topics? 

Jenny Jung  14:43

Many times the questions are around the their own role, role clarity. So am I the right person to be leading this company right now? And oftentimes, it comes from this blurry feeling that something’s not working quite, something’s not congruent, or that they don’t feel like they’re performing as well as they could be. Or they have. They come with this idea of what a CEO should look like that they have adapted from a book that they’ve read, or for a conflict from a company that is maybe 10 years riper than theirs. And then they get really frustrated, because it’s not what their reality looks like. And then they feel like, Oh, I’m not right, or I’m not even like I’m not capable enough. And then, like, sometimes it’s finding a space to reflect what is actually needed from me right now, what do my co founders need from me? What does the organization need from me? What do my investors need? What are the clients need? and so on? And then how can I best serve all these needs, while at the same time staying authentic and true to my own values, right, because, and often it’s just helping somebody make decisions. And looking at it together, and just holding space for for reflection. 

Anna Löw  16:14

Yeah, I would say there is two tendencies. Tendency, number one is that leaders are way more open to discuss questions they have with other people. So we have this hierarchical pyramid in our head, that is the sea on top and on top, and on top it’s very lonely. And I’d say that many years ago, it was like, Okay, I’m lonely, I have to deal with all the things on my own. And this is definitely a trend that these people realize, however, their organizational form will end up if it’s servant leadership, or whatsoever, but it’s important to have a sparring partner. This is one thing I would definitely say. And the second trend is that this seeking help, does not mean that they necessarily need someone who gives them advice, that they way more need a sounding board, understanding they have the issue the question, or let’s call it the problem. And they want they accept that it is theirs, and that they just need a framework or process of the sounding board to get it done.

Jenny Jung  17:29

Yeah, maybe that’s something to add to this initial question that you had around systemic coaching is the super important difference between that and other types of coaching is that we do not need to have any expertise, necessarily, but our expertise is the process, right? It doesn’t mean that we can’t also have expertise and that we swap heads every once in a while because we know something. And we could actually give advice. But that’s rarely the modus operandi. But more often, it is helping somebody else figure out their truth in their solution. So they own the problem, they qualify something as a problem, it doesn’t matter if I think it’s problematic, as long as my client thinks it’s problematic. That’s what it is. And the same goes for solution. And that is also can be frustrating on the coaching side, because, like, also coaches have opinions, you know, we tried to leave them at home as much as we can. But of course, sometimes you have a strong feeling or a strong sense of something that you would qualify them personally as a good solution. And that’s not something that you are invited to introduce into the coaching process unless it’s explicitly asked for. So sometimes clients decide that their problem is solved. And you leave as a coach and you think, Oh, god, I’m not sure this is so but that really doesn’t matter. And that’s the beauty of coaching is as long as the client walks away and feels like they have moved on and they have taken an important step, then that’s a criteria for success. 

Anna Löw  19:08

And I think this thing was a big part of the peer coaching format success of MindTheLeader because this program obviously was done with us both. And when we did the HR leaders round, and I’m working in an HR leader function and systemic coach, but sometimes I couldn’t be.. I couldn’t be quiet. I just had to raise my hand and say no no, no, no, no, this is totally different. I will now explain to you what your problem is and I am happy to share my solution. I will send you over the documents after our call. And it was also okay because I am careful with humans that that was not the problem. But this was a very good dynamic between Jenny and me because she could easily said that and she just had it in their head and I sometimes just had to wave the red flag no, no, I will send over the ESOP regulations. You need to deal with these legal requirements. I like your fantasy, but it’s a no. 

Maddie Duke  20:11

Yeah, it’s interesting that you can bring different skills to the coaching process based on your own independent experiences and expertise. And you mentioned that some people are sent to a coaching program by their employer or by the company. Do you think that’s something that ideally, all leaders and founders should have that kind of resource?

Jenny Jung  20:36

Yeah. And I mean, in an ideal world, everybody gets the type of support that’s helpful for them. So coaching is not the answer for everybody, right? There are people who need a mentor, who needs somebody who’s done exactly what they’re doing, and is just 15 years ahead. 

Maddie Duke  20:54


Jenny Jung  20:55

And other people need an expert consultant that has a doctor patient approach, I understand your problem. Here’s the prescription. And so coaching can be a super powerful resource, but it’s not necessarily suited for every question or for every person. So I would say, it’s great if organizations see that they need to offer support. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it always has to be coaching. 

Anna Löw  21:22

Yeah, I’d allow myself to say that coaching definitely should be part of a toolbox modern organizations have, and then figure out is it helpful for the team, the individual, the leader? Because that’s something a question you need to declare, but have that in your toolbox to support employee leadership team, it’s super important.  

