(c) Maria Noi
Ever since finishing school Georg has been looking for meaning and impact. This quest has first led him to learn how to become a communication teacher and conflict mediator. Then, in his early 20s, he co-founded the social business soulbottles, in which, next to the product (beautiful plastic-free drinking bottles) and the impact (less plastic waste and as of 2022 more than €1M donations to clean water projects) he was fascinated by the organizational culture. Specifically the question of where the culture ends up if purpose, wholeness and human connection are part of its DNA from the very beginning and what it needs to develop such a culture in a fast-growing startup. Following this question made soulbottles one of the pioneers of the New Work movement, implementing purpose ownership and Holacracy, and living compassionate communication.
When soulbottles started working well without him he handed over his company shares to the team and focussed on translating and passing on those experiences to other organizations. By developing methods like the Clear the Air Approach or soulOS, by supporting organizations in their journey directly or by creating online courses. Since the end of 2018 he does all that as a Core Partner at dwarfs and Giants.
What is the main focus of your work at dwarfs and Giants?
My role-mix at dG is pretty diverse. #generalist #thankgodforholacracy
In my role @Scalable_Products I drive the development of our online courses. At the moment we’re focused on finishing the Clear the Air Foundations Course. In my role @longterm_lama I drive the next iteration of our strategic clarity, adapting dG to a post-pandemic and in-the-middle-of-the-climate-crisis-world. In addition to that I’m an internal mediator and red buttons coach, I’m one of the trainers of our year-long Clear the Air Facilitator Training and in other roles I’m co-developing our brand identity and write long-form texts for this website.
What have been your most important learning experiences?
Seven years of the startup rollercoaster. From the first vague idea to finding a co-founder to getting to product-market fit. Building a team and developing my own leadership style inside a self-organized company. It tested all my limits and pushed all my red buttons and thus was the perfect high-speed learning environment, personally and professionally. And it showed me that with the right tools and a clear commitment it IS possible to work together on eye-level for a common purpose, emotionally connected and in a day-to-day work-environment that’s good for everyone – and be financially successful.
How did you get in touch with New Work?
When my soulbottles co-founder Paul and I started hiring the first employees it quickly got weird. We didn’t want it, but a hierarchical dynamic still developed. We were still seen as bosses, because that’s the normal social arrangement in a company, despite all our efforts to establish a different relationship on the personal level. We quickly realized: No matter how nice we are interpersonally, if we don’t work on the organization’s structure we won’t be able to counteract this hierarchical pattern. That was the start of our journey into all the different New Work approaches.
Do you have a favorite ritual or habit?
Currently it’s the one hour of meditation each morning. It doesn’t happen each and every morning of course, but still the cumulative effects are so helpful that they keep me going. So much more relaxation, clarity and flow during the day, no matter how turbulent the day can get.