Business leaders often have their own unique definition of success. For Anne Krog Iversen, she defines success by helping professionals recognize their goals and aspirations of achieving a greater purpose in life and at work.
Anne is the Chief DNA & Culture Officer and co-founder of TimeXtender, a company that provides a technology platform that automates the way to build and operate a modern data estate for analytics and AI. This is important for any business because time matters.
Working in tandem with the company’s executive team, Anne has led an ongoing effort to advance the company into a modern work culture that supports the Xpeople (what they call themselves at TimeXtender) to prosper in their professional and personal endeavors. Also, under her leadership, the company’s progressive business systems have been designed to closely align and bolster its innovative technology culture.
Transformation with Organizational Purpose Circles
About a year ago, Anne led efforts to transform the company’s structure based on organizational purpose circles or OPCs.
OPCs have become a central theme for TimeXtender, enabling the Xpeople to be mostly self-managed, translating into an organization that is uniquely innovative, creative, transparent and sustainable. OPCs have propelled TimeXtender to improve processes by leveraging freedom, strengthening trust and achieving greater outcomes. This modern-day framework has helped the company reach new levels of agility, productivity, sustainability, and innovation, while dealing with the new normal; inspiring employees towards greater personal and organizational growth. Group synergy has come alive with extensive idea sharing, mentoring and learning — blending individual and organizational purpose. Team members cherish the opportunity to share responsibilities of technical leadership, management, planning, implementation and delivery assurance.
Pandemic Response: One Global Team – Work from Anywhere
With OPCs fully in place, Anne went to work to support the Xpeople during the emergence of Covid-19. While many companies experienced layoffs, furloughs or outright closures, TimeXtender’s proactive business structure allowed corporate management to seamlessly rollout and champion a new “One Global Team – Work from Anywhere” organizational business model.
This inventive workplace culture was instrumental once the pandemic hit. The company was able to continue to grow its business even with the effects that the pandemic had on economies and organizations. Even more, given the fact that TimeXtender was able to smoothly modify its own business challenges brought on by the pandemic, it was able to provide resources in assisting global customers to adapt use of TimeXtender technology to meet their individual needs vis a vis the environmental challenge.
TimeXtender’s belief of “living your best life” is at the heart and soul of its creation of One Global Team – Work from Anywhere. This flexible workplace meets individual needs and purpose in life. It helps create a future with better life balance, less stress, and higher productivity, while acknowledging that Xpeople have unique needs, desires, and purpose. There’s an additional benefit as well — by setting staff free from physical locations, the company can add outstanding new Xpeople that are not simply located in a geographic area near an office. This is an opportunity to enhance diversity, add new ideas and free people from having to relocate their entire family.
The company has a slogan that “Our headquarters is in the cloud and our boss is our Core Purpose.” The business lives online using technology such as Basecamp for communication, task management, and documentation; Microsoft Teams for online meetings and video conferencing; and BambooHR for housing corporate policies and procedures. Having everything available online in technology enables the Xpeople to work together seamlessly as a fully distributed team from any location.
To further back the Work from Anywhere program, TimeXtender provides compensation for a membership to a co-working space for those employees who are not within driving distance to a TimeXtender satellite office, and a budget for Internet access, desk, chair, lamp and bookshelf.
Work from Anywhere is built on flexibility and trust that all are skilled professionals who will get their work done and will work closely with colleagues and partners. The organization places great emphasis that individuals take breaks during the day to avoid overworking. This helps all to maintain “their best self” — a whole person who is able to deliver their best. To reinforce interpersonal connections, weekly online breakfast sessions are held for coffee and chat. Anne also leads weekly online recharge sessions that include mindfulness meditation, tension relief, body strengthening and stretching.
Linking OPCs with Work from Anywhere
The purpose and the meaningfulness of the organization is predicated on its Core Purpose Strategy. The core purpose communicates the roles of the Xpeople, why they’re important, and the problem the company solves for customers. This provides a guiding light for all thinking, behavior, prioritization, activities, reflections, learnings, actions and ultimately success.
Simply put, TimeXtender is powered as a purpose-circle organization, a global network of empowered teams operating within its people-centered culture that is driven by a strong purpose. The circles optimize cross-organizational teamwork, communication, faster decision-making, shared purpose and quicker execution.
Building a truly resilient and agile purpose circle organization that acts as One Global Team – Working from Anywhere, requires stable backbone structures that constantly support and expand organizational performance to execute faster with higher quality. This progressive environment allows the Xpeople to “stretch for amazing” by challenging the traditional hierarchical organization: removing the middle management layer that hinders effective communication and decision-making, while removing bottle necks.
The purpose circles operate under personal leadership and circle leadership. Personal leadership is about being proactive, communicating, collaborating and get activities done as an individual. Circle leadership is the capacity to operate and perform as a high-performance team that connects, communicates and collaborates to achieve greater results by working together.
To ensure that the empowered purpose circles are aligned in the same direction, strategy sessions called “Time-Out’s” are held quarterly. “Inspire-On’s” focusing on TimeXtender’s DNA and culture also occur quarterly, and individual purpose talks and circle purpose talks take place twice a year.
The company operates and manages its circle purpose strategy and Work from Anywhere using Objective Key Results (OKR’s).
Managing Operations with OKR’s
The review sessions mentioned include a discussion of OKR’s, which are renewed as they are marked done and new ones can then emerge derived from the circle purpose strategy. The circle purpose strategy roughly follows the fiscal year, whereas the OKR’s are initiatives and projects that typically last 7-60 days to accomplish. This iterative process ensures daily execution and success, alignment and commitment of the individual, daily tasks.
To explain in better detail, objectives (O) in OKRs are the “what” that identify the big goal that one wants to accomplish for the quarter. The key results (KR’s) are the “how” for accomplishing objectives. They are focused and limited into 1-5 measurable tasks that give the goal setter actionable tasks that will ensure their success for accomplishing the objective. At the end of the quarter, individuals should be able to identify with a clear “yes” or “no” if they accomplished the key result. These are not daily tasks but larger goals to help move the company forward. Along with OKRs, Xpeople have their daily activities or what is called “the hamster wheel.” These daily tasks are also tightly bundled with the circle purpose strategy.
The OKR’s are published in an OKR forum in Basecamp. This transparency aids the Xpeople to clearly see the big-picture, quarterly tasks that they are to trying to achieve. This helps them draft their own goals based on company goals and in collaboration with OPCs.
By sharing a commitment in writing with others and tracking progress company-wide, the company can hold each other accountable to assist the whole team to win. The Xpeople find it to be an incredibly rewarding experience to mark KRs as completed, which encourages each team member to make progress towards corporate objectives.
The OPCs, One Global Team – Work from Anywhere, and OKRs have been very well received at TimeXtender. Taylor Hagin, a solution specialist at TimeXtender summed it up nicely about the company’s modern workplace environment.
“’Work from Anywhere’ is an integral part of our company’s culture. TimeXtender has embraced the benefits of the ‘new normal’ that is working from home,” said Hagin. “The company’s founders, Heine and Anne, believe that providing the greatest amount of flexibility to their team is an invaluable tool and essential to promoting happiness and balance, as well as boosting productivity, as we continue to re-define what it means to work. Focusing on outcomes – rather than timesheets – is in the TimeXtender DNA. Why? Because Time Matters. Where we spend our time (physically) isn’t as important as the quality of the time spent, and how we spend that time matters even more.
“This is a win-win-win situation! Fitting, as this win-win-win mentality is another one of our mantras here at TimeXtender.”