Jenny Jung  21:47

Yeah, I would say so. At the end of the day, it’s a relationship building game, right? It’s not, it’s something that happens between two people or between a coach and a group. And the conversational atmosphere that has been created and whether or not you can actually successfully work depends on do we share an idea of what is possible and allowed in this space? So if somebody walks in thinking, I’m going to sit through this, because it’s an exercise that I need to do, it becomes very hard for me to work with them.

Anna Löw  22:20

Mm hmm. Yeah, I can imagine. And it’s super interesting, because all the things you said, regarding the relationship building 100% alike apply to the startup environment, where I’m usually working in where there is nothing defined. That’s quite interesting.  

Jenny Jung  22:43

That’s true. But then I find there is more openness and more curiosity because this, this, this MO of experimenting with things quickly throwing away stuff is so ingrained in the way that they that they’re wired is that you can just say, you know what, today we’re going to try this. And if this doesn’t work next week, we’re going to do coaching completely differently. 

Maddie Duke  23:08

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On your website, you mentioned authenticity and resilience and curiosity being really key elements of, kind of, the future of leadership. Well, maybe you could expand on those, what they look like, and maybe how we can think about them when it comes to leadership today.  

Jenny Jung  24:04

Yeah. I think the, the one on two.., I can’t say that one is more important to me than the other. But I find that the basis for most leadership development processes is resilience. Meaning that in order for me to be able to take care of others, which is what leadership might look like, depending on your organization and idea of leadership, is that you first need to learn to take care of you. And if you don’t take care of yourself and you are constantly burnt out or you’re not managing your energy well, or you are constantly in a situation where you feel incongruent, meaning that I am always asked to act against my values, for example, or I am, I.. consistently feel like something is off in the way that we’re doing things. If you don’t make space and time to look at these things, and we really, truly understand them, and then coming to decisions based on this, I think it’s impossible to be a good leader. Because a good leader also means that somebody to take care of you also means that somebody who will give me an idea of what the desired behavior in the specific organization might look like. 

Anna Löw  25:28

I’d like to add two points and I tried to make them concrete. For me, definitely a modern aspect, when it comes to leadership thoughts, is that you need to develop the ability to say, I don’t know, and deal with it. And this sounds very easy, but it’s not if you feel responsible for the organization, the employees, if you care about if you have your own idea of the future, this is an important aspect, I’d consider modern leaders, this is a super important skill to develop. And the second skill, what I realized very often, which is helpful, and I think it was not so important is the past, is the ability to switch the perspective. What does my behavior, how could that be for employees, or all other stakeholders, this is something I realized. And I had great bosses in the past, who were more the old leadership style, and they definitely would not have considered changing the perspective as the most important part of their leadership role. That does not mean that they are bad, but I think these will be way more important in the future. 

Maddie Duke  26:51

Yeah, definitely. 

Jenny Jung  26:53

And then also, I think, depends on the context that we’re moving in. So it will take different qualities from somebody who leads in a startup environment than somebody who need who leads in a different type of organization, or form and in the startup environment, I don’t know is a very important sentence. And being able to handle ambiguity is even more important, because if you are somebody who really who relies on having a stable plan, or any type of stability really to function, well, then it’s just not the right environment for you to be leading other people in. 

Maddie Duke  27:31


Jenny Jung  27:32

And so you need to have this tolerance for ambiguity and also high frustratablity.. so to say. 

Maddie Duke  27:40

Yeah. Yep, really. 

Jenny Jung  27:42

..which then always ties back to being resilient.

Maddie Duke  27:45

Yeah, resilient to all of these, kind of, to this environment, whichever environment you’re in, yeah. Or the triggers that are in that environment for you personally, if you don’t handle, if you generally don’t handle frustration or ambiguity, well, you need to build that resilience to handle that.  

Jenny Jung  28:04

Yeah. And then, I mean, another trend that I am very, very grateful for, that we have today in leadership, and then tied to that also in coaching is that all of a sudden, there seems to be a permission to need help. And, and also, way more awareness around the behavior that I bring into my organization, will shape this organization. So if I don’t clean up my shit, if I’m not aware of my triggers, if I’m not aware of my most favorite projections that I’m making on people, or how I am addressing every male that has gray hair, like I used to address this old teacher of mine, blah, blah, blah, you know, if you don’t know self well, and if you don’t know all these, you know, these notions and triggers that you’re bringing into the organization, you will one day, be very surprised by the funny and quirky and dangerous and weird blossoms that you will find three hierarchy levels below you. If you’re on top of this organization, and you consistently bring you know, on, on, if you’re consistently unaware of all the assumptions that you were making about the world, and that you are introducing into your organization, for example: working long hours means working well. Or, I don’t know. I mean, there are so many I don’t want to, you know… everything that I believe around the world, I will introduce into my organization so I better know my shit, so that I can, you know, intentionally design my organization or at least understand why things are the way that they are and then own it. Then you don’t have to worry about oh my god, why is it happening like this? But then you know, because I do this every meeting. Oh, yay. 

