Image credit: Caffa Photography, Vilija Eimontienė
Hierarchical systems are dying out. Built on checks and control mechanisms, management systems provide temporary safety for the business, but hold back so many intuitive and creative people. When building our company TeleSoftas over the last 14 years, one of the largest mobile software development company in Central Europe, we didn’t follow the template and took a unique approach to building business that creates success without others needing to fail.
It’s not about efficiency. It’s not about traditional KPIs. It’s not even about money, when you get down to it. My quiet disruption of what a successful company’s management principles should look like is not a new idea, but instead returns to the origins of our species. I like to call it ‘finding your tribe’.
It all inevitably begins with an individual willing to be a part of a particular tribe, and that tribe’s acceptance. A successful tribe is accepting as no one is considered useless. Even the most frail member of a tribe can be useful: to keep an eye on children while the hunters are searching for food, to mend nets when they tear so that fish can be caught, mentoring and teaching the younger. Everyone has a role, and instead of just focusing on one quality that may seem valuable, the entirety of a person is known and cherished for what they can offer.
Which brings me to the second principle. The relationship between the tribe and the individual is built on an opportunity for a contribution between the individual and the other tribe members. The reality is that the contribution does not need to materialise instantly, while the tribe and the individual benefits instantly from being together. Having a hunter or a gatherer or a even a child in the tribe provides safety and security for all.
Lastly, a successful tribe is first and foremost built on trust, love, and care. In the modern business world emotions are completely ruled out, perceived even as “unprofessional”. Indeed, while running companies by numbers and checks, managers can forget that companies are made of people and people are emotional beings. Meanwhile, in the way communities can exist only with intellect, they cannot survive and prosper without emotional intellect.
When I founded TeleSoftas in 2004, I didn’t know that what we are building comes from such a primal part of our nature. By building deep connections instead of superficial ones, we care for each other, developing a tribe-like environment of trust and vulnerability combined with professionalism and initiative. We don’t tolerate micro managing, enabling the professional to take initiative. With trust, comes progress.
I am excited about the possibility of creating a culture based on performance and goal setting, which doesn’t just lead to more successful individuals, but to a more successful whole. By pivoting the focus to empowering each individual in their personal development - and even their health, which is interconnected to everything that we do - we demonstrate trust, love, and care of those who work with us.
TeleSoftas has been offering a different dialogue around what it means to be a company and what it means to be an employee for over fourteen years - and in that time we have continued to grow across continents, industries, knowledge bases, and specialisations. But it’s not just about us: by inspiring other communities to co-create, and investing in time and mentorship of other businesses, we can see a paradigm shift in the way that whole economic centers value the people that make them great. It’s not about competition: growth of one benefits the tribe.
This quiet disruption on a mass scale could soon touch the life of every person who works for a living, changing the calculations of success and enabling creativity rather than stifling change. That’s the sort of company that I want to work for. That’s the kind of community that I want to build.
Algirdas Stonys has a unique outlook in building successful business communities founded on the principles of tribes, which he will be exploring in his TEDx talk in Kaunas in November. His work is epitomised in TeleSoftas’ thriving work environment, a company which he founded in 2004, and now is based in Lithuania, Switzerland, Dubai and San Francisco.