Hacking the team integration process: A short cut towards performance

Posted on 30/04/2018

By Jens Marius Bjerre-Petersen

I recently joined a group of growth hackers, entrepreneurs, strategist and designers called Vertical Strategy. The timing was great as I made it just in time to join the Vertication in Lissabon, Portugal where we were to socialize and explore the vibrant local startup scene.

During my time in university we were once ordered to go and drink some beers with our new group. A strange type of assignment, but none the less one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. A group of people have to become a team before they can do great teamwork.

So what do you do when a high performing team, with a unique and defining culture, has to expand? How do you contain (and develop) that same culture thereby ensuring the quality and edge of your deliverables? I could think of no better scenario than mixing the entire team, of trained dogs and recent hires, in a professional and social gathering, sprinkling a little sunshine and cocktails on top.

When reflecting upon the outcome of such a trip I would like to mention a few highlights:

  • sharing a double bed with your new colleague, who you’ve recently met.
  • quizzing about the most memorable/embarrassing moments of our lives (which I won’t share).
  • breakdancing in the middle of the night with a senior partner.
  • discussing the vision and next steps of our company.

All experiences which benefits the purpose of my own onboarding process while also emphasizing one of the main pillars at Vertical Strategy – the soul of a startup. In a world filled with buzzwords and intangible messages it’s comforting to experience the weight behind the words. The soul of a start up can be many things, but to me the key cultural carrying elements are the shared entrepreneurial passion and the intimacy of being friends before colleagues. Two things that are prioritized focus areas at Vertical and are carried out by making a new group of colleagues wine and dine in one of the up and coming startup capitals of the world.

The team spirit is thriving at Vertical. Bringing in new people can be a challenge to culture and there’s a risk of being caught in the forming stage of a group development process. In Vertical the team expansion is an opportunity. The internal social activities, such as Vertication, daily office ping pong matches and the internal editorial Vanity Vertical, accelerates newcomers like myself directly to the performing stage and the team spirit is maintained ensuring the aforementioned quality and edge of our deliverables.

Being a Vertipal is great – you should try it!