Anna Löw  30:10

Yeah. And especially instead of embarrassment, when it comes to founding teams, this is super important for the route of success, because knowing your shit is very good. But knowing the shit of your co-founders, and they know your worth, it’s a next step. And this step is definitely a trend I see from forming teams asking them to support them. Let’s get to know each other. And, yeah, that’s definitely something I haven’t seen 10 years ago.

Jenny Jung  30:42

So that’s true. And it’s now most of the one one of the one of the most common inquiries that I’m getting is founder teams, who say we want to be coached together. 

Maddie Duke  30:53

Yeah, okay. That’s interesting. Um, earlier in the discussion, you both kind of mentioned, where does HR turn, if everyone turns to HR, often startups don’t even. Sometimes they don’t have HR teams yet. So it’s the latest kind of doing all of this? And where do the latest turn when everyone’s turning to the leaders? What do we do and things are growing and expanding so rapidly? And it doesn’t feel like there’s time to step back? And get to know your founding team? Or review where your pain points are? And what needs work? And what needs solutions? Yeah, what would your advice be, I guess, in that sort of, like really rapid growth situation, when in some ways, it would make sense for people to kind of stop and slow down and seek the help that they need. But they don’t see that as necessarily valuable enough to slow down enough to do it. And even if coaching is just one part of the toolkit, like what other resources are there,

Anna Löw  31:51

I mean, the good thing is when you start founding a company, and you have all the fantasies about that you may have rapid growth, think about the things in advance that you have the supporting nets that will tell you that you forgot about to breeze. You don’t need to know anything in advance. That’s not doable when you build a company, I guess. But investing in HR, for example, is something that is also definitely a trend, you see that there is this new rule of thumb that every seven employees, you need to hire someone taking care of employees, whether this is recruiting admin, or whatever, but every seven people this is quite a lot. You also see it in salaries for HR, people in the startup environment, there’s a tremendous race over the last 10 years. And then hopefully, you have experts who take care of the different aspects of growth, whether it’s that from now on you have to deal with having a global workforce, that means different administrative aspects, that means different cultural aspects. That means how to operate in the remote environment.  

Jenny Jung  33:13

Yeah, I would like to say something about that. Because you know, when organizations grow really fast, especially when, in this initial, this first initial growth moment, where it’s sort of the boundary that I have in my head is that it used to be a level of complexity that one head or maybe two or three heads were able to, you know, hold or to contain. And now, every, every employee, you add on top and on top of a certain amount of people, let’s say maybe it’s around 30 or so, the complexity of the organization will start growing exponentially. So at some point, I don’t think, look, working with individuals on their individual leadership capacity is the answer to, to this complexity build up, it’s still valuable. And regardless of the stage of the organization, it’s always a good idea to have coaching resources for your leadership team. But at some point, you need to acknowledge that the organizational system in itself is so complex, and it has its own dynamic that is no longer in control of single people, but it’s a living organism. And it changes every day. And with each little intervention that any given person in the system can do every day, something will change. So how do you consult that? It’s definitely not one to one coaching. But then we’re in, in the realm of organizational development, right, which might also be somebody who’s systemically trained, but is no longer only a coach, but also an expert on organizational development, right and can help you step back. And at least get a, at least get a glimpse of analysis, a thorough analysis of what’s going on will not be possible anymore. because too many moving pieces are at play. But then it’s helpful to have somebody who can look at the organization from the outside, together with you and run a series of, of analysis and sort of say, either together with you together with the team, from the customers perspective, and so on so and take stock of what’s going on. And then from there, figure out, what might my leavers be? And you all always, I mean, and it’s never going to be a sure shot? Because then we start working with, what do we see? How do we explain this? What are the hypothesis that we build based on the observations that we’ve been making, right? So my observation might be that many people are leaving the organization. And here’s the explanation that the organization is offering. So far, our leadership is bad. Yeah. So now they come to you. And they say, please, Jenny coach my leadership team, because so many people are leaving the organization’s because my leadership team is bad. But there are a multitude of other possible reasons why your employees might be leaving, and they are organizational, right? They are interactional, they are, they are circular.

Maddie Duke  36:55

Leadership is just one. 

Jenny Jung  36:56

This is one thing, one important thing because it has a steering function leadership. But it doesn’t mean that they control everything. So sometimes you need to take into account not only the leadership team, but employees and customers, or you need to just sort of create a picture of the organization together that you can then look at. So you know, giving somebody the external perspective. And see this is what say, this is what I can see. What do you make of that, when I tell it to you this way, because of course, I’m seeing completely different things that you will see from the outside. And then from there, it’s really, it needs to be very, very close collaboration between an inside person or a group of inside stakeholders who want to work on the organization, and somebody or a group of external people who will help you from the outside, and it will probably not be answered by with, oh, we’ll do this one format, we’ll do one leadership offsite, and then it’s solved. But it might be, oh, we’re doing this leadership offsite. And then we’ll decide what are the other three things that we need to do. And then we do these three things, and then we take stock again, and so on. So it’s tedious. It’s a lot of work. And that’s also why not many companies who are growing rapidly are investing in these processes. Because by the time that we’ve addressed the initial problem, the organization has already, you know, become a completely different organization with new problems and new needs. So in this rapid growth phase, it just doesn’t make sense to think about, I want to intentionally develop this into something completely different because we don’t know what we don’t know yet. But there are moments, maybe right after you’ve scaled up or right before you’ve done so, where it’s useful to take stock and realign again, and ask yourself, are we all looking at the same goal? Do we all have the same horizon? Or is my horizon three months and yours is five years? So yeah, I think yes, that’s, again, a very long answer to a… 

Anna Löw  39:04

…yeah, but I think that is super, super important. And I try to paraphrase it as a ‘too long didn’t read’. So number one, offering one on one, systemic coaching to your leadership team is not the solution to everything, especially when it comes to organizational development in growth, rapid growth pace, this is another discipline. But even though their systemic elements can definitely help that you don’t run into the danger that someone bring up the idea of, yeah, let’s do the Spotify model, period. That’s definitely something, yeah, I experienced very often. So it’s the willingness to accept that organizational development is a horrible task to do because it takes time. It’s nothing predefined, you sometimes have to talk about emotions. But it was all the effort and to reserve time for it from the very beginning. With everyone involved. Definitely, definitely not only the HR department, that’s not gonna work out. Might be a good advice. 

Maddie Duke  40:21

Thank you. And I wanted to ask you actually Jenny, as well, like do you think that there are that there’s a leadership problem in startups? Like, um, you know, often someone has a brilliant idea, and they’re not necessarily suited to be a leader? Do you think that that’s true? Or do you think anyone can kind of lead? 

Jenny Jung  40:41

I think that’s absolutely true. And I think if you look at founders, many people start a company, not to become a leader, that they start a company to realize an idea that they have or to be in a function that is more visionary, let’s say, yeah, but a great visionary, or a very good charismatic winner of resources, which is what you need to have, in early days of a company as a CEO, is not necessarily the same profile as your stable, ideal leadership figure. And sometimes these two qualities can meet or I mean, there are many other possible qualities as well. But more often than not, they don’t and that’s, I would say, that’s okay. In the first phase of a business, the charismatic factor and the, you know, getting excited around a shared vision and working in a family logic where, you know, we don’t really need leadership yet because it works in a group dynamic logic. Yeah, we are, we are, this is not an organization yet. It’s a group. And groups operate by completely different principles. But once it turns into an organization, so when a critical amount of people, you know, there’s all these ideas around how many pizzas can still feed a group and so on. But once this critical point is reached, then it’s the the hour of the leadership, so to say, so by then you need to start figuring out who are your leaders? And if you don’t have any, you might want to bring some because only training the ones who are already there is also risky business. 

Maddie Duke  42:26


Anna Löw  42:27

Yeah and for founders, it’s also dangerous when they force themselves to become a working person, they do not want to be it way more their job to design an organization where they can be as they want to be, because then they keep the charismatic and spirit, which is needed in the beginning, way longer than when they forced themselves to fill out formulas to now deal with the stereotype. 

Maddie Duke  42:54

Yes, yeah, some great points there and plenty to plenty of things to consider when it comes to developing or finding the right leaders for your business yet. So thanks very much for joining me today. Thanks so much for your time. 

Jenny Jung  43:13

Thanks for having us 

Anna Löw  43:15

Thank you. 

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Maddie Duke  43:35

Thanks for listening and see you next time on The State Of Work.